DC makes affordable housing investments for seniors

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced investments totaling $19.5 billion with the goal of improving access to housing for D.C. seniors, as well as health care and technological opportunities.

During a news conference Wednesday, Bowser and D.C.’s Department of Aging and Community Living Director Laura Newland said that the focus is on virtual, phone and neighborly connections to build stronger communities for older populations.

“We want our seniors to know: DC is open. Our wellness centers are open, our senior meal sites are open, and we encourage them to take advantage of all the opportunities we have to stay engaged, healthy and connected,” Bowser said.

“We also want our seniors to help us spread the word by telling their friends and neighbors that we have centers open across the city where they can come work out, socialize, participate in programming and receive meals.”

The major initiative included $40 million from Bowser’s Fair Shot Budget for longtime D.C. residents to help them stay in the District, making it more affordable to own and maintain a home.

Other initiatives included:

  • $1 million for transportation access.
  • $2.6 million for tablets for homebound seniors who qualify.
  • A $750,000 grocery card pilot program.
  • Over $600,000 for a produce delivery and nutrition education program.

Bowser said that this is important because seniors want safety, mental health and safe housing not to be run out by rising costs.

“They don’t want to move. They don’t want to, like, retire somewhere. They want to retire at home — I want to retire at home in Washington, D.C.,” Bowser said, before slight applause. “I have a long way, though. Don’t get any ideas.”

To provide for senior safety, Bowser outlined goals from D.C. police Chief Robert Contee to hire more women and D.C. residents for the Police Department. She also focused on highlighting senior wellness centers and mental health resources for those giving and receiving senior care.

These programs can be accessed at senior wellness centers in each ward:

  • Ward 1 — Bernice Fonteneau Senior Wellness Center
    3531 Georgia Ave. NW
    Phone: 202-727-0338
  • Wards 2 and 3 — Around Town Satellite Wellness Program
    4125 Albemarle St. NW
    Phone: 202-895-9485
  • Ward 4 — Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center
    324 Kennedy St. NW
    Phone: 202-291-6170
  • Ward 5 — Model Cities Senior Wellness Center
    1901 Evarts St. NE
    Phone: 202-635-1900
  • Ward 6 — Hayes Senior Wellness Center
    500 K St. NE
    Phone: 202-727-0357
  • Ward 7 — Washington Seniors Wellness Center
    3001 Alabama Ave. SE
    Phone: 202-581-9355
  • Ward 8 — Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center
    3500 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE
    Phone: 202-563-7225

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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