SESSC Social Worker Appeal – We Need Your Help!
You might have read in the Seattle Times or heard on the news last summer in July that the United Way of King County (UWKC) changed their focus to breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness. While this is a noble cause, it was done by redirecting funds that were used in the past to serve the seniors in our community.
As a result, the funding UWKC historically gave to Sound Generations, formerly known as Senior Services, was significantly reduced from $800,000.00 to $100,000.00. This drastic reduction in funding came as a surprise to Sound Generations, who is our partner and who helps us serve and meet the needs of seniors in our community and surrounding neighborhoods.
Efforts to find other sources of funding and revenue, have fallen short. While our ability to provide activities that seniors enjoy has been greatly affected, our ability to provide direct services and help to seniors through our social worker has been negatively impacted the most. As of April 1, 2017 our social worker’s hours will be reduced from 32 hours to 12 hours a week. Our center has committed to providing 20 hours a week in order to provide the critical social work services provided by our social worker. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO RESTORE OUR SOCIAL WORK HOURS BACK TO 32 HOURS PER WEEK!
Allow me to introduce our social worker, Jaime Clark. She is the Southeast Seattle Senior Center’s face and point person who meets with seniors seeking answers to inquiries they might have or helping them with challenges they face. Her assistance comes in many forms, both tangible and intangible. Completing applications, paying utility bills, referrals, housing assistance, handling grief, depression, loneliness and dealing with memory loss are just a few of the many ways she assists and serves seniors in need.
Here are just a few stories of people to paint a picture for you of how she directly helps seniors in need:
Story #1 – “Charlene” was recently diagnosed with dementia. As a result, she was told she could no longer drive and might need additional long term care. With Jaime’s help, she was able to complete the necessary forms to apply for Home and Community Services and to tour assisted living facilities.
Story #2 –“Carol” came to see Jaime to discuss her end of life wishes. “Carol” shared that she visits a friend who lives in a nursing home who is unable to communicate and function, and she stated she did not want this. “Carol” told Jaime she was worried because she had no family or friends that she felt could be her “health care agent.” Jaime worked with her to complete her living will where she wrote out her wishes for her end of life care. She felt relieved to get this done. “Carol” also expressed concern about not having a financial will. Jaime scheduled an appointment for “Carol” to meet with the Elder Law Clinic and they were able to help her produce a will for low income seniors at no cost.
Story #3 – At nearly 90 years of age, “Deborah” didn’t imagine she would be homeless. After a complicated year involving loss and legal battles, she had to look for temporary housing. She met with Jaime to determine her options. Jaime found a few agencies that helped “Deborah” pay for a hotel until a more permanent solution could be found. With Jaime’s help, “Deborah” is currently looking into assisted living and low income housing. For many seniors who are homeless and without family or friends, it can be a bleak situation with a lot of gaps in the system.
Story #4 – After several months of apartment searching, “Albert”, who has Multiple Sclerosis, came the Center to meet with Jaime. “Albert” shared that he needed to find more affordable housing by the end of the summer. With a tight deadline and needing an ADA unit, Jaime referred him to the Roads to Community Living program for help. He met with Jaime weekly for a few months and worked with the Roads to Community Living Case manager to visit housing prospects. When “Albert” finally found a new apartment, he told her that he was excited about living in a new neighborhood with new neighbors.
Story #5 – After living in Texas for a few years, “Darla” returned to her home state of Washington. Upon her return, she struggled with getting her food and health benefits changed over. When she arrived at the SESSC to meet with Jaime, she felt overwhelmed and completely stressed, not knowing which direction she should go. She also shared that she is dealing with several health conditions, which causes bouts of nausea and fainting. As a disabled senior with a very small annual income, she stated she has several expenses that her income barely covers. Jaime helped “Darla” transfer her health and food assistance to Washington State and to utilize the Hyde Shuttle, which is an invaluable free transportation service for seniors. “Darla” also enjoys eating lunch at the SESSC. When she lived in Texas, she rarely left her apartment. Now, by way of the activities at the SESSC, she has made a commitment to get out more.
Story #6 – Currently homeless due to a fire and recent unemployment, “Sam” told Jaime that he is currently staying at a shelter and is in need of additional medical help. Although he has Medicare, he still needed help paying the premiums and additional insurance. After working Jaime on his DSHS application, “Sam” received confirmation that he is now enrolled in the QMB program and Washington Apple Health. The QMB program will cover all the Medicare premiums and Washington Apple Health will provide coverage over what Medicare doesn’t cover, such as dental and mental health care. “Sam” also told Jaime that after losing his apartment and being unable to find a job, he has also been battling with depression. With his new health care coverage, Jaime encouraged him to seek counseling and therapy resources. He is grateful to have the extra benefits.
Although these stories might seem small or insignificant to the average person, you know that they are not. The help that we provide to the people who desperately need our services made a difference in their lives. You can make a difference in the lives of many who need these services. Together, we can take the necessary measures to ensure that we are able to assist seniors with the activities and services they need to lead productive lives and to thrive.
We need your help to help them. Our mission statement at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center is to
“Enhance the emotional, social, and physical well-being of Boomers and Beyond”
We need to raise $35,000.00 to help us continue to provide direct assistance to seniors through the services they can receive from our social worker, Jaime Clark.
We hope that we can count on you to help seniors who need social work services. Please make a monetary donation to help us help them. If not YOU, then who? Thank you for your donation.