Northshore Senior Center to become a hub for aging services

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick, Editor
BOTHELL — The Northshore Senior Center (NSC) received a $1.5 million award Aug. 20, to finance a senior hub that will serve as a resource center for aging services in Northeast King County.
The award is part of King County's $20 million investment in services to seniors across the region and will focus on building connections and promote healthy aging.
"We were thrilled to receive notice of the award," said Northshore Senior Center CEO Brooke Knight. "We are excited to be able to better serve more people in the community and to partner more closely with out neighboring Senior Centers."
The funding was made possible through voter approval of the expanded Veterans, Senior’s and Human Services Levy.
northshore seniorThe Northshore Senior Center will soon become a resource center for aging services in Northeast King County. Bob Kirkpatrick/The Woodinville Weekly
"The levy had been around for years, but this is the first year they called out Senior’s as a specific target population," Knight said. "The senior population is growing in our region and across the country and the needs for services continues to grow as well.
"In 2017 we were asked by the county to think creatively – how senior centers function – most senior centers are not as resourced as we are in terms of size, staffing and programming. Knowing that our area centers can’t do it all, we were encouraged to partner formally in hubs."
The Northshore Community Center, according to Knight, is comprised of the Senior Center's in Bothell, and Kenmore, and in Mill Creek (which is in Snohomish County). 
Northshore has a longstanding relationship with the Peter Kirk Community Center in Kirkland, Knight said, and since the money was awarded from King County, "It made sense to tie service together with Kenmore and Peter Kirk and expand services and provide a higher quality of service."
The partnership title will be the Northshore Senior Hub, Knight said, and a
portion of the funds awarded to NSC will be used to address increased transportation needs.
"We have a fleet of mini buses mostly servicing the Northshore School District,  but we want to be able to transport seniors between all of our senior centers.
"We also want to be able to reach out to communities that are underrepresented in our current services. Looking at the demographics of seniors in our zip codes, we know that the Latino or Latinx are underrepresented. We haven’t had many opportunities to serve Russian speaking communities."
A program in Bellevue, which primarily served Russian/Ukrainian seniors closed down a few years ago, Knight said. Several of those seniors contacted her about a year ago expressing a desire to take part in their services.
"What they really wanted was to be in program together – to have Russian food and needed to have programming in Russian and we didn’t have the capacity to do that," Knight said. "So we are looking at bringing in more specialized programs to service those populations, including staff that speaks those languages. It might even be something like an ELS instructor who is engaged with those seniors over the course of a day."
Another portion of the funding will go toward basic repairs at the Kenmore Senior Center.
 “The Kenmore Center is located in an old caretaker’s house in Rhododendron Park. It needs new carpet and new furniture," Knight said.
Funding will also be used to help support the Northshore Senior Center’s internal capacity.
“We are a scrappy nonprofit that has managed to do a lot of things without the proper staffing. We want to continue to grow our services, but need the proper staff support,” Knight said. “We serve over 6,000 people, but believe
there are still a lot of people within a mile of this facility who can really benefit from our services.” 

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