The following is a press release from King County:
Nearly $3.5 million in funding has been made available for 38 organizations serving older adults throughout King County, including two in Enumclaw and Black Diamond.
The one-time investments will help senior centers, community centers, and organizations serving older adults expand programs to reach more local seniors, make their facilities safer and more accessible, purchase equipment and appliances, and more.
Included in the funding mix are the Enumclaw Senior Center, due to receive $84,000, and the Black Diamond Community Center, $60,000.
It is the first round of new investments funded by the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy. The levy, renewed by voters in 2017, includes new funding specifically for older adults and their caregivers.
“The people of King County trusted us to invest in programs and services that will improve the quality of life for seniors, and that is exactly what we are doing,” said County Executive Dow Constantine. “Senior centers do more than connect people with resources – they keep people connected to one another.”
By 2040, more than a quarter of King County’s population will be seniors. Healthy lifestyles and social engagement are keys to living long and living well.
Senior-serving organizations countywide applied for one-time facility improvements or repairs, training, equipment, digital infrastructure, disability renovations, and enhancements of current programs.
The funding will stabilize senior services for the future, build capacity, and increase access and inclusion. Among the improvements are hearing loops, which make it possible for seniors who are hard of hearing to more easily participate in activities, targeted outreach and engagement to increase attendance, and minor capital projects and repairs.
Several of the investments will improve access to services for non- or limited-English speaking seniors and their caregivers to build community connections and reduce isolation. The funding also will help senior centers and programs that serve older residents in unincorporated communities.
“Some of the most vulnerable in our community are often our most overlooked,” said King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer, chairman of the Regional Policy Committee. “In past years, services for our seniors have too often been pushed aside. However, with the implementation of the VSHSL, our seniors will finally receive priority as we are dedicated to investing $3.5 million in senior centers and community centers serving older adults.”
“We all benefit by being part of a community, to get support from others when needed,” said King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who chairs of the Housing, Health and Human Services Committee. “Senior centers offer such places for many of our older citizens, especially in providing opportunities for social interaction.”