Monday, April 25, 2011

Budget Proposal Eliminates Human Services Fund

The commuters who use the Somerset Country Transportation will not have a public transportation outlet if their ride is paid by the Human Services Development Fund. Jeffrey Masterson, Executive Director of the Community Action Partnership for Somerset County, says the governor's proposed budget that the funding elimination will effect about 2,000 people.

"The basic qualification other than being a Somerset County resident, is to fall into a low-income category."

The fund is allocated to each county in Pennsylvania for human services. That money in Somerset provides transportation for low income individuals ages 18-59 to ride to grocery stores and other necessary trips. Instead of a mass transit system, the county has a shared ride system which relies on the Human Services Fund to offer the free commuting operation.

Some commutes will still be available through other funding outlets such as Act 44, so rides for those 60 and older in Somerset county along with those who need rides to medical appointments will not be affected.

"It's only for those low income individuals that don't fit into that category, but need that necessary transportation to get to things other than a doctor's appointment, which everyone needs to do," Masterson says.

The budget is only a proposal, so Masterson has lobbied to lawmakers, but did not get a satisfying reaction.

"We were provided with the comment that everybody has to tighten their belt, and my comment was, well, there is no belt left to tighten, it's gone. These folks have absolutely no other resources in this rural area to get where they need to go," he says.

No comments: