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Age Friendly Seattle 2020 Annual Report

The Seattle Human Services Department is pleased to present Age Friendly Seattle’s 2020 Annual Report, highlighting accomplishments from the past year. In addition, please read Age Friendly Seattle program manager Brent Butler’s article in the March issue of AgeWise, the monthly e-zine published by the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services, “Age Friendly Seattle Increases Access and Inclusion Despite COVID.”

What a Year! Thank you.

As 2020 comes to a close, I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and as well as one can be in what has surely been one of the more challenging years we have faced as a department. Back in January, we already knew that “change” would be a theme this year. One of the city’s top priorities for the year was to help stand-up and launch the new King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA). For HSD, this included transitioning our Homeless Strategy and Investment division staff and contracts to a co-location space with their County peers, followed by CEO on-boarding and development of a staffing plan. While that work has been underway all year, little did we know at the start of 2020 that a global pandemic like nothing seen in at least a century was already underway. Not only did that slow the progress of this work, it lead to most employees shifting to work from home, being reassigned, and changing work plans. Plus significant impacts to our economy and unimaginable changes to how each of us conduct our daily lives. With homelessness response transitioning to the KCRHA, our department planned to spend much of the year redefining how it exists within the human services space. HSD planned to work with staff, service providers, and clients to co-create a roadmap for the future. This work launched in February – during Black History Month – with an understanding that race and social justice should underpin everything that we were going to talk about. The public health crisis forced us to pause that work almost immediately. Little did we know the paradigm shift coming in the summer as the support for Black Lives Matter took on new meaning for our general society and millions more people “awoke” to the understanding that it’s time to rethink how we spend our tax dollars and how our governments respond to the needs of the community. HSD staff and our community partners have been a part of the front-line response to COVID-19, pivoting programs and rising to the many challenges to help those most in need. I am deeply proud of the work we have accomplished together during this crisis. Our mission “to connect people with resources and solutions during times of need so we can all live, learn, work, and take part in strong, healthy communities” took on a much greater sense of urgency in 2020, even as we managed our ongoing work.

Legacy of Love: A Virtual Forum for African American Caregivers and Others

Are you a caregiver? If so, you are welcome to join Legacy of Love, an online forum on Saturday, Nov. 14, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. While focused on African American caregivers, the event is open to anyone who provides special care for an elder.

City of Seattle’s Mobile Integrated Health Partnership Wins National Award

On September 22, Aging and Disability Services, a division of the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD), received a 2020 n4a Aging Innovation Award from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) for their involvement in the City of Seattle’s Mobile Integrated Health partnership. The award was presented on the second day of the n4a’s four-day virtual national 2020 conference.

Age Friendly Seattle Virtual Events

Age Friendly Seattle virtual events—Civic Coffee Hours and a new series, Close to Home: Stories of Health, Tech and Resilience—offer older adults in the greater Seattle area a weekly opportunity to stay connected. You’ll learn how local government, nonprofit organizations, and community members cope with the “new normal” of COVID-19 and a wealth of other topics. Join us to get this valuable information, ask questions, and get answers!

Video Update: Food Access Programs Help Older Adults and People Experiencing Homelessness

COVID-19 has left 1.6 million people in Washington state struggling to put food on the table. The need is especially high in parts of Seattle and South King County. For many communities facing food insecurity, their situation has been made even more challenging with meal and food bank programs impacted… [ Keep reading ]

Seattle Human Services Partners with Providers to Maintain Support

For many communities facing food insecurity, COVID-19 has made a challenging situation even more difficult with meal and food bank programs impacted by the crisis. A number of food banks have reduced hours or their volunteers are not able to come in to help like they did before. Other programs face shortages of food resources. To meet this growing need in Seattle and surrounding communities, the City of Seattle partnered with the National Guard at the request of service providers. Locally, the National Guard has stepped up to fill gaps in our food network by offering the assistance of hundreds of members in Food Lifeline‘s SODO distribution center and at several food banks in the region. Even with all of these helping hands, some of our smaller community-based programs struggle to keep up with their usual activities, not to mention the increased demands brought on by this public health emergency. After re-deploying staff to support shifts in the City’s de-intensifying shelters at Miller and Garfield community centers, and working to open additional shelter capacity around the city, the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) has been working to find ways to ensure these important food programs can also continue to operate. This month, we began re-deploying HSD employees to support shifts ranging from food preparation and cooking, to assembling bags and packaging meals, to line management and delivering food directly to vulnerable clients in their homes. Some of our staff who are vulnerable themselves are taking on administrative tasks that can be completed remotely from their homes. We gathered photos and reflections from some of their recent work with South Park Senior Center’s senior meal program…

City of Seattle Invests More than $7 million in Food Access Programs for Older Adults and People Experiencing Homelessness

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced that the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) will invest more than $7 million in assistance to local programs that support food access and nutrition for older adults and people experiencing homelessness throughout Seattle and King County. This funding is made possible by federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act. These funds provide additional support for a variety of programs, including meal delivery to older adults and meals in shelters serving people experiencing homelessness. HSD’s Aging and Disability Services will expand existing food delivery programs and shift to a home delivery program model to facilitate appropriate physical distancing and meet older residents where they are. These home deliveries to particularly vulnerable individuals can serve as wellness checks while maintaining physical distance. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity issues that impact some of our most vulnerable residents, including older adults and people experiencing homelessness. At the City, we need to do everything we can to help vulnerable communities access healthy and affordable meals,” said Mayor Durkan. “The incredible agencies the City of Seattle partners with are committed to meeting the food needs of our community members and closing the gaps in food access. I’m grateful for these agencies and their staff for their work to serve some of Seattle’s most vulnerable communities.”

Following Local Health Directive, City of Seattle Will Provide Face Masks to Vulnerable Communities and Agencies

Following Public Health – Seattle & King County’s local health directive, the City of Seattle will provide over 45,000 free cloth face coverings to vulnerable communities and agencies that support these communities, including people experiencing homelessness, shelter providers and clients, low-income older adults, and food bank staff. Throughout this COVID-19 crisis, the City and King County have made it a priority to bring supplies to nearly 30 human services agencies, including critically needed items like surgical masks, N95 masks, gowns, face shields soap, gloves, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, and clothing. Today’s announcement of new supplies builds on these efforts, following updated public health guidance that instructs all residents to wear face coverings in indoor public settings and outdoors where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

COVID-19 & Seattle Human Services’ Mission: To connect people with resources and solutions during times of need

Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department continues to live out its mission: To connect people with resources and solutions during times of need so we can all live, learn, work, and take part in strong, healthy communities. The work the department does has changed dramatically, with many employees stepping up to meet new challenges, volunteering, and working long hours. Here is a recap of what the team has been up to.