CLC’S Chinese Language Computer Students once again shined in this celebration of culture and community.
If you are an older adult or an adult with a disability, getting around San Francisco can be challenging. In addition to the physical barriers of transit such as limited seating, long walks between stops, complicated transfers, and inaccessible stations and stops, the costs of moving from place to place can also pose financial barriers.
As they navigate daily activity, many older adults and adults with disabilities are faced with limited options and difficult choices. Should I go to see my doctor today or should I wait? How am I going to manage bags of groceries on the bus?
To connect low-income older adults and adults with disabilities in San Francisco with free or low-cost transportation options, Community Living Campaign launched a first-of-its-kind partnership with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). By paying the $12/month rider contribution of SFMTA’s new low-cost taxi program (Essential Trip Card), CLC has been able to offer FREE taxi rides to seniors and people with disabilities. The program has grown to include subsidies for Paratransit taxi and van users.
The Essential Trip Card Subsidy Program is working.
Since the it began in 2020, CLC has awarded 1207 subsidies to 183 residents, giving them free rides to medical appointments, grocery stores, and other vital services.
- 94% of the program participants are over 60
- 59% report having a disability
To date, ALL of the program participants have used trips to access health services. In fact, 58% reported that health care services were their most frequent trip designation. 97% reported that the free trips helped them to access healthy food. 91% said that the program helped them interact with others more often, especially to stay connected with family and friends.
The bottom line is that the subsidies are leading to better health outcomes through free and reliable transportation options. In addition, program participants also report experiencing less isolation and loneliness.
What participants are saying?
“[The program] helped ease the expense of visiting my husband in a nursing home located across the city…”
“[Without Essential Trip Card Program] it will be hard for me to get my groceries in one trip.”
“[It] helped me keep in touch with friends who were physically unable to leave residence/care facilities, enabling me to visit them easily.”
“The financial support provides a stable and trusted amount every month. It’s one less thing to worry about…and makes a difference in my finances.”
“There is not much left over in my budget for things like taxis. This…makes a huge difference in my life.”
Harvey Castro lead a spirit workshop at Ruth’s Table followed by a walk around the Mission to capture some of the images on cell phones or tablets, followed by a session upon their return on how to share the photos with others. This is such a fun idea that we are planning another session in other neighborhoods, including a Photowalk in the Chinese community. Stay tuned to our newsletter for. more information.
One of the earliest contributors to the Community Living Campaign was Judy Auda, who passed away on May 25 after a long struggle following a major stroke. We want to celebrate her works with us and with a number of community organizations along the way. For CLC, she helped ran our first computer training program, developed our annual events, created the Seeds of Hope Garden party journey, and organized several City Hall events for us with support from the Dept. of Disability and Aging, including the Alzeheimers and Dementia Summit, the Health Aging Summit, and the Aging and Disability and Technology Summit. Plus so many fun activities and adventures along the way. There were civic events that she helped organize and some mementos are included in the slide show below. Judy was always a kid at heart and was gifted in terms of thinking up fun community events for kids young and old. Think of the fun event with balloons, the “belly laugh”, and kites flown from hilltops across the city. She organized 49 Night at the SF Zoo, the 50 year anniversary at Fort Mason and it USO club. She helped organize the Golden Gate Bride Centennial with a special plaza to mark the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. And because we wanted to be fun like Judy, we stood on street corners across the City and all sang the San Francisco song that Jeanette MacDonald made famous at the appointed time. And oh yes, there was the Pacific Ha, an organized minute of laughter that stretched the length of the West Coast. Her imagination and attention to detail made her our pied piper for community engagement and we’re not sure what we will do without her.
Staff writers Mary Hunt and Judy Goddess wanted to write about in-home caregiving in part because they and their friends are of the age when the need is a present or near-future reality. And they figured it’s better to learn to navigate the system when you’re in better health than not.
Once they started to explore, Goddess said, it suddenly seemed as though every middle-aged and older person is giving or receiving care or has a caregiver story. Often, they involve children or spouses trying to convince a frail senior that they need care. Or they’re about seniors or their families struggling to find a reliable, competent caregiver whose personality and skills suit the recipient. Just as importantly, they’re about figuring how to pay for that care.
As of 2020, there were 2.3 million home care workers in the United States, according to April Verrett, president of SEIU Local 2015 in California, the nation’s largest long-term-care union. And if we are to meet the needs of our aging population, she wrote in TIME magazine, we’ll need another 1.2 million by 2028. Yet, even now, there are not enough caregivers to meet the needs.
Their efforts to look into the world of in-home care produced a series of stories we’ll be releasing over the next several days, along with resources for readers. You can subscribe to San Francisco Senior Beat (see the top of our website) to get email notices when new stories are published, or follow us on Facebook, or follow this guide to know when to check our site for our caregiving stories.
Wednesday, May 4: High costs and dearth of financial assistance programs for middle-income seniors leave them in the lurch when help at home is needed. The Rev. Eileen Kinney is one of the many Americans, those of middle-income, for whom costly in-home care is unaffordable. She began having trouble with basic tasks like cleaning and cooking when her neuropathy worsened. But not being wealthy enough to hire care, nor poor, which would have qualified for in-home care through Medi-Cal, she had nowhere to turn – until she was able to get into one of the rare programs that offer financial help for seniors in the middle-income gap.
Friday, May 6: ‘I’m too young to need a walker!’ A fall and fracture jolt an independent life in a comfy Stonestown apartment. Mary Hunt didn’t think of herself as old at the age of 76. Even when she broke her wrist in a fall, she didn’t see the need to hire a caregiver. She lived alone but had friends around and a sister in Daly City. Her daughter lives in Georgia. Having some stranger come in felt like an intrusion.
