Age Friendly Resolution
On Monday, the Full Council adopted the Age Friendly Resolution 31739, expressing Seattle’s commitment to being a more age-friendly city and committing to several areas of continuous improvement across every function of City government.
In August 2016, AARP designated Seattle as the 104th community in the U.S. to be a part of the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities. But the proposed 2017-2018 budget did not include any funding to implement the improvements that the AARP suggests for Age Friendly Communities.
Consequently, during the 2017-2018 budget deliberations, I proposed an Age Friendly Community Innovation fund that would have allocated $87,500 in 2017 and $175,000 in 2018. Under my proposal, each City Council district would have been eligible to receive grants up to $25,000. Instead of funding the proposal, the Council adopted a Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) requesting that the Human Services Department (HSD) assess the needs of seniors to determine the need for and use of an age-friendly innovation fund.
The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities targets improvements in eight domains that influence the health and quality of life for all as we age. “Livability Indicators” include:
On March 22, that the Mayor announced that he was going to allocate $200,000 from the first quarter supplemental budget to for 2017 to fund a series of age-friendly initiatives on environmental, economic, and social factors influencing the health and well-being of older adults. The funding will support organizations that are developing innovative new programs for seniors, nonprofits that provide transportation options for seniors and to fund a technology symposium to create user-friendly online resources for seniors.
Accompanying that funding commitment was a resolution. The resolution was first discussed on March 22, during the Human Services and Public Health Committee meeting. Councilmember Bagshaw, the sponsor of the resolution accepted my amendment that requests the Office of Economic Development (OED) to collaborate with the Mayor’s Office of Senior Citizens to identify opportunities to improve access to employment and training for Seniors, as expressed in Economic Development Policy 4.7 of the City’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which states that the City shall “[s]upport efforts to provide training and job placement for older workers and others who may have unique challenges finding employment.” I would like to thank OED Director Brian Surrat and Deputy Director Rebecca Lovell for working on this important amendment with my office.
According to a report funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of individuals in the labor force who are 65 years or older is expected to grow by 75 percent while those who are 25 to 54 is expected to grow by only two percent, which will result in 19 percent of the workforce being comprised of 19.6 million American workers 65 years or older by 2050.