BY BARB BERGGOETZ
Chris Myers sometimes wakes up thinking about an apartment roof leak. She worries about people on waiting lists for services. And she’s concerned about having enough funds to provide help to everyone who needs it.
All of that comes with her new position as CEO of Area 10 Agency on Aging, a position she started in January. The nonprofit agency provides services—transportation, housing, home repairs, food, and mobility assistance—for seniors, people with disabilities, and family caregivers in Monroe and Owen counties.
“It’s about supporting people’s dignity of life and their desire to live at home,” says Myers, an Indiana University graduate and an Area 10 employee for four years, most recently as chief operating officer. “We have an amazing staff to do all we do, but we have to have the resources to accomplish everything.”
With 20 years of nonprofit and other management experience, Myers is used to stretching resources. She’s managed grants and contracts for IU, the City of Bloomington, and South Central Community Action Program.
First steps at Area 10 include strengthening the internal workings of the agency, a nonprofit organization with 82 employees and a $4.3 million budget. For example, Myers wants to ensure the agency secures all local matching funds in order to qualify for the maximum state and local moneys available.
“It’s about strengthening the core of what we do,” says Myers.
Area 10 offers assistance to about 3,000 clients annually, says Myers. But she sees needs not being met, largely due to an expanding aging population, and wants to create new partnerships with other agencies to meet them. About 120 people, for example, are waiting to live in 82 units the agency manages, which tells Myers there is a need for more affordable housing for seniors.
She would also like to develop a plan that allows those who don’t qualify for state and federal assistance to pay the agency directly for its services. “We have to be advocates for funding that supports our aging citizens,” she says.