Seattle Mayor to Era Living Residents: Seniors Play Integral Role in City’s Future
Era Living communities have a long-standing commitment to civic engagement.
Officials, candidates for office, and community leaders are often invited into Era Living communities to discuss their visions for the future, and their policy plans with residents.
This past fall, Seattle Mayoral Candidate Jenny Durkan visited Ida Culver House Broadview. During her talk, Durkan laid out her vision for an age-friendly Seattle.
Now that Durkan is mayor, our residents asked for an update. This is what we have learned:
Age Inclusivity Built Into City of Seattle’s Major Policies
In her first 100 days, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has laid out a platform that includes priority consideration for Seattle’s older adults.
Durkan tells Era Living that Seattle seniors are an integral part of the city’s culture. She is concerned that the tech-driven, affordability-factor could push some seniors out.
Durkan has incorporated an age-friendly approach to her action plan for the City of Seattle.
“I am working hard to ensure a truly age-friendly Seattle, and I see affordability as a top priority in that effort,” says Durkan. “Achieving affordability for seniors requires action in a number of areas.”
Approximately 17 percent of Seattle’s population is over age 65.
The Durkan administration is prioritizing affordable housing investments in Seattle. Mayor Durkan has budgeted $100 million for this endeavor.
“I’ve specifically allocated $11 million to creating low-income housing for seniors,” says Durkan.
Durkan sees other housing-related expenses as a squeeze on Seattle seniors. In 2018, her administration intends to create an online portal for seniors to enroll in a utilities discount program. And, the city is also partnering with Meals on Wheels to ensure that all Seattle seniors have access to proper nutrition.
Improving Transportation Experiences for Seattle Seniors
Transportation is another hot button issue for Seattle.
Mayor Durkan has considered Seattle seniors in her transportation framework. She is advocating for better maximization of King County’s Metro bus system. And, she wants to make streets safer for seniors who walk to bus stops by improving sidewalks. There is also a new pilot program in the works for those who cannot easily walk to bus stops.
“For those seniors who have trouble walking, we’re developing a transportation pilot program to ensure last-mile transit,“ says Durkan.
Some programs that would help Seattle seniors, and Era Living residents, require a partnered approach. According to Durkan, Seattle city leadership is working with lawmakers in Olympia to extend tax cuts to seniors.
“I am advocating in Olympia for an expanded property tax homestead exemption for seniors, so that older citizens, many of whom are on fixed incomes, can stay in their homes,” says Durkan. “I am also rolling out a rental assistance program that will help rent-burdened lower-income seniors pay for their housing.”
The tax break ideas tie-in with larger policy trends at the state, and federal levels. There are new conversations underway about offering tax credits for caretakers, and older adults who are dependent upon their families for financial support.
For her part, Durkan seems to be operating on many fronts with a single, unifying theme.
“Affordability has to go hand-in-hand with livability,” she says. “Everyone should be able to enjoy our wonderful, vibrant city.”