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PCACS adapts during challenging year to continue services

Written by Bruce Lindner. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on August 05, 2020 with No Comments

PCACS Executive Director Bruce Lindner, right, introduces Indiana Guardianship Services case manager Doris Ruffin during the annual meeting, while Board President Ethan Lowe takes notes.

Our team has continued to serve our community members through our programs – even in the face of COVID-19 challenges.

Our board members recently gathered safely to review our impact at our annual meeting. While we remain on lockdown at our offices, we have adjusted and adapted to serve through online, drop-off and phone connections.

Transportation has always been our main program that allows seniors and individuals with special needs to get to medical appointments as well as have access to key services. During the initial shutdown, we had to stop running our buses, as seniors are at high risk to contract the disease.

We were able to put safety regulations into place and have our service begin on a limited basis in June. We have in place passenger limits, cleaning protocols, temperature checks and mask requirements to help keep everyone safe while getting them where they need to go.

Our year still included 198,262 vehicle miles, 91 average trips per day and 204 new clients served. While we expect to be running at limited capacity for months, we are striving to ensure that we continue to offer this essential program.

We also faced obstacles to process our programs while keeping clients and staff safe. The Energy Assistance Program was extended this year to help those struggling to pay their energy bills. We were able to collect paperwork through drop-boxes and limited contact office visits. We had online applications available to be processed or dropped off in the mail.

The team of volunteers and staff served 1,076 clients, and the program provided $562,351 in assistance to those in need. The active program consistently relies on our volunteers: Gail Galvan, Inge Nimtz, Alexis Brandt, Wendy Masters and John Loden.

New this year, we have had the opportunity to provide a home base for the Indiana Guardianship Services Inc. to serve Porter County residents. The program is in place to serve as a guardian for adults who have been adjudicated incapacitated and have no other viable alternative for a guardian.

Case manager Doris Ruffin works out of our offices on a full-time basis, and IGS Assistant Director Kardetra Redmond is working on a part-time basis. In Porter County, they are working with 12 clients and are striving to expand as there are more individuals on a waiting list.

It has been hard at this time to get the program going at a normal pace, but we have everything in place that is needed, and we look forward to continuing to support this service and help it grow. Trained volunteers will be a key component to expanding the assistance in Porter County going forward.

While it has been a year full of obstacles and challenges to overcome, I am proud of my team and the community that have stepped up to keep us focused on our mission and goals.

We are honored that Linda Anderson and her team at Boulder Bay Realty raised $11,000 to help with food box distribution during the initial shutdown. Town and Country staff members put together boxes of food essentials, and our bus drivers delivered them directly to the doorsteps of those in need. This is an example of how we can work together to keep our services going.

As these unprecedented times continue and the unknown is ahead of us, our agency is seeking additional ways to help those who may have emergency situations. We are seeking funding through grants that will help supplement the Emergency Assistance Fund, which can help community members needing a helping hand. The goal of the funds is to offer a way to pay for an emergency and help the family stay stable and not fall into an even worse state.

Rental help

The COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program recently launched to help Indiana renters who have been affected by COVID-19. The program can help cover past due or ongoing monthly rent payments or late fees.

For more information: http://indianahousingnow.org.

All opinions, conclusions and recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the views of The Chronicle.  Bruce Lindner has worked in the non-profit world for more than 35 years and for the past 12 years has been serving as the executive director of Porter County Aging and Community Services. Contact him directly at 219-465-7144 or email at bhlindner@portercountyacs.org.

 

With photo: 

 

PCACS Executive Director Bruce Lindner, right, introduces Indiana Guardianship Services case manager Doris Ruffin during the annual meeting, while Board President Ethan Lowe takes notes.

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About Bruce Lindner

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle.  Bruce Lindner has worked in the not-for-profit world for more than 25 years and has been executive director of Porter County Aging and Community Services for five. A native of the Region, he was raised in Portage and he graduated from Valparaiso University. You can call him at 219-464-9736 or e-mail at bhlindner@frontier.com.

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