The Town of Weymouth has been awarded a grant through the MassDOT Community Transit Grant Program for the purchase of a replacement bus for the Elder Services Division. The total grant award is for $86,930 and will be combined with local match funds in the amount of $21,733 to fund the capital purchase.
“This competitive grant award will help the Town continue to provide our well-utilized and much-needed transportation service for the seniors in our community,” said Mayor Hedlund. “While this will improve our ability to conduct the service, there are still many transportation needs for seniors that our Elder Services Division is working to address, and this is just one facet of the operation.”
The application for the FY20 grant was led by Director of Elder Services, Karen Johnston, and will address transportation needs for Weymouth residents. Weymouth Elder Services was previously awarded a Community Transit grant in FY18. The competitive Community Transit Grant Program awards funds to cities, towns, regional agencies, and other non-profit entities to address the mobility needs of seniors.
Weymouth Elder Services provides transportation to seniors, offering rides to medical appointments, shopping, and to various social and cultural events. The transportation program is funded through municipal appropriations but also relies on grant funding from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, and the Mobility Assistance grant. As reported in FY19, the program provided over 5,700 round-trip rides and served 427 unduplicated seniors.
“This MassDOT Community Transit grant along with the HUD, Community Development Block Grant, Executive Office of Elder Affairs funding, and municipal appropriations are so important to our transportation program and the 11,386 seniors in Weymouth. Funding and capital awards afford us the opportunity to provide seniors with the mobility services they need to “Age in Place”. We look forward to improving upon our already existing transportation program by offering even more services once we receive the new bus in June 2020,” said Director Karen Johnston.
In addition to grant funding, Elder Services is working with the Blue Hills Community Health Alliance (CHNA 20), the health alliance that serves Weymouth and other south shore communities through community-based prevention planning and health promotion, to identify transportation gaps and barriers as well as ways to overcome these obstacles. The goals of the initiative with the CHNA 20 will be to identify ways to improve transportation not only in Weymouth but across the south shore. In addition, the Blue Hills Community Health Alliance is working with surrounding municipalities and non-profit partners to create a Regional Coordinating Council that will address regional transportation needs. Weymouth has participated in this initiative through the Health Department, adding to the work addressing transportation needs and gaps.
To learn more about Weymouth Elder Services transportation programs or initiatives, contact the division at 781-682-6140 or visit their website at: https://www.weymouth.ma.us/elder-services.