Community Foundation Awards Opportunity to Thrive Grant
to Wilshire Communities Services
As our older adult population continues to grow, issues related to aging can be difficult for many in the San Luis Obispo region. Wilshire Community Services bridges the gap by providing social-emotional, mental health, and physical support to older adults who may not have the resources to age in place. Our staff members work seamlessly with a group of committed and compassionate volunteers to help older adults get to doctor’s appointments, have friendly visits, receive necessary counseling or even provide financial support. Wilshire Community Services cannot provide these services without the help of our broader community; specifically, through donor, volunteer and grant support.
Wilshire Community Services is excited to announce that it has been awarded a grant for $5,000 from the Community Foundation San Luis Obispo’s Opportunity to Thrive Initiative. These funds are being used to assist Wilshire Community Service’s older adult clients throughout 2019. This funding will allow Wilshire Community Services’ Good Neighbor Program to sustain their Critical-Needs-Fund aiding older adult clients in need of short-term or one-time assistance to remain safe and independent in their own homes. Funding assists eligible clients with transportation needs that cannot be met through other community resources, medical supplies or medications, durable medical equipment that is otherwise unattainable, moving expenses, emergency shelter or food requests.
Sometimes the funding also supports one-time rent or utility assistance, as in the case of local older adult Jane. Jane moved to North County with her husband for their retirement years. After her husband passed, she managed to live on a small fixed income and maintain her independence for several years. However, with increased cost of rent, and unexpected propane heating expenses, Jane was barely making ends meet during the cold winter months. When her only companion, and cat, Griffin, fell ill, she didn’t know where to turn. As his medical bills became more than she could handle, Jane found herself in a position where she couldn’t pay all of her bills, and had to make a choice between utilities, rent and Griffin’s vet bills. Wilshire Community Services Critical Needs Fund was able to step in, and support her with short term utility support, as Kelly Hannula from Wilshire Community Services shares, “We were able to cover her propane bill, so that she could help pay for her cat. Because she had to make a choice: do I pay propane or do I pay for my cat? So, the money (from Wilshire) went to her propane bill.”
Being caught between the care of self and the care of her beloved cat Jane shared, “I felt like I was doing what I should do. I’m his lifeline and I was helping him the best that I can.” The support meant that she was able to pay for her medical bills and make rent, because her propane bills were supported by the short-term funds for several months. Jane was transparent about what the support meant to her, “I would not be smiling these days like I am if I hadn’t known Kelly or had help provided to me. Because a lot of time, it was a case of feeling less than.”
When asked about what she would tell others if they needed help in our community, Jane said, “Don’t be proud, you can get help; it’s available. You just have to be honest. These people are wonderful, and I mean that. And it meant I could pay my rent.”
Jane, like so many older adults in our community, is faced with difficulties of aging in place. Whether it is financial hardships, social isolation, mental health challenges, or transportation issues, Wilshire Community Services, and grantees like the Community Foundation, help bridge the gap in services in San Luis Obispo County.