"A lot of residents are having a hard time trying to survive everyday life," said Marcia Zyla, a resident of the Grundy County Housing Authority's Mazon Park Place. "With the changes with prescription programs, they all started panicking and looking for other ways to get them filled, and some are literally doing without."
Many local seniors are having to choose between paying bills or getting their medications. The average income of the housing authority residents is $12,000 a year, and the average rent is $281 a month.
The GCHA provides housing for 160 low-income elderly people and residents with disabilities in three locations in the county. Rent for the housing is decided based on the income of each resident.
In addition to the personal challenges its residents are enduring, the Grundy County Housing Authority's is experiencing its own economic hardships. From 2009 to 2011, 29 percent of all federal funding was cut, said Brent Newman, CEO of the GCHA.
To accommodate in the last year, Newman said the GCHA has cut employee retirement benefits, residential services, employee health insurance, and staff and board education and training.
Because of these challenges, the Grundy County Housing Authority has started multiple programs to provide opportunities for community members and businesses to give back to local seniors.