Sunday, May 8: Tending to aging seniors in their homes a necessary and noble occupation, but undervalued – and physically and emotionally challenging: Debbie Gilli had always loved being around her grandmother and her in-laws. She simply liked older people. It wasn’t much of a stretch to become a caregiver. Anna Kivalu likes the look into other lived worlds she gets when helping clients. Lourdes Dobarganes gets clients to salsa dance with her to strengthen their balance and keep them moving. She’s also been known to have them hug trees for a positive energy experience. They have few complaints about their work, but would like to make more money and have benefits like overtime, sick time or workers compensation. Those obstacles are barriers to the supply of caregivers keeping up with the demand for their services.
Tuesday, May 10: Family members make up majority of in-home caregivers due to help’s high cost, taking on all-consuming, sometimes overwhelming role. The high cost of in-home caregiving has led many families to take on the burden themselves. In fact, the vast majority of caregivers serving Medi-Cal clients in San Francisco – hired through the city’s In-Home Supportive Services program – are family members. While most become members of the caregivers union and make slightly more than minimum wage, it is still an all-consuming, physically exhausting and sometimes maddening job.
Thursday, May 12: Neighborhood and ‘village’ networks help seniors who live near one another as aging makes daily tasks more difficult. Within eight years, a third of San Franciscans will be 60 or older, and according to various studies about a third will live alone. In 2020, that would have been about 54,000 seniors. The ones who have no family, or none that live nearby, are turning to neighbors to form support networks for help with everyday tasks they’re having trouble with – getting to a doctor’s appointment, shopping for groceries, changing a lightbulb –temporarily or long term. Some of these neighborhood networks are informal; others involve low-cost memberships that offer support as well as activities.
For yet another year, and perhaps a year when needed most, the communities gathered in the Bayview, OMI, and at the City College Parking lot to distribute more than 5,600 turkeys and bags of groceries to seniors and families across their communities. The events in the OMI, Bayview, and Park Merced on December 8 were organized by the CLC Food Networks, lead by Deb Glen and Chester Williams, with great support for turkeys and fixing from Glide. The CLC teams have been meeting weekly throughout the pandemic without missing a beat to bring healthy food and staples to over 230 households with older adults and adults with disabilities. The Feeding 5000 event at the City College parking lot was organized by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) in partnership with the San Francisco African American Faith-Based Coalition and other local community-based organizations hosted a holiday giveaway event called “Feeding 5000” on December 11 via a drive-through service at City College of San Francisco with strict COVID-19 safety procedures in place.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in four San Francisco residents were at risk of hunger due to income shortage. With an increased number of residents out of work, the number of people struggling to afford enough nutritious food is also increasing and the City’s nonprofit partners have reported a surge in demand for food. In this effort, SFDPH is joined by
This collaborative effort
The sixth annual Good Neighbor Award Event brought us together to celebrate the kindness and good work of some special neighbors. If you missed the event or just want to relive, you can view the video of Good Neighbor Summer activities , meet the first round of honorees and the second round of honorees. Or gosh, just sit back and view the event in it entirety.
September was Latino Heritage Month and Community Connectors Nicky Trasvina and Olivia Franco helped assemble some great opportunities for us to learn and enjoy Latino culture.
The month included a curated visit to one of Diego Rivera’s murals
Then Aztec dancers
This dynamic team brought us into their kitchens to prepare some tasty treats – here is a sample – come back soon for highlights of this enjoyable program.
You can enjoy their handwork in the kitchen with a video here. And by request, here are their LATINO HERITAGE RECIPES.
And as an extra treat, see Nicky in her kitchen preparing her special Guacamole recipe.
And everyone enjoyed a prize-laden game of Loteria. Thanks Nicky, Olivia and tech back-up Jennifer for bringing this program to the Community Living Campaign.
Good weather and good friends inspired several journeys in over the past month.
Ten CLC participants/SF Giants fans attended the San Diego/SF Giants game on a beautiful day , Thursday, Sept 16, 2021. Everyone had so much fun. We enjoyed the day and received all kinds of positive feedback by text, email and VM saying “the only thing that could have made it better would have been if the Giants had won!”
The CLC Board of Directors approved a strong statement on our commitment to Diversity, Equity, Including and Belonging to guide the continuing efforts of our DEIB Task Force in implementing a focused list of recommendations. More information to follow, but we wanted to share the statement as soon as possible, included below.
DEIB Initiative Leadership Statement Adopted by the CLC Board of Directors July 27, 2021
We believe that developing a workplace and leadership structure that is representative and inclusive of race, ability, age, language, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and religion is critical to accomplishing our organizational mission and addressing the injurious effects of systemic power and privilege. We believe that when we better reflect the communities we serve, our ability to identify and understand the needs of those communities grows, and our work has a greater impact.
We strive to empower those who experience systemic and historic oppression by building workplace norms and practices that aim to treat everyone equitably by encouraging everyone to contribute their ideas, perspectives, and opinions, paying particular attention to how privilege has historically been given, and how that history provides advantage to some groups and individuals over others.
We acknowledge that social identities impact the way people communicate, whose opinions are respected, and who struggles with misconceptions, judgments, or preconceived notions. We work to foster a welcoming and collaborative environment where those who may otherwise be silenced are included and respected, so that they can bring their best skills and talent to their work, feel fulfilled and feel unified as a team, knowing that together, we have more impact.
We are committed to fostering an open and trusting workplace culture, where biases and stereotypes are discussed and challenged using shared norms and language and everyone feels clearly aligned with CLC’s values, mission, and commitment to equity, fairness, and racial justice.