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Arizona agency picks up $300K grant for rural seniors health care access

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PHOENIX – A grant will pump over a quarter-million dollars into improving health care access for older adults living in rural areas in Arizona.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has given regional planning agency Maricopa Association of Governments $300,000 to be spread over two years to run a rural transportation “incubator.”

The “incubator” will help the targeted group find a way to get to medical attention.

“Older adults with low incomes face many barriers to transportation services – a ZIP code shouldn’t be one of them,” Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney, chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments, said Thursday in a prepared statement.

Age Friendly Arizona, a branch of the regional planner, will oversee the project that has an overall budget of $1.7 million.

An estimated 155,000 people over 65 live in rural Arizona according to 2017 Census Bureau estimates, the program said.

Nearly 19 percent live alone, and 6% of those living alone do not have a vehicle available to them.

“Not only will this project work to find sustainable solutions to rural transportation in Arizona, but it will also collaborate and share with rural communities throughout the country,” Earl Millett, program officer for the Weinberg foundation, said in the press release.

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