More Than A Millage: Getting Connected - Where to Start
You’ve likely heard of the Kent County Senior Millage (KCSM), but what resources does it provide for older adults? And, why should someone care about the millage if they aren't a senior? We work to answer these questions and explain the importance of the millage for seniors and caregivers alike in our "More Than a Millage" series.
We also highlight how the KCSM partner network works together to look out for the county's older adults. This month's series will look at senior millage partners the Heart of West Michigan United Way and Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, who both work to help seniors to get connected to the services that will best fit their unique needs. There is no one-size-fits-all for aging, and getting linked to the right services can be a turning point for many in their goal of independence.
Heart of West Michigan United Way
Heart of West Michigan United Way is an organization that’s deeply rooted in the community and helps West Michigan residents and older adults with economic, social, and health-related challenges. United Way’s 2-1-1 program is call-based support, receiving over 97k phone calls annually and through this program they’re able to quickly connect people to the services they need.
The impact of the United Way specifically for seniors is evident in their client Belinda’s story. Belinda (name changed) suffered a heart attack and stroke which led to her life shifting dramatically. At one point, she found herself homeless and unable to stay at shelters due to her health conditions. Belinda spent many nights sleeping in her car which contributed to her worsening health. Fortunately, Belinda was able to call United Way’s 2-1-1 line and was connected with a nurse care manager and housing assistance. With this help, Belinda was able to move into a new apartment and start a path towards renewed independence. All of which began with a phone call.
Hispanic Center of Western Michigan
A new millage partner for fiscal year 2024, the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan is also an invaluable resource when it comes to connecting seniors to services. The Hispanic Center was founded nearly 50 years ago and is a trusted resource for many Latinos in West Michigan due to both its longevity and its inclusivity. The Hispanic Center’s goal is to identify unmet needs within individual households and connect them to services that align with their specific needs. These services include housing, utilities, access to food, healthcare, and much more. The Hispanic Center ensures that their services are both high-quality and culturally competent to suit their primary population which is Spanish-speaking
“We take a holistic approach when assessing an individual’s needs to make sure we are reaching all members of the household that may need assistance, including expectant mothers, young children, and senior citizens. We provide services for all but with the support of The Kent County Senior Millage we now have a tailored program to provide family support services,” shared Alejandra Meza, Director of Program Services.
Older adults can get connected with the Hispanic Center of West Michigan in a variety of ways including in-person, over the phone, or through the referral form on their website.
Phone: 616-742-0200| Website: https://hispanic-center.org |
OTHER INFORMATION-BASED KCSM PARTNERS
- Kent County Community Action
- Senior Neighbors
- United Methodist Community House
- Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan
ABOUT THE KENT COUNTY SENIOR MILLAGE
Since 1999, the Kent County Senior Millage has helped fund services that help older adults remain in their own homes and communities as they age. Services like meal delivery, home modification, transportation, assistance with household chores, small home repair, wellness, dental, legal services, and in-home services provide seniors with the support they need to continue living independent lives. The millage was recently renewed by Kent County voters on August 2nd, 2022, for another eight-year cycle.
Kent County contracts with the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan to administer the millage dollars. You can see all of the services available in Kent County by searching our online directory here. Or, you can download a pdf version of the 2024 Kent County Senior Millage Services Directory or the Spanish Version here. You can also call (616) 456-5664 to get started!