City council commits to boost in Island Senior Resources funding

Though an attic fire at Senior Thrift in July caused a significant setback for Island Senior Resources, the organization received a small boost from the city of Langley this week.

The Langley City Council committed to increasing the city’s funding for Island Senior Resources from $7,500 to $10,000 at its regular monthly meeting on Monday. The increase is not yet official, as the money must come from the 2017-2018 budget, but Island Senior Resources Executive Director Cheryn Weiser said the “small” bit of funding will go a long way.

The city’s money is used for the Aging and Disability Resource Program, which helps seniors remain independent while also delivering assistance and advocacy when needed.

“In my world, this is the program that’s most important in everything we do,” Weiser said. “…It’s just a critical, critical service.”

Langley Mayor Tim Callison said the city should have no problem in accommodating the increase during its budgeting process.

“I think they just do an outstanding job and I was very pleased we were able to boost our contract amount for next year,” Callison said.

The mayor said the organization directly benefits Langley’s senior citizens. About 65 percent of the citizens who live in Langley are over the age of 65, according to Weiser.

“The program they’re helping fund is really a way to help people help themselves and stay independent,” she said.

The increase in funding comes at an important time for Island Senior Resources. The demand for information about resources and advocacy on behalf of specific senior issues is higher than any previous year, Weiser said.

“Often we see a slow down in the summer and that has not been the case in 2017,” Weiser said. “The trend continues.”

Weiser added that the city’s contributions help offset the fact that Island Senior Resources receives “flat” funding from the federal government, meaning allocated monies do not rise with inflation. The $1.7 million in funding makes up 54 percent of the organization’s budget and covers things such as the Cam-Bey Senior Apartments in Coupeville. Making matters worse, senior service centers are expected to receive fewer monies from United Way, which is making cutbacks.

United Way, a non-profit support organization, is funding just one more year of Meals on Wheels, Weiser said; Meals on Wheels delivers healthy meals to the homes of senior citizens.

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