Lots of us could be heard complaining we ate too much over the holidays. But many of our neighbors have had far too little to eat over the past year. The recently released report “Assessment on Food Security in San Francisco,” produced by the San Francisco Food Security Task Force, highlights the food insecurity issues faced by seniors and adults with disabilities across the City.
San Francisco currently has the highest percentage of SSI (Supplemental Security Income) recipients who are over the age of 65 years, with over 27,000 seniors on SSI, or almost 25% of all seniors.
Unlike every other state, Californians receiving SSI benefits are not eligible for CalFresh (formerly called Food Stamps) even thought they are below the federal poverty guidelines. The maximum SSI benefit for seniors covers only 62% of the basic costs of living for a San Franciscan senior who owns a home outright, and 38% of those costs for a renter, according to the CA Elder Economic Security Index.
This index estimates the amount a retired older adult needs in San Francisco to adequately meet his or her basic needs, without private or public assistance, is $27,282. Nearly two thirds of San Francisco seniors fall below this level. Low-income seniors living independently or in senior housing in San Francisco have little to nothing left over for groceries after housing and healthcare costs.
Establish a local food assistance supplement for disabled individuals and seniors who receive SSI to enhance food security for these vulnerable individuals (like “Healthy SF” for health access).
Physical and Cultural Barriers - Access to food for seniors and disabled adults is complicated by considerations such as
- proximity to a grocery store.
- physical ability to travel to a food store, pantry site, or meal site or availability of transportation.
- language barriers.
Seniors suffering from food insecurity need an array of food assistance options to address their food needs, as isolation issues and fluctuating mobility and nutritional needs necessitate movement between different types of services. The options for seniors and adults with disabilities to access nutritional assistance are a congregate lunch site, a free food pantry site,or applying for home-delivered meals or groceries. However, these are not federally funded entitlement programs, and they are often at capacity and are designed to be supplementary only.
In order to avoid pre-mature institutionalization of seniors and adults with disabilities, a network of community supportive services must be in place to ensure vulnerable populations are supported to live at home. Home Delivered Meals and Home Delivered Grocery programs are geared towards serving those with the greatest physical, social, and economic need who are frail, have limited ability to purchase or prepare meals, and have little or no support from family or caregivers. Many are physically challenged due to a variety of conditions such as heart disease, cancer, vision loss, arthritis, and diabetes. Agencies providing on-site and home-delivered meals and groceries are experiencing increased demand for services while limited funding prevents service expansions.
Nutrition spending decreased by $1 million dollars (5%) in San Francisco between 2007 and 2011.
Organizations raised more private funds than expected to support the increased demand, which is not sustainable and puts the safety net further at-risk.
• Increase funding for successful programs (home delivered meals, home delivered groceries, shelter meals, free dining rooms).
• Incorporate affordability into the analysis of the “accessibility” of food at retail establishments.
• Increase number and variety of Restaurant Meal Program vendors accepting EBT, including local restaurants that bring cultural, nutritional and geographical choices to beneficiaries.
• Fund a mandate that all seniors and adults with disabilities on the citywide wait list for home-delivered meals are served within 30 days.
Key Challenge: Living Alone
Just over 30% of seniors (65+ years) in San Francisco live alone. Challenges such as loneliness, lack of companionship and cooking for one can threaten an older adult’s health and well-being.
• Organize options for cooking, socializing, and sharing resources in a shared kitchen space.
• Develop a handbook of nutrition tips as well as healthy, tasty, inexpensive and interesting recipes “for one,” also including shopping tips and food staples for older adults.
By working to implement these recommendations, we can take significant steps toward making your neighborhood (and every San Francisco neighborhood) a “No Hunger Zone”.
To learn more about Food Insecurity in San Francisco, you can view the whole report with detailed information by Supervisor District. And keep following this blog to learn how how you can help.
Shopping online has become a part of our lives but some still worry that their credit card details will be given to the wrong person. Online shopping is certainly here to stay and online security continues to advance. There are arguments that shopping online can be safer than shopping over the phone or even in person, as you never hand your card details over to another person. Just remember to follow these tips to keep your online shopping a safe and secure experience. This Wikihow site includes pictures so you know exactly what to look for when shopping online.
And if shopping on Amazon, start your shopping through their portal www.smile.amazon.com and pick Community Living Campaign to receive a donation. Help us help others!
It’s easy! To get started, just follow these two steps:
- Click here to set Community Living Campaign as your charity on Amazon Smile
- Set a bookmark in your browser so that every time you shop, you start at smile.amazon.com
Then start shopping! CLC will recieve 0.5% of what you spend. It’s not a lot, but it can add up fast if we all encourage our friends and family to join in, too (so please forward this post!).
Libby, we will miss you! You brought passion and commitment and so many gifts of time, talent and treasure to make SanFrancisco a better place for all of us.
Libby Denebeim was honored last year with the Norma Satten Community Service Innovation Award at the Community Living Campaign’s Annual Event. We invite you to remember Libby through a slide show of pictures we put together for that event.
Libby’s memorial will be Tuesday, November 26 at 11:00 a.m. at Congregation Emanu-El, Arguello and Lake Streets in San Francisco. Learn more about Libby from this rememberance in the SanFrancisco Chronicle.
San Francisco’s At-Risk Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities are benefitting from a grant from the Francis Goldsmith Fund through United Way of the Bay Area. With this grant, the Community Living Campaign is building community-based and on-line networks of support for isolated and at-risk seniors and individuals with disabilities, especially those with vision and hearing loss. Vision and Hearing loss can lead to isolation and more rapid decline in health and well-being.
To help people stay connected and engaged with their community as well as to health and educational and supportive services, CLC focuses on introducing and teaching about new tools such as assistive technology and social media. We have compiled a Directory of Resources for People with Vision and Hearing Disabilities.
Over 19,500 San Francisco seniors 60 and older (12.7%) have a hearing disability and over 11,300 have significant vision loss. Nearly a third of all seniors (34,000 over age 65) live alone. The number of seniors over 85 – the group with the highest rate of disability – is growing. Community Living Campaign has been working to decrease isolation and related health impacts, for seniors and people with disabilities by engaging them with networks of support and opportunities to connect with services and contribute to the community.
The Francis Goldsmith Vision and Hearing Initiative offers CLC a unique opportunity to expand our efforts to reach these seniors and people with disabilities. With this funding, CLC is:
- Showcasing accessible computers, making hardware and computer training available to individuals with vision and/or hearing challenges in more than 50 locations around the city
- Providing seniors with assistive technologies (hearing aids, glasses, readers, and other adaptive tools).
- Leading on-site training and support for Adult Day Services participants on accessible computers to strengthen their on-line social networks and access to information.
- To reach a broader group of individuals with vision and hearing loss, CLC have has community connectors who are experienced with hearing and vision challenges and have bi-lingual skills to support seniors in the community.
- CLC will also convene community, service provider and government agencies to improve the coordination of the public-private services system.
Community Living Campaign Community Connector LaNay Eastman has gathered information of the resources available in San Francisco for seniors living with vision or hearing disabilities:
For more information or to suggest additional resources, contact LaNay at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (650) 823‑8471.
Additional information, including additional resources and opportunities for involvement, is available at Community Living Campaign (415–821-1003 ex. 1 or email@example.com).