City Awards Funding for Community Shuttles Program serving Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities

Seattle—The City of Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is investing $922,210 to Sound Generations for community based transportation services for older adults and people with disabilities in Seattle and South King County. The Community Shuttles program offers an affordable and accessible mobility option to link those who experience barriers to social participation to medical, social and community services. The community shuttles will play a critical role in closing transportation gaps in King County.

As part of the City’s Age-Friendly initiative and HSD’s commitment to support affordability and livability, this investment supports a larger proactive service system that promotes independence and choice for older adults and adults with disabilities. According to community engagement data from the 2016-2019 Area Plan on Aging for Seattle, transportation remains one of the top service needs despite a robust public transportation infrastructure in King County. Community shuttles serve customers who do not qualify for ADA services or need a higher level of assistance than ADA Paratransit agencies can provide. They also meet the transportation needs of older adults and adults with disabilities who have greater challenges using public transportation due cultural, language, or income barriers.

Sound Generation will execute the Community Shuttle program for the 2017-2019 biennium. Funding will allow for six shuttles to operate within Seattle, and a seventh to serve either Seattle or Tukwila.



City Awards Funding Dedicated to Kinship Caregivers

SEATTLE—The City of Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is investing $191,500 in Kinship Caregiver Support Program (KCSP) to help people caring for their relatives. The Kinship Navigator, Kinship Collaboration Coordinator and Kinship Caregiver Support Program Services provide support for caregivers and the agencies that support them. Kinship care includes relatives caring for children age 18 or younger. Kinship caregivers, mostly grandparents, often struggle with the challenges of parenting a second family.

As part of the City’s Age-Friendly initiative and HSD’s commitment to promote healthy aging, the department is funding programs with the goal of 1) Reducing the physical and emotional stress experienced by kinship caregivers; 2) Addressing basic needs by increasing access to support, such as food, Medicare, TANF, etc.; 3) Improving the ability of kinship caregivers to experience stable health; and 4) Improve the ability of older adult kinship caregivers to age in place successfully.

“This funding helps us to build a healthier community by taking care of those who care for others, especially older individuals who may have already raised one family, said Catherine L. Lester, Director of HSD.

Neighborhood House, Encompass Northwest, and Renton Area Youth and Family Services will receive $76,194 collectively in funding for the Kinship Caregiver Support Program (KCPS)—which provides supportive services to kinship caregivers age 55 and older caring for a family member’s child. KCPS services are provided in a culturally appropriate manner in geographic areas where caregivers reside. All three awardees are current providers of this service, and have demonstrated a commitment to effectively serve target populations including African American, Alaska Native/American Indian and Hispanic/Latino.

Catholic Community Services will receive $115,306 in funding for both the Kinship Navigator and Kinship Collaboration Coordinator programs. The Kinship Navigator provides outreach and information about available resources and services to kinship caregivers age 18 and older who are caring for a family member’s child. The Kinship Navigator is the primary referral source to the Kinship Caregiver Support Program supplemental funds. These funds are available to kinship caregivers to help address emergent caregiver needs. The Kinship Collaboration Coordinator plays a vital role in bringing together caregivers, service providers and partner agencies with a unified goal of creating comprehensive services, advocacy, community outreach and education.

The contract period is from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

Asian senior healthcare organization uses technology to fight social isolation of seniors

Story by Joy Okot-Okidi

Founded in the 1980s as the first Chinese nursing home operated by the Chinese community in the nation,  Kin On now serves over 500 Asian seniors in the Greater Seattle area.

Asian cultures hold a tradition for families to care for their own, according to Kin On’s website, and caregivers and staff follow a holistic approach to care for their residents.

Their mission is to “support the elderly and adults in the greater Seattle Asian community by offering a comprehensive range of health, social and educational services sensitive to their cultural, linguistic and dietary needs.”

Since opening, Kin On has gone on to win several awards including an honor from the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation, declaring Kin On Health Care an “Asian-American Pioneer in Healthcare.”

In October 2016, the facility opened a new community center as part of their Healthy Living Program, focused on the physical, mental and social aspects of health for adults over 50. Classes offered include EnhanceFitness®, Zumba®, ballroom and line dance, arts and crafts, technology, evidence-based health education, and more.

