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STATEMENT OF W. B. BOWEN, A RESIDENT OF NEW ORLEANS
Mr. Bowen. My name is W. B. Bowen. I am running for the mayor of the city of Kenner and I would like to ask, What is the contractor's take on a bid on $2,200,000 on the sewage plant if all the walls cave in before the plant opened. Who is responsible for it? Is the Federal Government responsible for it? The contractor just wants to give a quarter of a million dollars back, that's no good. Why doesn't the Federal Government step in and make him tear all those walls out and re-do them. If he doesn't want to do them over, he should give all that money back to the city and Federal Government, every nickel coming to them. There is so much of it going on it's pitiful.
That's why the younger generation and their children will be paying out their nose from now to Judgment Day. That's the same way with transportation. There is only two blocks from University, Airline Highway all the way out to University City and all of those new subdivisions are caving in right now. The contractor's are doing nothing
The easiest way and the quickest way, it is the poor people holding the bag and that's all over the city of Kenner. Why doesn't the Federal Government step in and kick it before I take office, if I win this election. I know I am going to be mayor of Kenner and all them racketeers is going to be out in the cold.
I thank you. [Applause.]
Senator EAGLETON. Give us your name and title, sir. STATEMENT OF WILLIAM E. ROONEY, PRESIDENT, AREA AGENCY
ON AGING, ACCOMPANIED BY MRS. FONTAINE FULGEM, ASSOCI. ATE DIRECTOR
Mr. Rooney. Senator, I am William E. Rooney. I am president of the Area Agency on Aging. I would like to introduce Mrs. Fontaine Fulgem who is the associate director of the Area Agency on Aging.
I would like to say completely aside that I am an employee of the Social Security Administration and Senator Johnston's office and Mrs. Bogg's office are in constant communication with problems and situations for social security. If anybody has a problem, before they go to the Senator Johnston or Mrs. Boggs, come on down to the Social Security office and ask for the supervising manager because we are there to help you and not to give you the runaround.
Senator, I was very happy in your opening statement to see this remark: "Most significantly, these amendments"-referring to the Older Americans Act amendments of 1973— "provided for the establishment of area agencies on aging to provide a comprehensive network of services for older persons at the local level."
I was also particularly happy to hear Mrs. Boggs and Mayorelect Morial refer to the area agencies on aging. I will mention that they are nationwide and we are on board in New Orleans now for the last 4 years. We feel that this is one of the most important parts of the network of services to the elderly, because we work very well with the Council on Aging.
We receive the input from them at the parish level. We then find out what is necessary in the pointed area and we are in communication with the funding sources such as the Bureau of Aging services in Baton Rouge at the State level and the regional office in Dallas for the Agency on Aging, and so forth.
I did not want this hearing to adjourn without a statement that we feel that this is a workable situation. We feel that the area agencies on aging do a significant input. We have advisory committees made up of the consumer and the people from all walks of life and we are in a position then to funnel upward to the people that do the funding or funnel downward the solutions and the funding that comes to us.
We feel that this is one of the better aspects of the act and we feel it should be strengthened, if necessary. I think that Mr. Gates from the lower level of the Council on Aging, which I had the pleasure of being president of, and I think the people from Baton Rouge will agree that they need somebody to be the focal point for the funnel in either direction, and we are that.
I thank you for letting me make my statement.
We now have a panel of individuals who are participants in the activities of this nutrition center. I know we have had Mr. Crawford and Mr. Taylor. We will have Mr. Taylor, Mr. Crawford, we have got Bernade Capers, Elizabeth Williamson, she is here. OK, Mrs. Williamson, you can stay there.
ROSARIO VERGARA. She is not here? Cyria Chapoit and Albert Cooper.
Mr. WHEELER. As a member of the New Orleans Council on Aging board and president of the Coalition of Senior Citizens, I was happy to hear the various statements made today in reference to senior citizens. You asked a question as to what is done in order to receive the input of the grassroots.
