JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. - Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound (CASA) of Jackson County is closing its doors on February 1, 2020.
Bradley McIllwain told WHNT News 19 that he started as a volunteer at CASA around 15 years ago.
About 10 years later, he needed their help after becoming disabled.
“I don’t really know what I’d do without them. They help so many people. They have helped me personally with groceries when I didn’t have any food. Helped me with rides. They are just a marvelous, marvelous organization and to see it go down is very sad,” said McIllwain.
The closure of CASA of Jackson County has left the thousands of people it helps with questions.
“What’s next? What do we do? Do we try to find another payee which sometimes is not that easy,” said McIllwain.
CASA of Jackson County Board of Directors Vice President Cheryl Simon told WHNT News 19 that shutting down was a tough decision, but one that had to be made.
“We still have to pay the heat and air conditioning, but yeah it’s just the everyday costs that run us into the ground,” said Simon.
She said they are just over $1,000 short each month.
“We get a lot of earmarked funding, but we don’t get a lot of funding that’s not unearmarked which means overhead is our issue. We’re short every single month on being able to pay the bills,” said Simon.
Simon said they are not abandoning the community. They are taking 60 to 90 days off to restructure before opening as a different entity.
“We are working on reorganizing, getting back to the basics. Someone said to me, sometimes something has to die to be reborn and I think, CASA was at that point. We’re not serving the community as much as we want to be able to serve it, so that’s our goal,” said Simon.
There will be no food pantry at the new CASA entity.
However, Simon told WHNT News 19 that they will continue to build ramps and do other small home repairs, give out durable medical equipment, and help more with prescriptions.
CASA of Jackson County is asking for corporate businesses to pledge a donation each month or year to help cover the overhead costs that weight heavy on the organization.