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Seniors fear they'll lose vital services Friday

Posted at 11:25 PM, Oct 19, 2015

COVINGTON, Ky. -- A major Northern Kentucky agency providing meals, transportation and other services for senior citizens is shutting down effective Friday.

Senior Services of Northern Kentucky announced Monday it didn't have "the financial wherewithal to continue operations."

The agency gets a large portion of its funding -- about $700,000 -- through the Northern Kentucky Area Development District, with $300,000 going toward the Meals on Wheels program, $200,000 for senior centers, $70,000 for transportation and $80,000 to $90,000 for ombudsman services.

"These state and federal dollars are critical, they allow the people to live independently in their homes," said Lisa Cooper, executive director of the Northern Kentucky Area Development District.

Cooper said she officially got word Monday about the impending closure. She's working with mayors, county judge-executives and other groups to get all the programs funded for a few more months so seniors aren't affected.

Marvele Markey, who relies on Senior Services for rides and meals, said she can't go without the help.

"I mean, my heart just went down. I thought, 'Oh my God, I've got doctor's appointments that go all the way up to next month,'" she said.

Even though she only has four days, Cooper said she's hopeful services will be back up next Monday and is "confident that we have the resources and partners throughout the region to see this through."

"We will be managing these service on a temporary basis until we find a long-term solution," she added.

WCPO made several attempts to contact Senior Services director Jay Van Winkle, but calls for comment were not returned.

The agency had this statement posted on its website:

"The Senior Services of Northern Kentucky (SSNK) Staff and Board of Directors appreciate, honor, and respect the contributions senior citizens in this community have and continue to make.  We acknowledge the wisdom and experience of these older Americans and recognize the growing needs of the aging population.

However, Senior Services of Northern Kentucky no longer has the financial wherewithal to continue operations.  Upon careful deliberation and explorations of options and with guidance from outside consultants and Council the Board of Directors of Senior Services of Northern Kentucky has voted to discontinue service.

Efforts are being made to personally notify clients and steps are being taken to build a comprehensive transition plan.

If you have questions please direct them to our hotline 405.259.SSNK (7765) or email us at ssnkhelpline@gmail.com"