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Seattle and King County Make Major Investments in Senior Centers

In August and September, both King County and the City of Seattle made major investments in community-based services for older people, recognizing significant growth of our aging population.

In August, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced nearly $3.5 million in awards to organizations serving older adults throughout King County. The investments will enhance senior center and community center facilities and programs serving older adults and improve outreach and accessibility for underserved or isolated older adults. The funds will make facilities safer and more accessible, and purchase equipment and appliances. This was made possible by the voter-approved Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy.

“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 Executive Constantine. “Senior centers do more than connect people with resources—they keep people connected to one another. That is why our first major investment by the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy will help nearly 40 senior centers located throughout our region.”

In September, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced $1.7 million in awards for senior centers that contribute to the health, well-being, and independence of Seattle’s older adults. These awards were made possible by the City of Seattle’s General Fund.

County Executive Dow Constantine visits the Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank, one of the 38 centers to receive Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy funding.

“As our City grows less affordable, we must continue to invest in our most vulnerable residents, including our senior community,” said Mayor Durkan in visits to Lake City/Northgate Senior Center and the International Drop-In Center (IDIC) on Beacon Hill. “Our older neighbors are an asset to our community and a vital part of the fabric of our neighborhoods. Our senior centers provide opportunities for volunteerism, lifelong learning, transportation, and healthy meals. These investments will help our neighbors live longer and enhance their quality of life.”

Thirty-eight nonprofit centers will receive King County awards ranging from $20,000 to $130,000, including:

  • Asian Counseling and Referral Service Senior Center
  • Auburn Senior Activity Center
  • Ballard NW Senior Center
  • Black Diamond Community Center
  • City of Burien Senior Program
  • Central Area Senior Center
  • CISC
  • Des Moines Normandy Park
  • El Centro de la Raza
  • Federal Way Community Center
  • Greenwood Senior Center
  • Greater Maple Valley
  • International Drop-In Center
  • Issaquah Senior Center
  • Peter Kirk Community Center
  • Lake City Seniors
  • Mt. Si Senior Center
  • North East Seattle Together (NEST)
  • Northshore Senior Center
  • Pacific Asian Empowerment Program
  • Pacific Senior Center
  • Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank
  • Redmond Senior Center
  • Renton Senior Activity Center
  • SeaTac Senior Program
  • Senior Center of West Seattle
  • Shoreline Lake Forest Park Senior Center
  • Sno-Valley Senior Center
  • Sound Generations
  • South Park Senior Center
  • Southeast Seattle Senior Foundation—Brighton Village
  • Southeast Seattle Senior Center
  • Tukwila Community Center
  • Ukrainian Community Center of Washington
  • United Indians of All Tribes Foundation Native Elder Program
  • Vashon-Maury Senior Center
  • Wallingford Community Senior Center

Twelve nonprofit centers across Seattle will receive awards ranging from $67,000 to $180,000 in 2019, including:

  • Asian Counseling and Referral Service
  • Ballard NW Senior Center
  • Central Area Senior Center
  • CISC
  • Greenwood Senior Center
  • International Drop-In Center
  • Lake City/Northgate
  • Pike Market Senior Center
  • Senior Center of West Seattle
  • South Park Senior Center
  • Southeast Seattle Senior Center
  • Wallingford Community Senior Center

“Seattle Human Services Department has developed a results-driven investment model that helps ensure that the department’s work is making a real difference in the lives of vulnerable people, addressing community disparities, and investing in what works,” said Human Services Department interim director Jason Johnson. “These centers provide high-quality, cost-effective programs. They reach out to older people who may be socially or culturally isolated and they build a real sense of community.”

The Seattle Human Services Department recommended the senior center awards from the City’s General Fund. Aging and Disability Services—a division of Seattle Human Services—reviewed center proposals and made final decisions based on recommendations from a community-based review committee, the geographic location of the center, and the opportunity to serve populations with higher health disparities and/or lower social and emotional support, particularly Hispanic/Latinx and Black/African American older adults.

Several studies show the connection between social engagement, quality of life, and longevity. AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect lists numerous risk factors for older adults, including diminishing social networks, fewer transportation options, changing roles, and living alone. Social and civic participation and community support are among the goals of the City of Seattle’s Age Friendly Seattle action plan.

Kenmore Mayor David Baker, who serves on the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services, summed it up well, saying, “Older adults across King County built the prosperous region that we enjoy today. Our region’s continued vitality depends upon our ability to keep our seniors involved in the communities they built. These investments are an essential first step in honoring that obligation.”

For senior center locations nearest you, more information about local programs and services for older adults, or answers to questions about aging or disability issues, call Community Living Connections toll-free at 844-348-5464.

The photo at top was taken during Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s visit to the IDIC on September 7, 2018. For more information about current and future King County Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy funding opportunities, click here.