Fortunately, here in Louisiana for the last several years we have had an annual Governor's conference.
Locally, we have had conferences in order to give the grassroots and representatives from Washington and others to come together and work out plans for doing work, giving aid to the senior citizens. We are very fortunate in having such a fine person as Mr. Gates as our director. He has been doing a very beautiful job.
While I am here I would like to say that our retiring mayor, Moon Landrieu, was very far sighted in developing a task force several years ago to get this senior citizens movement on foot. We are really appreciative of the fine efforts which he has made.
I want to thank you all for coming to be with us today.
Senator EAGLETON. Now we have this panel of participants at the Sacred Heart Nutrition Center and I am going to call on them one at a time to tell us of their experiences, what they think is good about the program and what they think is bad and what can be done to make it better. We have heard from a couple of them already, but rerhaps they would have some additional thoughts that they would like to add.
So, I will go down the list as it appears on this typewritten sheet. Mr. Taylor, we heard from you a bit this morning, but are you a regular participant in this nutrition center here?
STATEMENTS OF MR. TAYLOR, MR. CRAWFORD, MS. CAPERS, MS.
PILLAUT, MS. DENNERY, MS. WILLIAMSON, MS. CHAPOIT, AND MR. DEIST, A PANEL OF PARTICIPANTS AT THE SACRED HEART NUTRITION CENTER, NEW ORLEANS
Mr. TAYLOR. Senator Eagleton, I attend the center three times a week; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and if they have certain other occasions that needs my presence, I usually attend that, also.
Now, at the center I have learned arts and crafts, how to get along with old people. [Laughter.]
Most people don't know it, but that's an art in itself, you might say, how to get along with old people. Most of them you will find are very congenial, others are rather grumpy, but if you have a very good disposition, you can get along with them. Not only that, make them smile and make them forget their troubles.
I can't think of any other things that I would like to say right now just off hand.
Senator EAGLETON. What could be done in connection with the center if there were more money, what other things could be done, what other programs and what other services could be usefully rendered in connection with this daily noon meal?
Mr. TAYLOR. With the daily noon meal?
Senator EAGLETON. For instance, would it be useful from time to time to call Mr. Rooney, who is the social security man, and maybe he could send somebody out once a month, maybe once every 6 weeks. It could be known that say on Friday, December 16, for instance, suppose if the word got out that on Friday, December 16, a man from the social security office was going to be here and if you had problems about your social security check, you weren't getting it on time, the wrong amount, medicare, if you weren't getting reimbursed or whatever, there would be a man here or a person here to help you with those problems. Would that be useful?
Mr. TAYLOR. That certainly would be most useful and I would certainly, most certainly, attend.
Senator EAGLETON. In my State and in the St. Louis area, which is my home city, we do have this kind of program. We work with social security and the nutrition people, and we arrange to have from time to time different representatives of these Federal agencies that are involved with matters pertaining to the elderly make calls in our various nutrition centers. So that, as the gentleman was sav. ing to Senator Johnston, this gentleman, he is from the next parish down the line, I think, and routinely the social security people come around. You tell them your problems or bring your papers with you, or they tell you what papers you will need and we found that very useful.
We are going to do it in Kansas City and we would hope to do it throughout the State, but frankly, it is easier to do in the major cities because the social security people and the Medicare people are
located there. It is a little hard to do in a small rural area because of accessibility of the personnel.
Senator JOHNSTON. Tom, if I may interrupt you, that sounds like a terrific idea to me. Let me ask, how many of you—did you all hear that suggestion? How many of you think that would be a good idea, would you raise your hands?
Senator EAGLETON. Well, Mr. Rooney, if you are here, it looks like you have got a new job.
Senator JOHNSTON. Kirk, we will check with them and we will try to have that done and have social security, I guess that would be the main thing, probably social security would be the main thing.
