Funding for senior center facilities and accessible vehicles for voting in NM elections

As New Mexico’s senior centers begin to reopen after pandemic shutdowns and fire evacuations, $24.5 million for the facilities is to be voted on in the November election. General Obligation Bond 1 – if approved – would go towards designing, renovating or equipping centers across 21 counties and six pueblos.

The deposit will help several senior centers purchase and outfit ADA-accessible vehicles. Department of Aging and Long Term Services Second. Katrina Hotrum-Lopez said the lack of accessibility of center fleets became evident during this year’s historic fire season.

“People needed resources. They had to go from place to place,’ she said of the seniors affected by the massive fire that ripped through northern New Mexico, putting thousands on lockdown. evacuation. “And if we can’t do non-medical transport with someone who has to be in a wheelchair or has their oxygen with them, then I think we’ve let our elders down. We are therefore correcting this problem.

She said the need for vehicles had also increased during the pandemic with an increase in meal delivery, and remained there. The link will also finance equipment for the preparation of meals. Food insecurity among seniors is a big problem — one these centers are well positioned to address, Hotrum-Lopez said.

New Mexico is a poor state, but we have proud, proud seniors. Few of them like to ask for help, but they will go to an old people’s center for a meal because it is an engagement. It’s about socialization. It’s not a stereotype that they can’t afford food.

– Katrina Hotrum-Lopez, secretary of aging and long-term services

The bond includes more than $1.7 million that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has requested for tribal centers for the elderly, according to Legislative Finance Committee.

Hotrum-Lopez said the stipend will help tribal communities meet all immediate needs while his department develops a “better program” to meet the needs for long-term investment and culturally-specific programming for Native American elders across the country. New Mexico.

Gallup, which borders the Navajo Nation, is expected to receive the largest share of this year’s senior center obligation, at just under $5.5 million. The bulk will go towards building a brand new center there, as Hotrum-Lopez said Gallup not only has an aging population, but also an aging facility.

“The other thing about this population is that we know a lot of grandparents are taking care of their grandchildren there,” she said. “So we’re really looking at how not only can we serve that older person, but we can also get some natural supports there that also serve that kid.”

Second. Hotrum-Lopez said the new Gallup Regional Senior Center, which will replace the city’s existing neighborhood center, is an opportunity for the Department of Aging and Long-Term Services to better meet seniors where they are, including in more rural areas of the state. .

“We really, really want the Gallup Center to be the center where we seek to help our seniors in the way they want and live in the community of their choice,” she said.

The bond is the centre’s first round of financing. A second round of funding is expected to be introduced in the 2023 legislative session, according to the Capital Outlay Bureau. A spokesperson for the office said that if either funding stream fails, Project Gallup could be delayed or scaled back.

General obligation bonds result in a public debt paid for by property taxes. However, the approval of any of the three bond issues this year will not lead to a statewide tax increase, as the Ministry of Finance and State Administration has assured that the current rate is high enough to cover the new debt when the older debt expires.

Source New Mexico and KUNM News are collaborating to bring you coverage of the 2022 election. This article was originally published by KUNM and is republished here with permission.

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