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No More Cash for Harrisburg’s Elderly

Last week The General Assistance cash grant program that had been in operation in Harrisburg ever since The Great Depression came to an end due, of course, not surprisingly, to a lack of funding.  This is going to be a huge issue for the approximately 70,000 elderly Pennsylvanians who have been receiving around $200 a month.  These include: the elderly; victims of domestic violence; disabled; etc.

I was actually hoping it wouldn’t come to this.  A friend of mine is one of the recipients – he has a lot going on – and he told me that it had been continuing these last few weeks even though it was meant to end at the beginning of July.  But he just got the official letter that it’s now ending. I don’t know what he’s going to do; he – along with the other thousands who were receiving the money – really relied on it.

We shouldn’t really be so surprised though.  A vast majority of social service programs have been cut back or eliminated.  Now the question is, how will these people be protected from really going under?  What is going to happen?  According to DPW spokeswoman Carey Miller, the next address for them will be their caseworkers for each case to be evaluated on an individual basis. There could also be food stamps and access to medical assistance to cushion the blow as well.  Whatever happens, I seriously hope the city and the Mayor have thought this through properly.

Harrisburg Cancels Holiday Parade

Every year the city of Harrisburg enjoys a Holiday Parade.  This year it was scheduled for November 19 but will not take place due to financial problems the city is incurring, which probably was not helped by its recent flood.  In addition, while Harrisburg usually receives sponsors for its parade, this year no businesses came forward at all with an offer.

Big Harrisburg Debt

The truth of the matter is, Harrisburg has to face reality and its financial situation is not looking good.  The city is up against huge amounts of debt right now – currently $310m in unpaid bonds for the incinerator as well as close to $300m of other debts etc.  Thus to spend $30,000 now on a Parade would at best, be inappropriate, even though it’s been a Harrisburg tradition since 1986 and always ends up supporting the city’s local businesses.

What will happen in the future to Harrisburg and its entertainment remains to be seen. There is now talk of the possibility of canceling the fireworks the city usually enjoys on New Year’s Eve.  By the end of the month they’ll know if they have the sponsors needed for this.

Clearly the city has to work hard to get out of debt.  That must be a priority.  But in the meantime, it has to realize that to make money, money has to be spent. And these entertainment activities are always good for local businesses so that must be brought into the calculation as well.