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Senior Outreach Results of 4 years of work!
Why seniors are considered underserved? Throughout the United States the average is about the same - Only 1 out of every 3 qualifying senior receives the assistance he/she needs and deserves
2003 • PHFO interviewed seniors at various Washington County Senior Centers and found the results were much like the rest of country • Seniors believed the following myths to be true: • Did not know they qualified • Believed cars and homes would disqualify them • Believed taking benefits would mean others went without • Believed getting benefits is charity • Believed it hurt Oregon’s economy
Responses to Myths • Oregon uses 185% of the Federal Poverty Level – meaning more people qualify • In Oregon assets such as owning a car, home, money in the bank, 401K, for most households, does not affect eligibility • SNAP benefits expand and contract as needed - never runs out of funds • Seniors have paid into SNAP just like they have paid into Social Security – so not a handout • Using SNAP has benefited Oregon with over $1billion federal dollars brought back here
2004 • PHFO hired me for outreach to seniors in Washington County • First step was to attend the Loaves and Fishes/Senior Center meetings to inform them about SNAP and how it would benefit their seniors • A date was established for me to come in and set up a table
Table Information • DHS SNAP material for seniors • Other DHS material • Discount prescription cards • Medical information (vision, dental, hearing, housing) • Emergency food sources i.e. Oregon Food Bank • Community Action • Ride Connection • Washington County DAVS • Other like-minded organizations
What didn’t work? • Tried to give a short interactive talk about SNAP to seniors as they ate Why didn’t work • Senior’s did not want to be interrupted during their social mealtime • Seniors would talk loudly over me • Other seniors could not hear • Told manager I was interrupting their social time
What didn’t work? • Visited with each table to provide senior’s with information Why didn’t work • Seniors do not want to talk to anyone during their social/lunch time even if giving them a free item • Wanted to know what I was trying to sell them
What did work! • Giving a brief 2-minute talk mentioning the income limit to qualify along with something special that they could get at my table • This brought seniors who were previously reluctant to visit my table to come over and pick up informationand free item
Seniors were interested in these free items : • Pill boxes • Magnetic notepads • Shopping bags • Pens/pencils • Resource information • Results: • Brought seniors up to the table and more easily ask about services • Eventually seniors began to look forward to my arrival and would come up to just chat
Seniors and People with Disabilities • A partnership was developed with Hillsboro SPD • Intake Specialist, Connie Cruz, joined me at Washington County Senior Centers and community resource fairs • Connie was able to start the process for seniors receiving benefits by taking their information and faxing it to the correct office
Other Organizations • Spoke to like minded organizations such as: • Kiwanis’s • Rotary Club • Various Faith Groups • Washington City Councils • AARP
PowerPoints Senior Hunger and It’s a SNAP!
Senior Hunger • Outlined the benefits of good nutrition for seniors • Included information about how to apply for SNAP and other benefits • Focused on how groups or individuals could help seniors and disabled get the nutrition they need
It’s a SNAP! • Demonstrated how easy it is for a senior to find out about SNAP • Outlined the entire application process • Showed a senior shopping and enjoying the resulting benefits • This presentation especially good for senior centers
PowerPoint presentations are available on the Partner website www.OregonHunger.org • Organizations have downloaded the presentations from our website and altered to benefit their seniors.
Future Work • Have started reaching out to seniors in Multnomah County • Working with AARP to train volunteers for work at senior centers and groups • Working with Healthy Elders/Healthy Communities to reach faith groups • Working with Latino organizations to reach the Hispanic population • Hope to eventually reach physicians and health care workers
Thank you Judith Auslander, MA SNAP Senior Outreach Specialist Judith@OregonHunger.org 503-595-5501 ext. 7 www.OregonHunger.org