City to help seniors with grand funds from ‘hub’ arrangement

Mayor Nancy Backus

Mayor Nancy Backus

King County’s senior citizens 55 and up have a wealth of resources and services to tap into.

But figuring out how to get to those resources and services can be a brain bender.

Especially for people in crisis.

Which was why in August, King County informed South King County Senior Centers and Resources – a new partnership between the Auburn and Pacific senior centers and the Federal Way Senior Center Food Bank – that it would receive $1.52 million in grant funds over the next 4½ years to create a “hub” for aging services and provide support and outreach.

And why the Auburn City Council last week authorized Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus to negotiate an agreement with the county to accept and spend $109,000 the city itself will receive to help the community’s seniors.

Council member Larry Brown said the program will benefit Auburn residents by providing funds for low-income scholarships, outreach services and individualized resource guidance.

Backus credited Radine Lozier, director of the Auburn Senior Activities Center, and Kaylin Brady, the city’s public information officer, for making it happen.

“The burden of applying for this grant was rather onerous,” Backus said, “and unfortunately, even the requirements changed a few times during that process. But our team did an amazing job of putting together a very, very comprehensive application for that grant, which is obvious by the amount that we received for benefitting our seniors in the community.”

The SKCSCR was one of 28 senior centers throughout the region that competed for a share of the total $19.4 million provided by the 2017 voter-approved, expanded Veterans, Seniors and Human Services levy, which for the first time, includes dollars dedicated specifically to older adults and their caregivers. The centers will use their awards to form 14 hubs for targeted senior services.

The SKCSCR had asked for $2.8 million, but its members were ecstatic to receive $1.5 million.

“We’re a little cautious because we have to figure out how to cut $1.3 million of our plan,” Lozier aaid in August, “so right now, we are looking at all the different figures, and trying to prioritize what we put in the plan. Our main focus was to hire people to help our seniors navigate the system, and personally walk people through it so that they get the services that are already available to them that they just can’t figure out how to access.”

But the partnership is also looking at transportation, getting seniors to doctors appointments, getting them to the grocery store, getting them wherever they need to go.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said the investments will focus on reaching seniors and their caregivers, who have not traditionally benefited from the existing network of senior centers in the county.

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