April 30, 2010
Mecklenburg County Transportation Update
The Department of Social Services (DSS) provides transportation services for Mecklenburg County residents who are deemed eligible for these services. Mecklenburg Transportation Services are funded primarily with federal and state allocations. One of these transportation services provided by DSS is the Elderly General Purpose Transportation (EGP), which is funded by half-cent sales tax revenue via an interlocal agreement with the City of Charlotte/Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS). EGP currently provides transportation for seniors age 60 and older for medical appointments, pharmacy, grocery, paid employment, and Senior Center activities.
At its meeting on Wednesday, April 28, the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) approved the CATS budget for the upcoming fiscal year. This budget would reduce FY2011 funding for the EGP Transportation service by approximately $440,000 from the current year's funding of $940,000. To continue providing this service, DSS and CATS leadership are collaborating to develop a coordinated transportation plan that identifies future efficiencies as well as possible grant funding for EGP. As a result of the funding reduction, DSS staff will rely more on the use of CATS fixed bus routes while reducing the use of taxi cabs to transport those who are eligible for the service. We believe this will provide greater mobility to citizens while meeting their medical and general purpose transportation needs.
DSS staff has been interviewed on this topic by a local television reporter. The story appears to be focused on the use of taxi cabs as a means of transportation for Medicaid-eligible residents. In particular, questions arose regarding transportation of individuals to Charlotte area substance treatment clinics to receive medical services, which is a mandated Medicaid-eligible service. This story is scheduled to air during the Monday evening news hour.
Board members with questions should contact Social Services Director Mary Wilson at 704-336-6276 or email.
Foster Care Parent Awareness Campaign Begins in May
Beginning tomorrow, the County will embark on a new awareness campaign aimed at recruiting foster parents. May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and the Department of Social Services is focusing its attention on finding more people to help the approximately 1,000 children in DSS custody.
Throughout May, the message about why and how to get involved will be seen and heard throughout the community, beginning with the County's web site and social media outlets.
In addition, the Public Service & Information Department (PSI) is producing a public service announcement about foster parenting that will air hundreds of times on a variety of cable television stations throughout the month. Approximately 20,000 flyers will be distributed through the area's faith community houses of worship. Also, starting May 1, a large banner asking people to get involved will be placed on the Fourth Street side of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse parking deck. Foster Care Awareness Month culminates May 25 with a foster parent information and orientation event to be held at Charlotte East, 5800 Executive Center Drive.
Board members with questions should contact Public Service & Information Director Danny Diehl at 704-336-2084 or email.
- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager