Sequester hits elderly and unemployed

SAN DIEGO – Even before the next wave of federal spending cuts hit, San Diegans are already feeling the effects.

“All our funds in La Mesa are Gone, Vista has cut theirs in half,” said Debbie Case, President/CEO of Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego.

Pic 1The popular senior program serves some 2,500 seniors every day throughout San Diego.

“Which is a lot, it’s about 1,200 a day,” said Case.

Sequestration has the service hitting a bump in the road.  While the program isn’t federally funded, it does depend on community block grants.

“Those grants have been cut,” said Case.  “La Mesa is not funding any community based services whatsoever.”

From the elderly to the young, many San Diegans are feeling the federal spending cuts.

“I don’t feel they should be taking the money from us it’s already hard as it is now,” said Bertha McNeely, McNeely is unemployed.

Many like McNeely said the pain of sequestration is cutting even deeper.  As of Sunday, extended unemployment for at least 400,000 Californians was cut by nearly 18 percent.  Those on long term benefits of 27 weeks or longer will now see $52 less per week on average.

“It’s bad for me.  I’m a mom of 3 kids I been job seeking since I’ve been laid off from two jobs,” said McNeely.Unemployment

“A lot of these people need it and they’re looking for it to help with their families,” said Joshua Rubio, also on unemployment.

Even those who provide the help are finding themselves seeking it.  Meals-on-Wheels must now find a new source of support.

“We’re trying to find donors or other donors that can help out a little bit more,” said Case.

But, even those donors struggle to deliver.

“Again sequestration has hurt us there, because our donors have lost their jobs,” said Case.

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