King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) recently awarded more than $2 million in funding to 18 nonprofit senior centers impacted by COVID-19. The pandemic has altered the community in many ways, and senior centers, which are critical operations that increase connection, information sharing, and support for neighbors continue to experience some challenges.
Federal funding from the American Rescue Plan helped make these awards possible. The one-time funding ensures that more than a dozen senior centers can expand programs and maintain critical resources, including rental income support, meal delivery, and staffing. Funding awards ranged from $25,000 to $200,000.
Recently awarded senior centers include: Central Area Senior Center, Filipino Community of Seattle, Generations With Pride, and Greenwood Senior Center to name a few.
The Sno-Valley Senior Center put the funds to good use and helped energize the center. The hours of social workers were expanded because of the funds, which in turn led to greater outreach and higher engagement with the senior community in the Snoqualmie Valley, especially among Latinx seniors.
A key area of focus in the Adult Services Division in DCHS is connecting older adults, especially during the pandemic when social isolation is common. Lack of social connection has been shown to increase health risks. More than one in four adults aged 50+ reported that they felt isolated before the COVID-19 pandemic began and that number jumped to more than one in two in 2020.
The Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy (VSHSL) also has a significant impact on seniors who rely on local senior centers for engagement and access to essential supports and resources through the Senior Hubs strategy. Senior Hubs serve as recognized resource centers that specifically seek to engage seniors who are isolated or have less access to these kinds of connections in the past. In 2021, more than 29,000 seniors were served across 22 VSHSL senior hubs.
King County continues to evolve and support senior centers countywide to be pro-equity, inclusive, learning organizations reflective of the neighborhoods and communities they serve. This includes seniors with veteran status and seniors across racial, sexual, and gender identities.
To learn more about the Senior Hubs visit our website.