Today in Alameda County, half of all seniors are economically insecure. Over 20% are food insecure. One third report fair or poor health status. One in seven experience frequent mental distress.

Community-based services and supports are a necessary part of the equation in helping older adults meet the challenges of aging and thrive in communities of their choosing. These services and supports not only complement medical care and help seniors maintain economic stability, they often provide life-line interventions.

SSC must champion increased funding for services, seeking revenue streams and solutions that will ensure the range and capacity of supportive services necessary to address the current and future needs of Alameda County’s aging population.

– SSC’s Policy Agenda

Recent Developments

August 23, 2021 – Eighteen months into the pandemic, the impacts on older people in our county have been more extensive than the disease itself, most especially so for those with complex medical or cognitive conditions, those who are low income, and those already suffering from the compounding effects of a lifetime of racist discrimination. Isolation and economic hardship are taking their toll, and a growing number of elders are destabilized.

On August 17, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors held a listening session to hear community input regarding the allocation of American Rescue Plan Act dollars. At the virtual event, Senior Services Coalition presented our recommendation to establish an Older Adult Priority Area within the County’s ARPA Spending Plan. This $33.15 million investment will leverage the best practices we know work, intentionally focus on equity, and build sustainable capacity to meet the need of seniors throughout the county. Click here to see our presentation.

October 1, 2020 – Senior Services Coalition has released a report on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on older adults and the network of community-based programs that are stepping up to serve them. Our findings are a call to action for policy makers.

The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted and destabilized the lives of older adults throughout Alameda County, increasing the need for supportive services. CBOs stepped up, tapping every available resource to increase capacity and adapt delivery models to serve communities in crisis.

But emergency funding is running out, and new funding to maintain increased capacity going forward is problematic. Alameda County’s decision to issue an RFQ for $3.1 million in federal CARES Act funding for Older Americans Act programs – rather than distribute the funding to current providers – has created delays and uncertainty. Especially troubling, the RFQ does not include case management, a service in short supply and is critically needed to help elders in crisis.

Worse, many supportive services providers received a surprise 15% cut to their baseline funding from the California Department of Aging. The cut has impacted 18 organizations providing case management, visiting, health promotion, adult day care, Information & Assistance, and legal services in Alameda County. These programs – available to people who are “not poor enough” to qualify for Medi-Cal – are needed more than ever.

California’s budget will be under increasing pressure as pandemic-induced job losses and business closures drag down tax revenues. Without protections, aging services will face devastating cuts in 2021, about the time when CARES Act dollars will run out.

These funding problems mean that many are at risk of losing lifeline services. With continuing health risks and economic hardship ahead of us, a proactive plan is needed soon. To make that happen, state and local policy makers must do whatever it takes to fund services, including identifying new sources of revenue.

Click here for Senior Services Coalition’s Impact Report.