Seattle Human Services Department Supports Age Friendly Community Projects

White ball with the word Innovation in red letters written on it. Other letters surround it in black:

The City of Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) has announced recipients of its initial set of Innovation Fund awards. The Innovation Fund was established in 2017 to test new ideas or programs that focus on achieving results and racial equity. This fund made available $225,000 for new ideas related to department impact areas—preparing youth for success, addressing homelessness, supporting affordability and livability, responding to gender-based violence, promoting public health, and promoting healthy aging.

As part of the City’s Age Friendly Seattle initiative, HSD designated $125,000 of the total Innovation Fund to support seven projects that advance healthy aging and align with Age Friendly Seattle goals. The balance of the Innovation Fund was awarded to projects advancing other HSD impact areas.

“We encouraged creativity, innovation, and risk taking so we can test new ideas and strengthen our capacity to meet community needs,” said HSD director Catherine Lester. “Our department will partner closely with the awardees and together learn what works.”

More than 100 applications were received, from which 22 finalists were chosen to participate in interviews. All proposals focused on reducing disparities for people of color, and nine organizations represented people of color. Half of the awardees were not funded by HSD previously.

HSD Innovation Fund: Age-friendly awards in 2017

  • API Chaya received $21,000 to help a group of queer, trans, people of color, parents, individuals with disabilities, and elders define safety and conduct public safety audits using SafetiPin, a family tracker and personal safety app. The findings will inform the City’s planning needs as well the app.
  • Eritrean Association of Greater Seattle received $20,178 to link Eritrean elders to youth in a setting that will support both demographics. Elders will receive a variety of culturally specific health and social services, and youth will hear and record their elders’ stories, creating a deep community bond.
  • Latino Community Fund of Washington State received $20,995 to create a space where Latino youth and older adults build community, share access to health services, and celebrate Latino culture through dance. A series of culturally relevant dance classes will be held twice a month at rotating community locations in South Seattle.
  • National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) received $20,000 to test the Korean and Vietnamese American communities’ readiness and cultural appropriateness of TCARE—Tailored Caregiver Assessment and Referral—model used by other communities to identify and help ease caregiver stress and depression.
  • Tilth Alliance received $21,000 for the Community Good Food Project, which offers community-led dinners and weekly deliveries of fresh produce to congregate meal kitchens in Southeast Seattle serving Latino, Ethiopian and Eritrean, and Laotian, Hmong, and Mien elders, reducing disparities in food access and nutrition.
  • The UW Health Promotion Research Center received $10,597 to identify culturally responsive ways to share information and promote early awareness and support for cognitive health and impairment in Asian Americans and Pacific Islander communities, where Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are underreported, likely due to stigma.
  • Women United received $11,230 to connect low-income women and women of color who are kinship caregivers to each other and to resources. Threads of Change sewing classes will help caregivers who are experiencing high physical and emotional stress mend themselves while learning to mend fabrics.

The mission of the Seattle Human Services Department is 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. For information about all 2017 Innovation Fund awards, click here.

Originally appeared on AgeWise King County (September 2017)