Hope and Vision in Challenging Times
January is traditionally a time when we reflect back on the past year and welcome new beginnings. The past months have been quite stressful for most of us, and we entertain a lot of hope for change in 2009. We hope for peace, economic stability, discovery of alternative energy sources, good health and more.
The economy has been especially troubling, and I know it has had an impact on many of you as well as PSRC. Here are some of my observations:
- People who are living on fixed incomes are being hit harder by increased costs of living, including fuel, food, healthcare and taxes. This leads more people to seek assistance from non-profit organizations like PSRC. Use of food banks, credit counselors, and emergency assistance is booming.
- People living on income derived from investments have felt the impact of the downturn in the market and are having to reduce living costs.
- Some people are helping their children who have lost jobs or need help with mortgage and loan payments.
- This is not a good time to sell a home, so more people are aging in place in their own homes, and they will need more home-based services.
- Some plan to move in with family members, creating new family and caregiver issues to address.
- Many people are postponing retirement.
- At the same time that demand for services increases, support for non-profits is reduced, putting strain on capacity to meet community needs. All income sources are being squeezed.
Challenging times call for creativity and collaboration. The staff and board of PSRC are seeking creative ways to continue to offer a wide range of programs and services, and to meet the growing demand for support and guidance services. We seek collaboration with other organizations and with every one of you in finding creative solutions.
PSRC is responding to the current environment by shaping what we offer. For example, the staff of the Engaged Retirement™ program has developed a new seminar on ways to build and enhance your resume with volunteer positions, and is developing the concept of Senior Internships to help people gain new skills to improve employability.
We want you to remember that PSRC offers a wide range of social services should you or someone you know need assistance. We will review your options, connect you to the community programs and services that can meet your needs, help you apply for assistance, and more.
We also urge you to continue to attend classes at PSRC. Not only does this help to support staff and instructors, but it is important to continue to care for your health and well-being in stressful times.
PSRC is deeply grateful to all of the donors who supported us through our recent annual appeal. It is heartening to have your continued support for the work we do. We are also grateful for the continued support from the Municipal governments, United Way and our other foundation and grant funders. We are seeking to reduce costs where we can and do not plan any additional hires or new programs for early 2009. With your support (income generation is year-round), we will make it through. Thanks! Happy New Year!
Susan Hoskins, LCSW
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