At the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD), we are committed to improving the quality of life for older adults in our community. That’s why we’re excited to announce four funding opportunities for agencies that share our vision and are passionate about supporting older adults in maintaining their independence and aging in place, while focusing on nutritious meals and culturally relevant food options.
HSD’s Aging and Disability Services (ADS) Division serves as the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for Seattle-King County and administers federal Older Americans Act (OAA) funds in partnership with local community organizations. The purpose of Older American’s Act-funded nutrition programs is to reduce hunger and food insecurity, encourage socialization of older individuals, promote health and well-being, and delay adverse health conditions.
These adverse health conditions can be exacerbated by the high cost of healthy food, access to healthy food, and social isolation—key factors in the social determinants of health (SDOH).
According to the USDA Economic Research Service, food purchased from a grocery store or supermarket was 13% higher in September 2022 than September 2021 and 8.5% higher at a restaurant, for the same time period. Food prices are predicted to increase between 3%-4% in 2023, which will make it harder for people with lower incomes to purchase healthy food.
Food banks are a critical resource in responding to food insecurity, however, they often lack culturally specific options for BIPOC communities. Food banks are becoming more responsive to the need to provide food that reflects the needs and preferences of the populations they are serving.
While food banks and meal programs offer nutritious foods for older people, accessing these resources is challenging. Transportation to food banks and meal programs is difficult as older people may not drive and the location of services may not be accessible by public transit. It is also challenging to carry food on public transit.
Access to nutritious food is one element of the SDOH that affects health and quality of life. Another key element is social and community context, the importance of relationships, interactions, and social support. In older adults, social isolation and loneliness are associated with dementia, premature death from all causes and higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. While health outcomes are impacted by feeling lonely, social interactions may improve the health and well-being in older adults.
To address this, HSD is proudly offering these four funding opportunities:
1) The 2023 Congregate Meals for Older Adults RFQ aims to fund agencies that provide a place where older adults receive a nutritionally balanced meal, socialize with their peers, receive information, and participate in activities to promote overall health and wellbeing. We have approximately $3,295,179 available through federal and local funds. We plan to fund proposals located throughout King County.
2) The Home-Delivered Meals Program RFQ focuses on providing nutritious meals to older adults who cannot leave their homes unassisted, cannot prepare meals for themselves, and lack a social support system to help them. Delivery of meals enables them to live independently. Meal drivers may be the sole social contact for meal recipients and may also report safety or unhealthy environmental concerns back to agencies who can then address issues. We have approximately $2,394,870 available through federal, state, and local funds. We plan to fund up to three proposals for Home-Delivered Meals. Applicants must provide meals throughout King County.
3) Multicultural Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Services RFP focuses on delivering technical assistance and support to congregate meal sites that serve older adults with unique cultural and linguistic needs. As nutrition experts, RDNs play a critical role by providing nutrition and food safety guidance to promote health, reduce risk, and manage diseases to improve and/or maintain health, independence, and quality of life. They can also help programs to develop menus and address language and cultural barriers. We have $160,000 available through federal and local funds, and we plan to fund one proposal that demonstrates the ability to work with diverse communities in Seattle and King County.
4) The 2023 Culturally Nourishing Foods for Older Adults RFP encourages agencies to invest in food and meals, food access, and social engagement for older adults. We have $630,430 available through local funds. Interested applicants are limited to one (1) proposal that addresses one or more of the following strategies:
- Food and meals – culturally nourishing groceries or meals that cannot be funded through other sources
- Food access – transportation to culturally nourishing food activities
- Social engagement – activities that promote older people connecting to each other and that center on culturally nourishing food (e.g., nutrition education, cooking classes, farm field trips, cultural celebrations, etc.)
Please note if you are a collaborative agency: Only the applicant identified as the lead should apply. HSD reserves the right to combine funds awarded through this RFP into other HSD contracts.
Initial awards for each of these funding opportunities will be made for the period of January 1, 2024 – December 31, 2024. While it is the City’s intention to renew agreements resulting from this funding opportunity on an annual basis through the 2027 program year, future funding will be contingent upon performance and funding availability.
These are open and competitive processes. If you’re an agency looking to make a positive impact on the lives of older adults in our community, we invite you to join us in our efforts. We will be hosting information sessions from March 7-10, with in person and virtual options.
For more information, specific session dates, and all RFQ/RFP materials, please visit HSD’s Funding Opportunities page: https://www.seattle.gov/humanservices/funding-and-reports/funding-opportunities. Completed application packets are due by 12:00 p.m. (Noon) PDT, on Wednesday, April 12, 2023. If you have any questions or require assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Angela Miyamoto, Funding Process Coordinator, at Angela.Miyamoto@seattle.gov.