Senator EAGLETON. Occasionally if a person has a problem with the Veteran's Administration, maybe a benefit, widow's benefit or what have you, and it wouldn't be many problems in that area, but that's another example where you want to bring the Government to the people. I know you have got nice Federal buildings downtown, but they aren't the most accessible to everybody. This is a neighborhood situation and we want Government to have some outreach.
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, Senator, as a veteran, I have had very few problems with the Veteran's Administration so far as for medical care. I think I have received adequate medical care.
Senator EAGLETON. You talked earlier and then we will move onwell, Mr. Crawford talked about transportation. You are not against transportation, but you say things have got to be safe before you can use it?
Mr. TAYLOR. Before I can use it; that's right.
We will move back to you, Mr. Crawford. Do you have something that you would like to add to your remarks of earlier this morning?
Mr. CRAWFORD. Senator, the only thing I would like to add is that we get better transportation and the more senior citizens that we can get out, the higher paid, the better program it would be for all and that would make it stand.
Senator EAGLETON. Very good, Mr. Crawford.
Ms. Capers. I have been with the program since 1974. I go 5 days a week when it is possible and I have found it to be a very wonderful program in that I have met so many very fine people who know how to do so many very fine things. We have really learned a lot of new things over at the center. We have had our share of sorrows. We have lost many members through death, but we have had many many wonderful occasions. Recently, we went out of town to Franklinton to a fair. We have Christmas parties; we have gone on picnics. As one of our members said, we have learned more about the city since we were senior citizens than we did when we were just living here and working here, because I just happen to be a retiree after working 32 years. I have lived here all my life, but truly, we have visited many many places that we heard about, but just never had time to visit.
Also, about the services, I don't know—maybe our center is a little unusual, but we have had all of the services that this gentleman has been speaking about and, Senator, the service that you suggested we do have someone who comes from the food stamp office occasionally through the Council on Aging and someone who comes from the social security office and we also have access to legal services.
Right now, I have a lady who is working on a little legal problem for me and that was done through the center. The young people come to the center and if you have a problem, you can talk with them and they write it up and do what they can to help you.
As a matter of fact, my husband recently got glasses through a similar service where they come into the center and find out what help you need and give it to you. I mean, that is just a sample of the many many services that we have enjoyed.
Our big hangup is our home. Like Reverend George said, we are having problems finding funds to repair our homes. The housing, the city housing code, has stated that we have several violations and we just simply don't have the money to get these things and we don't like the idea of getting into a lot of debt that we know we could never pay. So that is really the big problem and I feel that there are many persons who are at our center who are faced with that same type problem.
As to transportation, we have tried in our area to iron that out and we do have transportation. It is not perfect, but we do have a good transportation system. As a matter of fact, we have transportation to and from the meal center. We also have a senior citizens bus that has been provided for us and it takes us on shopping trips to do our marketing. Most of the people in the area have that type of service already, so we are a little ahead there.
I can't think of anv other problems that we, as an area, might be experiencing, but I find the program one that should be spread in such a way that every senior citizen in the city could really make use of it.
Senator Eagleton. Well, you are a remarkably convincing witness, Mrs. Capers, I must say. [Applause.]
If I ever get trouble down here with the law, I am going to hire you as my lawyer. I think you could help me out. Let me ask this question: Do you encounter senior citizens—and I will ask this of any of these members—that just don't know about a lot of these programs?
Ms. Capers. Absolutely. That is one of the main things that has to happen; other people have to know what is going on. We try to bring in as many people as we can, you know, by word of month, but there must be other better ways to go into those homes and let those senior citizens know what is really there.
Mr. Gates. One thing that should be recognized-when you increase the demand, you have to be able to come up with the supply.
Senator EAGLETON. Sure. Let me ask the lady about this program back there. What is your name?
Ms. PILLAULT. My name is Pillault.
Senator EAGLETON. As I have been here today, and we have had the lunch, vour physical facilities are such you probably could not take additional participants because of the limitations of space: would that be a factor?
Ms. PILLAULT. I can handle the parties if I can get more meals.