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After years of applying for grants and saving money, the Jefferson City Housing Authority has a new bus for its senior residents.

The organization received a $23,000 grant from the United Way this year.

Between the grant and about $30,000 saved during the last few years, the Housing Authority recently purchased a used bus.

"We've been saving money for years trying to purchase a new bus," project specialist Amy VanOverschelde said. "To get one that is low miles and everything they're just so expensive. Even a used bus is around $50,000."

She said the Housing Authority applied for two grants last year and two this year, trying to find the funds.

"We were very, very happy when United Way chose us as one of their recipients," VanOverschelde said.

The 22-passenger bus arrived in Jefferson City from Tulsa, Oklahoma, this month and is getting detailed and decals added. It also includes room for two wheelchairs and a lift for wheelchair-bound riders to get on.

VanOverschelde said the bus is a 2016 Goshen Coach Impulse and is about the same size as the old bus.

She said the Housing Authority mainly uses the bus at its senior living complexes — where residents are at least 55 years old.

"We have regular trips to the east end and the west end of town for shopping so they can get groceries and that kind of thing," VanOverschelde said. "Two days a week for sure, they're out and about."

VanOverschelde said they also use the bus on weekly field trips, which were temporarily on hold because of COVID-19, but are getting going again.

For instance, the residents will go to a movie or out for dinner.

The deterioration of the bus meant some regular trips changed.

VanOverschelde said they would go to the Lake of the Ozarks in December to see Christmas lights, but as the bus became unreliable, the Housing Authority stopped taking it outside city limits.

"We needed to stay within the city limits so JeffTran could help us if our bus broke down and we needed to get our residents back," she said. "We try to keep our seniors very active and give them lots of places to go and things to do."

The Housing Authority plans to sell its old bus and hopes to have the new one up and running before the end of the month.

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