New Westminster MLA makes a grand donation to seniors

A New Westminster-based society will be expanding its offerings to vulnerable seniors thanks to the provincial government.

The Seniors Services Society hosted the Grand Parade fundraising walk in New West on Saturday, with the goal of raising $25,000 to help support temporary housing needs, outreach and housing-navigation services for seniors who are homeless and at-risk of homelessness. New Westminster MLA Judy Darcy attended the fundraiser and announced $500,000 in provincial funding that will help the society to link vulnerable seniors to vital mental health and addictions services, by expanding its existing programs and partnerships.

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"This funding gave us a big boost to strengthen our core services and expand our reach so that we can serve more seniors in our communities," Kyoko Takahashi, operations manager for Seniors Services Society, said in a press release. "We look forward to forging meaningful partnerships with other agencies to promote these initiatives."

According to a press release from the province, the funding will help the society to promote mental health and addictions services to work alongside its existing seniors' programs, including in private residences, seniors' centres and in shelters. It will also help build online resources that make it easier for B.C.'s aging population to connect to the services they need.

"More and more seniors are struggling alone. They often live in isolation, without social connection, with limited mobility and don't know where to turn for help," said Darcy, the province’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. "This funding will support Seniors Services Society to create bridges between vulnerable seniors and the vital mental health and addictions services that they need – here in New Westminster and across the province."

Seniors Services Society is the only agency in Metro Vancouver that works exclusively with homeless and at-risk seniors. It works in partnership with all levels of government, community organizations and local businesses to provide a place of safety and support to seniors struggling with poverty, isolation and homelessness.

"Seniors Services Society has helped me on and off for about seven years. Because of their help, I now have a home and the support I need,” client Wendy Palidwor said in the press release. “I feel that more mental health and addictions outreach workers and supports for seniors will be helpful, as they made a big difference for me."

The society, located on Carnarvon Street in downtown New Westminster, provides a variety of programs and services for adults aged 60 and up, including Meals on Wheels, grocery shopping, medical transport, support calls, outings, and form and tax completion. For more information on the Senior Services Society, go to www.seniorsservicessociety.ca.

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