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CDBG Appreciation Week

When the City of Biddeford contracted with Southern Maine Area Agency on Aging (SMAAA) (http://www.smaaa.org/) for a part-time Senior Advocate at a cost of $22,000/year, expectations were high. It was well-documented that senior citizens were not taking full advantage of benefits for which they were entitled, and they believed a Senior Advocate was part of the solution.

[Linda Lambert with Biddeford resident]
Linda Lambert, Senior Advocate, explains benefits to a Biddeford resident.

For many low- and moderate-income seniors, an added benefit can mean the ability to buy food and medication. The Senior Advocate works with seniors to help them apply for those benefits.

�The results were astounding,� said Linda Hardacker, Biddeford 's Community Development Coordinator. �In the second year of the program, we expected SMAAA to serve 300 seniors. They served 820!�

�People come to me for all kinds of assistance, but the first thing I look at,� says Senior Advocate Linda Lambert, �is medical expenses, including insurances and prescription drugs. Programs and application forms are complicated, and most people are so overwhelmed or too intimidated to do a thorough analysis. That's where I can usually help people save some money.�

Ms. Lambert recently worked with a woman who received $600 a month in Social Security and had depleted her savings to $27 in order to buy her prescription drugs. Ms. Lambert was not only able to help the woman save money, but she also helped her eliminate most of her out-of-pocket costs for drugs.

�And, not too long ago, a couple came in to see me for help. Each of them had about 15 prescription drugs and couldn't afford to buy them all.� Ms. Lambert spent hours reviewing programs and comparing plans, but it paid off. She was able to save each of them nearly $20,000 a year.

Not everyone saved that much. The estimated average savings was $1,500 per person for a total of $1.23 million. �I spend a lot of time educating people on what they have, what it covers and what it doesn't, and how they can do better.� For many, that has been a lifesaver.

Visit HUD's website to learn more about. HUD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. Visit Biddeford 's website (http://www.biddefordmaine.org/index.asp) to learn what great things are happening in their community.

Content Archived: March 21, 2011

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