AARP Connecticut has selected five awardees for its third Livable Communities Grant Program dedicated to funding quick-action projects in Connecticut communities that will help make immediate improvements or jumpstart long-term progress that will support residents.
“AARP Connecticut’s Livable Communities Grant Program helps nonprofits and local governments take small steps toward becoming more age-friendly,” said Nora Duncan, State Director of AARP Connecticut. “Sometimes small changes can make a big difference in people’s lives, and this grant is an opportunity for communities to develop creative projects that will improve public spaces, increase accessibility, create social connections, or take other steps toward becoming more livable.”
AARP Connecticut launched the Livable Communities Grant Program, a local expansion of the national AARP Community Challenge initiative, to provide nonprofit organizations and municipalities in Connecticut with up to $4,000 for projects that aim to help neighborhoods, towns and cities become great places for people of all ages. The program is open to incorporated organizations that are 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) non-profits and Connecticut government entities. The 2020 grantees are:
Bethel Public Library will use the grant to install permanent, accessible tables on the front lawn of the library to provide community members with new options for safely using the library’s Wi-Fi and participating in community programming. The tables will also be available for diners of local restaurants within a short walking distance of the library lawn to use.
With this grant, Parkside Gables, an affordable housing community in Stamford, will create two community spaces for residents: a community computer center that will help residents access educational training opportunities, resources, benefits enrollment, and social connection; and an outdoor garden space with four raised bed gardens.
The grant will help the Groton Public Library will create the Library Book Bike and Mobile Information Kiosk, a custom-built tricycle with an attached trailer box that can hold up to 600 pounds of library items, including a Wi-Fi hotspot, books, foldout table, electronics charging station, pamphlets, and flyers. The initiative will increase the public library’s presence at farmer’s markets, sporting events, beaches, daycares, nursing homes, and Senior Centers.
This project will allow students in the ROOTS’ City Growers Youth Program to install 16 accessible raised bed gardens at the homes of low-income seniors in New Britain. Following the installation of the raised bed gardens, City Growers Youth and the ROOTS’ garden manager will continue to work with the recipients of the 16 raised beds to ensure they have a successful growing season.
This grant will allow Reliance Health to purchase tablets and tablet covers so older adults with mental health conditions can stay safely connected to peers, recovery groups, educational opportunities, relatives, and friends.
“Winning the AARP award was very exciting for us as these kinds of partnerships help us with the many missions that we provide” said, Renee Dobos, CEO of Connecticut Housing Partners. “Our community is very diverse and approximately 40% of the residents that reside with us identify as Latino.
Among the services that Connecticut Housing Partners provide is the Rent Bank supporting households that have experienced a crisis due to health, death of wage earner, or loss of a job, and partnering with many different food banks and pantries to provide much-needed groceries.
“The state of Connecticut continues to see Latinos significantly impacted with higher rates of food insecurity and that remains true for New Britain where Latinos are 26.3% more likely to be food insecure compared to white households”, said Joey Listro, Founding Executive Director, New Britain ROOTS. “ROOTS works to bring equity through food to our Latino neighbors by making locally grown food more accessible and affordable.”
“We plan to use the funds awarded through the AARP’s Livable Communities Grant Program to purchase tablets, which will be given to those served by Teamworks, our social clubhouse. Since many of those served are unable to engage in-person, our goal for these tablets is to help these individuals connect to their mental and physical health providers, friends, and family in a safe, virtual setting”, says Nicole Reynolds, Development Director at Reliance Health.
Last year Reliance Health provided services to over 1,200 individuals with about 10% of those served identifying as “Hispanic”.
“Communities throughout Connecticut are doing great work to make sure that people of all ages are included, engaged, and valued,” said Nora Duncan, State Director of AARP Connecticut. “2020 has been a difficult year for so many people, but we were encouraged to receive a record number of applications for the Livable Communities Grant Program and learn more about the creative work that nonprofits and municipalities are doing in every corner of the state.”
AARP Connecticut funded seven projects in 2019 and four in 2018, the first year of the program.
AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative also provides resources and publications to encourage local action such as the Roadmap to Livability and the AARP book-series Where We Live: Communities for All Ages. To learn more about AARP’s livable communities work in communities across the country please visit www.aarp.org/livable .
CTLatinoNews.com (CTLN) partners with AARP Connecticut in best serving Hispanic-Latino residents in Connecticut.