Saturday, January 23, 2021     Volume: 21, Issue: 47
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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on January 13th, 2021, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 46 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 21, Issue 46

County puts funding toward meal deliveries for seniors

By Kasey Bubnash

Santa Barbara County is offering about two months’ worth of emergency funding to several local organizations that are providing daily meal and grocery delivery services to low-income, isolated seniors who have been particularly impacted by the pandemic. 

At a meeting on Jan. 12, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to allocate $200,000 of emergency funding to the Department of Social Services for distribution among organizations working to help isolated seniors amid the COVID-19 emergency. The county funding, according to staff, should help organizations that are short on money continue providing needed services to seniors until more federal stimulus relief makes its way to the county. 

Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara County Executive Director Lisa Brabo spoke during the Dec. 15, 2020, Board of Supervisors meeting, saying her organization teamed up with several others in the county early on in the pandemic to launch the Isolated Seniors Project. 

“This is a grassroots effort, community by community, to identify and assist isolated seniors during COVID,” Brabo said at the meeting.


SUPPORT
At a meeting on Jan. 12, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to allocate $200,000 of emergency funding to the Department of Social Services for distribution among organizations working to help isolated seniors amid the COVID-19 emergency.
FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM

Through countywide outreach efforts, the Family Service Agency and its collaborators, including the Area Agency on Aging and the Center for Successful Aging, found that seniors were struggling to cook for themselves and obtain groceries, that they needed safe transportation to medical appointments, and that they lacked essential safety equipment, like cleaning supplies, masks, and gloves. Nonprofits throughout the county teamed up to provide grocery deliveries, transportation services, counseling, and hot meal deliveries five times a week. 

“Over 1,200 isolated older adults have received help through this collaboration,” Brabo said. “Of these, about 76 percent have not received services before. Private funders have stepped forward and provided a total of $305,000 to support this additional basic needs help during COVID. However, federal stimulus funds have been supporting the costs of the additional home delivered meals needed by isolated seniors, and unfortunately these funds are running out.” 

Joyce Ellen Lippman, executive director of the Area Agency on Aging, said on Dec. 15 that her organization has put about $1.2 million in federal coronavirus relief funding toward providing meal deliveries to seniors in the county, but without another stimulus package or help from the county, those deliveries would be difficult to continue. The federal government approved a $900 billion stimulus bill shortly after the Dec. 15 meeting, but county staff say it’s still unclear when that will be distributed. 

Santa Barbara County Social Services Director Daniel Nielson said at the Jan. 12 Board of Supervisors meeting that after making contact with 11 organizations proving meals to low-income seniors, Social Services identified four providers in need of financial support to continue serving a total of 360 seniors. The programs, he said, would need about $77,085 a month to continue current operations. 

According to staff, this issue will likely be discussed again at a board meeting in about two months, once the $200,000 in county funding is estimated to be used up.










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