Seniors recreation grant request deferred

Council wants more information from Houston Link to Learning

Houston Link to learn

A request from Houston Link to Learning for money from the District of Houston’s COVID-19 relief fund to provide free recreation services for local seniors has been deferred.

The application for $17,555 was considered by the District council at its June 7 meeting and will be placed before council again at its June 21 meeting once staffers have gathered more information from Houston Link to Learning.

Houston Link to Learning requested the money to provide free access for seniors to bowling, picnics in the park and monthly movie afternoons.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone. In particular it has had a massive negative effect on the seniors in our community. Many seniors already face isolation as they age and can no longer get around or drive like they used to,” Houston Link to Learning executive director Marian Ells wrote to council.

“The Better at Home program has provided valuable services to seniors but now that restrictions have lifted, we would like to propose a program that brings together seniors for some group activities.”

Those activities would consist of:

– weekly morning bowling followed by coffee with an estimated 15 seniors attending each week for 37 weeks.

– 15 seniors attending three picnics in the park over the summer.

– 20 seniors attending monthly movie afternoons followed by coffee and snacks over nine months.

“All this programming requires staff time to run it well and funding for the activities, the food and transportation,” Ells indicated in laying out a budget of $23,555.

In addition to the $17,555 requested from the District, the Better at Home program through the United Way BC is contributing $2,500, Houston Link to Learning itself is contributing $1,500 and the Second Harvest food program is adding $2,000 to flesh out the budget.

The District of Houston set up a $100,000 COVID-19 relief grant account in 2020 for local groups whose services to people were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic or who have faced rising costs because of the pandemic.

The money came from a $1.066 million provincial grant provided in late 2020 to ease its own COVID-19 recovery.

To date, four local organizations have received monies from the fund:

– Houston Link to Learning, $10,000, for food programs.

– Royal Canadian Legion Branch 249, $5,400, in support of its community van program.

– Beanstalk Daycare, $7,780, to support its services

– Silverthorne Elementary, $5,000, to support its programs providing food for students.