The Alexandria City Council will hold a public hearing Saturday on a plan to help senior citizens. The portion of the plan most at issue will be a city governmental proposal to move the director of the nutrition program from Hopkins House Association, a private, non-profit organization, to the city Office on Aging.
The nutrition program is part of a plan prepared by the Commission on Aging that offers health screening, home repair and other services to the elderly.
The change, if it takes place, would move the director from the payroll of Hopkins House to that of the city, but the source of the funds would be federal in either case.
In a memorandum to the mayor and City Council earlier this month, City Manager Douglas Harman said the position should be assigned to the Office on Aging for three reasons:
"First, Hopkins House is no longer the only nutrition site sponsor. There are two others; Catholic Charities operates St. Martin's, and RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) is temporarily operating a satellite site at McArthur School.
"Second, the Office on Aging staff has been approached by other organizations interested in operating their own nutrition site . . . Third, the nutrition program is the single largest expenditure in the plan for Aging Services. Therefore, the Office on Aging staff needs the director position to discharge it citywide planning responsibility for the nutrition sites."
Clarence Johnson, president of Hopkins House Association at 1224 Princess Street, said the association will oppose the change as it did in earlier hearings.
"My reason for not wanting the (nutrition) program director to leave the employ of the Hopkins House and be an employe of the city is that she will not be accessible to the community which she serves," he said. "The senior citizens that are her clientele can more readily identify with her in a community service center such as Hopkins House than they can as an employe of the city of Alexandria's Office on Aging."
Johnson said Hopkins House now has a contract with the city to operate two nutrition sites, one at Cora Kelly School and one at the Charles Houston Recreation Center. In addition, he said, it lets a subcontract to St. Martin's Senior Citizens Center for a third center.
Besides the city's wanting to take over the directorship, he said, St. Martin's would like to have a direct contract, while Hopkins House prefers the status quo. Johnson said he believes the association's board of directors is unanimous as to that position.
Harman's memorandum to the city council indicated that the city is to receive $174,728 in federal funds under the Older Americans Act over a 12 month period starting Oct. 1. The federal money is to be combined with $20,860 in city funds. The City Council is expected to act on the spending plan June 27, and it must be filed with the state government in Richmond by July 15.
More than half of the federal portion will go to the nutrition program. The Commission on Aging plan also includes:
Telehelp. This program has a $2,400 budget and is expected to serve 80 senior citizens instead of the current 50. Homebound elderly are contacted by telephone through this program, and are given advice or assistance.
Health screening. Five hundred low-income persons, age 60 and over, will be screened as to health needs and urged to take prescribed medicine. The plan is new and is to cost $3,000.
Home repair. The plan calls for budgeting $4,000 to the Homeowners' Task Force to repair about 10 senior citizens' homes. Task Force members say they will ask for an additional $3,000.
Homemaker service. This program for in-home services will receive $4,000 under the plan. The program was run on $2,000 last year.
The council session will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at City Hall.