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Marsha McLean: The city of Santa Clarita supports local seniors

Live from City Hall

Posted: December 17, 2009 10:18 p.m.
Updated: December 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Sometimes peopleare not aware of the level of support the city provides to the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, and I would like to explain how the city is involved.

I have personally spent a number of hours over the years at the local senior center, meeting one-on-one with seniors, visiting, volunteering and providing leadership, as have my colleagues on the City Council.

Members of the City Council and city staff are regularly involved in major fundraising activities that directly benefit local seniors, including supporting and serving on committees that organize events like the annual golf tournament; the annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner that raises money for Respite Day Care; and the annual Wine Auction that raises funds for the home-delivered meals program.

Seniors are an integral part of our community, and they should be cherished, respected and cared for by our community.

The city of Santa Clarita will continue to support our seniors with our time, our funding and our leadership. It should be noted, too, that because the local senior center is a Los Angeles County facility, seniors have the ability to contact local county representatives for help and service.

This year, the city has allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars that benefit seniors.

As part of the city's fiscal year 2009/10 budget, the Santa Clarita City Council allocated $673,000 to the Santa Clarita Committee on Aging (the senior center) for senior services administered by the SCV Committee on Aging.

This includes:

* $150,000 for senior transit-related support services that include: administering the "reduced fare program" for eligible, low-income Dial-a-Ride customers; providing taxi vouchers or urgent-need service when Dial-a-Ride is not in operation; coordinating services available to locations outside the Dial-a-Ride service area for Dial-a-Ride customers; providing updated emergency information cards that contain the emergency family contacts of senior center transit users; and providing referrals and information on transit programs to senior center clients.

* $175,000 ongoing, plus a one-time allocation of $50,000, for a total of $225,000 in fiscal year 2009/10 for recreational wellness programs for seniors.

These include exercise, dance and counseling classes, as well as safety programs, a video lending library, tax preparation assistance and support groups, to name a few.

* $48,000 for the Senior Access program, for seniors who may be looking for housing or who may have trouble filling out forms to obtain housing.

The program provides seniors with housing assessments and referrals, housing advocacy, forms completion assistance and financial and benefits counseling. In addition, consumer education seminars and peer counseling training seminars are conducted.

* $200,000 for the Handy Worker program, which provides free repair work to seniors' homes, as well as to some low- and moderate-income homeowners.

* $50,000 in additional transit subsidies for the Committee on Aging's discounted transit ticket program. Discounted transit tickets are provided to the Committee on Aging, which the committee in turn sells for 50 cents to seniors who meet federal Community Development Block Grant income guidelines.

Otherwise, seniors would be required to pay the full $2 fare to use the Dial-A-Ride services.

It should be noted $245,000 was provided several months ago for the senior center's ongoing facility expansion. The city provided the lion's share of the funding for this project, which increased the size of the main activity room and added additional meeting space.

I hope this provides clarification of our city's commitment to the senior center, and I look forward to a continued great relationship with one of our community's most valuable assets, our seniors.

Marsha McLean is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Live from City Hall" is provided by the city and appears Friday in The Signal.


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