At the heart of the Healthy Living Program is the Kin On Smartlab, which was initiated with the City of Seattle Technology Matching Fund.  The goal of the Kin On SmartLab was to “improve social isolation, to increase interaction through email, technology literacy and access to government resources online,” said Jessica Wong who was the main program coordinator from 2015-2016.

Wong said that Kin On serves many immigrants, mostly from China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. She says social isolation is a major problem, so the committee proposed the idea of a “SmartLab” to combat this, speaking to the educational, mental and social components of the Healthy Living Program.

The organization previously applied for the grant from the Technology Matching Fund, and after not being chosen, they applied feedback and received the grant the following year. The SmartLab operates in the 2,600 square foot community center and the program officially began in April of 2016, featuring “all-in-one computers” with a built-in monitor and speakers, allowing for easy take-down and set up, along with a projector allowing students to see skills being taught on a larger screen.

Its first set of classes included “Computers Made Easy,” teaching students basic fundamentals of using a computer. From April to July 2016, four, two-hour classes were taught once a month on select Saturdays by young professionals in the technology field. About 10 volunteers are present for each class to assist the students. There are also two open lab tutors who give one-on-one lessons twice a week.

The SmartLab is open to the community and seniors aged 50+ can sign up by phone, in-person, or with help from a family member or friend, through an online application which is offered in English and Chinese.

Seniors who sign up are encouraged to come in and ask questions about smartphones and tablets and computers. One former nurse from Kin On, Eliane Dao, has transitioned into becoming a regular student in the SmartLab. “It has been about three months and I am very happy that I have found a great teacher,” she explained, “He will teach you anything you ask.”

“We hope to grow to serve more people and also offer a larger variety of classes,” Wong said of Kin On’s goals for the future of the technology program. “For this coming year, we have improved our methods and how we teach by simplifying the classes with more repetition and practice time.” The 2017 classes schedule is now available online.

The SmartLab will continue to push towards its three main goals: combatting social isolation through online access to social media and communication platforms, improving technology literacy, and increasing access to health and government resources online.

For more information or questions, please contact Anne Nguyen who oversees Kin On’s Healthy Living Program at 206-556-2237 or


In 2016 the City of Seattle awarded 10 community organizations a total of $320,000 in Technology Matching Funds (TMF). This funding will assist more than 2,500 residents in historically underserved or underrepresented communities who lack the necessary technology access and essential digital skills to thrive in the 21st century.

Now Accepting Applications: 2017 Community Shuttles for Seniors and People with Disabilities RFQ

The Aging and Disability Services Division (ADS) of the City of Seattle Human Services Department is now accepting applications from agencies that will provide community-based demand-response transportation service for seniors and people with disabilities in Seattle and South King County. The purpose of the Community Shuttles is to provide a community-based transportation service in King County and offer an affordable and accessible mobility option for seniors and people with disabilities. Agencies that provide this service and meet the minimum eligibility requirements are encouraged to complete the Request for Qualification application. 1.1 million dollars are made available through this RFQ. Complete details and access to the application can be found on the funding opportunities webpage.

Agencies interested in learning more about this funding opportunity are encouraged to attend the information session:

Thursday, March 9, 2017

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Federal Way Public Library, Meeting Room 1

34200 1st Way S

Federal Way, WA 98003

The submission deadline is Friday, March 31, 2017 by 12:00 p.m. (noon).

For RFQ accommodation requests please contact: Jon Morrison Winters at or (206) 684-0654.

Teens help seniors become tech-savvy

In December 2015, Seattle Parks and Recreation, in partnership with Group Health and Ageis Living, hosted its first graduation for tech-savvy seniors.

This year, Group Health and Ageis Living approached Seattle Parks and Recreation to help launch the Cyber Seniors program aiming to bridge the generation gap when it comes to technology education. Teens at Garfield Teen Life Center mentored seniors on how to use a computer or smart device independently. The program empowered students and provided seniors with tools to safely engage online and interact with peers and family. At the end of the six-week program, the seniors were able to send emails, complete Google searches, Skype, text, use Facebook and many other applications and the youth experienced being valuable leaders in their community.

The Cyber Seniors program will hold additional sessions in 2016. For more information, please call Garfield Teen Life Center at 206-684-4550.