Central Mississippi, Inc. received a 5311 rural transportation grant for the 2020 – 2021 FY. This grant/project is providing services to six counties: Attala, Carroll, Grenada, Holmes Montgomery, and Yalobusha counties. Once we receive all vehicles, we will have 9 vans ranging from 6 person handicap accessible to 15 passenger vans. There is a substantive need for the transit program in each county. Attala County has a population of 18,365 with approximately 36% elderly/disabled. Carroll County has a population of 10,139 and 38% of that population is elderly and/or disabled. Grenada County has a population of 21,518 and approximately 36% of that population is elderly and/or disabled. Holmes County has a population of 17,622 with approximately 29% elderly and/or disabled. Montgomery County has a population of 10,351 and of that population, 39% are elderly and/or disabled. Yalobusha County has a population of 12,392 with 32% elderly and/or disabled. In each county, approximately a third of the citizens fall into those vulnerable categories. This does not include the veterans, as they are a vulnerable population as well.
CMI’s focus in each of these counties is primarily the rural areas, as those are the most difficult for the elderly and disabled’s transport capabilities. The agency has been informed that at least 75% of our clients live in deep rural areas and do not have sufficient means of transportation. Most have to pay an exorbitant amount of funds to be transported to our agency, to medical appointments, or to grocery stores. Most recently in two of the agency’s service counties, the local Wal-Mart was removed, and there is only one grocery store (with extremely high prices). The elderly residents had to attempt to travel 30 miles (one way) to purchase medicine, as there are only mom-and-pop drug stores in the area now. It is the same scenario for food and shopping. In the Carroll and Montgomery county areas, there is only a Dollar General for shopping (household needs). The transportation system can offer more affordable alternatives by transporting the clients to Grenada and Greenwood where there is a much larger variety of all needs.
One of the goals of this project 2021-2022 is to continue to provide (in most areas) and increase mobility options within the six counties for all citizens: Attala, Carroll, Grenada, Leflore, Montgomery, and Yalobusha. This would include serving the needs of transit-dependent populations beyond the traditional public transportation service, which is non-existent in most rural counties. Secondly, we seek to enhance the mobility of seniors and people with disabilities by exceeding the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The objectives of this grant are to provide effective transportation to seniors and individuals with disabilities and, in some areas, enhance the current multiple transit systems via partnerships.
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