Senior center thrilled to get money from Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy

Radine Lozier, director of the Auburn Senior Activity Center, left, and staff members Michelle Young. seated, Connie Humphrey, standing center, and Carrie Stahlecker, right. COURTESY PHOTO

Radine Lozier, director of the Auburn Senior Activity Center, left, and staff members Michelle Young. seated, Connie Humphrey, standing center, and Carrie Stahlecker, right. COURTESY PHOTO

When King County voters renewed the six-year Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy last November, they said “yes” to a levy-lid lift that county officials estimated would raise a total of $52,366,358 in the first year.

“Yes” to a measure that would cost taxpayers 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation on their homes in 2018, with a 3.5 percent limit over the lifetime of the levy.

The Auburn Senior Activity Center is about to get a $118,000 slice of the levy to beef-up programming, provide more social service help, effect repairs to the kitchen floor and add a looped hearing assistance system so hearing-impaired participants can hear better in the banquet room, classroom and TV room.

Last week, Mayor Nancy Backus signed the contract with King County to appropriate and expend the funds, and a separate contract with Valley Cities Behavioral Health to provide 11 hours a week of onsite services at the senior center.

“The Valley Cities counselors started this week. They were well received,” Dana Hinman, administrative director for the City of Auburn, said on Sept. 11

Seniors and veterans can set up 30-minute appointments Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, though Wednesday appointments are specifically for case resource management, ideal for people who need help filling out forms, looking for housing, looking for medical care or finding employment.

For appointments, call 253-931-3016, or stop by the senior center, 808 Ninth St. SE.

“The most important thing about this grant is that we have Valley Cities here now, doing some one-on-one with people, and doing some groups with people, 11 hours a week, which is huge,” said Radine Lozier, director of the senior center.

“In addition, I just found out Monday that we have received $3,000 from Aging and Disability of King County to buy new dishes, knives and a freezer for the lunch program,” Lozier added.

After the King County Council adopted an implementation plan for the levy that included the grant on July 16, Auburn’s Parks, Arts and Recreation Department submitted an application for those funds.

Auburn, in fact, is one of 38 organizations serving older adults countywide that will realize more accessible facilities and expanded programs, courtesy of a total $3.5 million investment by King County.

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.

Here is a summation of what the senior center will do with the money it gets:

• Expand a partnership with the Latino-based organization, Sea Mar, from once monthly to once a week, and offer a new diversity education series of classes for four weeks focused on bullying and inclusion among seniors;

• Replace the 17-year-old kitchen floor. Catholic Community Services oversees the nutrition site at the center, which it operates daily five days a week. In 2017, it served 19,644 meals;

• Buy two power lift chairs for the classroom used every Friday by Auburn Respite, an adult day care program;

• Establish a contract with Valley Cities Behavioral Health for a 10-hour/week social worker to provide services at the center from August through December in 2018;

• Offer a free contemporary ethics lecture series and the free, twice weekly evidence-based SAIL fall prevention program; and

• Advertise center options and promote Hyde Shuttle as a free transportation option, update organizational software, Active Net, to ask appropriate and relevant customer questions to gather data required as part of a grant award.

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