After 45 years, North Central Home Care is closing its doors - a decision, according to the agency's director, prompted by a $400,000 reduction in funding over the past four years.
North Central Home Care provides what it calls "homemaker services," designed to help a person who may otherwise have to be institutionalized remain in their home. North Central home health and home care aides assist clients with such tasks as cleaning and grocery shopping.
This will end when the agency closes its doors in Sept. 27. North Central's 16 employees will lose their jobs that day.
"This was not a sudden decision," said director Brenda Snook.
North Central's board of directors voted to disband the agency on July 25, she said.
"There were hours of consideration and discussion on options to keep the agency going," she said.
Ultimately, funding reductions were deemed insurmountable, according to Snook.
Years of cuts were slated to continue for fiscal year 2014, when the agency would have seen further reductions of $110,000, Snook said. North Central received both state and federal funding from various sources.
Plans are afoot to transfer many of North Central's functions to the Webster County Health Department.
That includes the county's Meals on Wheels program, which provides delivery of a daily lunch seven days a week to those who request it. The program serves approximately 60 meals daily.
Kari Prescott, executive director of the Webster County Health Department, said that she will be meeting with stakeholders in the coming days to determine how the department can expand services to cover the impending shortfall.
"We don't want any gaps in services," she said.
Snook said that North Central is working with all clients to make sure they're transferred to other agencies.
"We're working with them to assess their needs," she said.
North Central's building. located at 328 S. Eighth St., will be put up for sale, Snook said.
"All obligations and liabilities of North Central Home Care will be paid," she said.