In order to help the nearly 48,000 seniors the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center at Bella Vida serves each year, the Santa Clarita City Council authorized nearly a half-million dollars to support its operations during the council’s meeting Tuesday.
“We could not do this through the years without the support of the (City Council), who is there quite often,” said SCV Senior Center Executive Director Kevin MacDonald, in thanking the city for its funding support and also for frequently showing up to events, including “during some very tough times over the last few years.
“The (city of Santa Clarita) staff, it’s phone call away. It’s a phone call away when our seniors need support,” he said, addressing the council members.
“We need support — whether it’s staff, department directors — it’s just a phone call away, and that has been a great gift to us,” he added.
MacDonald said the center has worked hard to stretch the dollars it gets from the city, which has remained at the same level, $475,000, for the past seven years. The SCV Committee on Aging, the nonprofit that runs the center, formally receives the allocation, an ongoing annual commitment administered by the committee: $225,000 for recreation, health and wellness programs; $150,000 for transit-related services; and $100,000 for home-delivered meals.
He said he also appreciated the fruits of the center’s partnership, which has included the relatively new, multimillion-dollar senior center that opened in 2019.
“And as far as the funding is concerned, it’s remained at that stable level for the last seven years that I know of, and we’re grateful, because we helped build a building together, too,” he said. “And there’s been other needs that we’ve been reaching out and diversifying what the senior center can offer. It’s not just meals anymore, it’s much more than meals. It’s at counseling, it’s the emotional support groups that happen every day when people are coming in grieving, and that’s happening.”
He also said there’s been an expansion of its role as a gathering point, as well, with dozens of classes available, and new programs being added. Information presented in the council’s agenda by the center indicated it’s expected to see a record-breaking number of new seniors coming through its doors in the coming year.
“The Senior Center plays such a significant role in providing our seniors with the resources necessary for an active, independent life,” Councilman Cameron Smyth wrote in a text Thursday. “The city has been a longtime partner and this funding will help fill some gaps in the annual programming budget supporting our growing senior population.”