WHEREAS, State Services for the Blind's Senior Services Unit is the primary, and in many cases, only source of funding for services to blind seniors in the state of Minnesota, especially crucial adjustment to blindness training in the home or through group classes, as well as access to information and resources; and
WHEREAS, a recent study by the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota describes an impending “Silver Tsunami” in which the number of blind seniors will expand exponentially in the coming years, unaccompanied by any significant public or private funding to meet their needs; and
WHEREAS, in comparison to the rapidly expanding need for senior services, funding is minimal, approximately 50% of the Unit’s $2.1 million budget (the rest of which goes to pay the salaries of direct service staff who locate seniors and provide limited teaching and referrals to them), not even remotely enough to meet current needs, leading to a service crisis of massive proportions; and
WHEREAS, Minnesota has an established network of service providers, including our partner organization, BLIND, Inc., which are capable of providing group and individual adjustment to blindness training to seniors, but which are currently unable to do so because of lack of funding; and
WHEREAS, these crucial services, which will enable blind seniors to live independently in their own homes and communities, can be provided for a one-time cost of 20 to 50 percent of a single month of assisted living or nursing home care which would otherwise go on for years, wasting state funds that could meet real medical needs; and
WHEREAS, State Services for the Blind has been encouraged by everyone knowledgeable of the problem to seek a major funding expansion for Senior Services, which is entirely justified, in order to avoid the destructive effects of the upcoming “Silver Tsunami”; Now Therefore
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention assembled this 2nd day of November, 2014 in the city of New Ulm, that this organization call upon the Governor and the Legislature to provide a major increase in funding to the Senior Services Unit of State Services for the Blind, enough to meet all existing needs and head off the upcoming “Silver Tsunami” crisis.