Delta council unanimously approved Deltassist’s request for additional funding to help make up for the loss of a grant that supported seniors programming in the community.
Deltassist’s request for an additional $75,000 in annual funding came after the organization learned that it will no longer be receiving funding via United Way’s United in Change grant.
The funding was used to support Deltassist’s phone shopping and daily phone support programs, as well as portions of the information and referral services and seniors counselling program for years. The grant also provided for the Better at Home program, which offers non-medical supports such as light housekeeping, basic home repair, yard work and rides to medical appointments for a fee on a sliding scale based on income. (United Way manages the Better at Home programs province-wide in more than 90 communities.)
However, decreased donations have forced United Way to re-align their funding, resulting in Deltassist’s core funding being cut 50 per cent in 2019 and eliminated completely in 2020.
Meanwhile, Deltassist is at “maximum capacity to offer subsidized services,” executive director Julie Chadwick wrote in her letter to council requesting the additional funding. Chadwick wrote that in order to stay on budget with the funds it has received through United Way, the organization has had to reduce services to existing clients, all while another 40 new clients sit on a wait-list for subsidized services.
“We provide the main social services in Delta, across the age range,” Chadwick told the Reporter in September. “And we have for a long time. And that money has allowed us to [help] a lot of seniors.
“Our population in Delta continues to age,” she continued. “So there’s going to be more people that are going to be needing those services.”
On Monday, Dec. 10, council voted to give Deltassist the full $75,000 in addition to the $64,000 in annual funding the city already provides in order to maintain and grow the organization’s seniors programs.
“For many years, programs offered by Deltassist have helped to weave the social fabric of this community,” Mayor George Harvie said in a press release. “I believe that it is important to ensure that this integral non-profit organization be given the financial support it needs to continue to create a better life for our seniors and youth.”
The new funding will be made available to Deltassist on Jan. 1, 2019.
Council also voted unanimously to send a letter to B.C.’s Ministry of Health, with copies to Delta’s MLAs, requesting additional funding for the Better at Home program.
— with files from Grace Kennedy