The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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State News

June 24, 2014

W.Va. closing some aging resource centers

MARTINSBURG — Budget cuts are forcing the state to close some of its Aging and Disability Resource Centers.

The storefront centers help seniors and residents with disabilities find and apply for services and resources to help them live independently.

Centers located in Wheeling, Dunbar, Martinsburg, Elkins and Lewisburg are slated to close. A Milton location closed in February.

“We had to reduce our budget by 7.5 percent,” Bureau of Senior Services Commissioner Robert Roswell told The Journal. “Closing the ADRCs was based upon productivity. Less than 25 percent of the clients are walk-ins. Less than 13,000 clients come into the centers. Most of the business is done over the phone. Martinsburg was one of the lower-performing centers. The closures are based on performance and we looked at the cost of the centers.”

Centers in Petersburg, Fairmont, Charleston and Princeton will remain open, a bureau news release said. They were the top performers with the most walk-in clients, Roswell said.

He said the bureau is add-ing a computerized data system that will be accessible from any location.

The bureau awards grants to organizations to operate the centers.

“Last year, the Martinsburg center served 606 people some were repeat customers,” said Scott Gossard, director of the nonprofit Upper Potomac Area Agency on Aging Inc., which operates the Martinsburg and Petersburg centers. “I began tracking the value of our service and last year, we created $169 in savings per person. For every $1 the state invested in the center, we generated $1.64 in benefits.”

Gossard said the centers’ closing was sad.

“Because we provided a good service and did a good job,” he said. “It’s discouraging because we made a positive impact. We’ll still provide the services, but we won’t be as efficient.”

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