SWLA human services transportation facing cuts - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

SWLA human services transportation facing cuts


Public transit providers and human services agencies throughout the five parish area have begun to discuss the needs they see and what can be done to coordinate already existing resources to meet them. 

With proposed federal budget cuts up for discussion, agencies and providers are trying to plan ahead. 

In 2007, the Federal Transit Administration was required to fund local human services transportation projects, including rural transportation - something that could take a hit under President Donald Trump's proposed spending plan.

"We don't have a train, bus or cab service in Allen Parish, so we have to rely on our public transportation," said Pat Jones, the executive director of the Allen Parish Council on Aging.

She said if the budget cuts are approved, Allen Parish's human services will take a hit.

"I hope we aren't hurt too badly through the budget. I know cuts are coming," Jones said.

She said residents need access to larger hospitals, more specialized doctors and services outside the parish, like dialysis, which is a rapidly growing reason for transportation in the area.

"Unless you have good transportation to access those services the services aren't any good," Jones said.

The Allen Parish Council on Aging teams up with the Calcasieu Council on Aging to pick up clients on the way to larger cities and towns.

Less funding is coming from Washington D.C., so the Lake Charles Urbanized Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's Transportation Policy Committee met with IMCAL, bringing transit providers and agencies like the councils on aging, together to start brainstorming solutions.

Human services programs range from those for the elderly to the disabled to even into rehabilitation programs.

The committee said there are several factors that need to be discussed where the resources, the needs, and the gaps and overlaps are in the system.

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