City of Burlington Creates an Aging Council

City of Burlington Creates an Aging Council

Committee proposal receives strong support from Mayor Weinberger and unanimous vote from City Council

 

Burlington, VT – The City created its first Burlington Aging Council through Council resolution at the April 26 City Council meeting. The purpose of the committee is to elevate the contributions of older adults in Burlington, raise issues facing older in Burlington and the organizations that serve them, and make policy recommendations to the Mayor and City Council to address service gaps, needs, and opportunities that impact older adults in the Burlington community.

“One of the areas of progress from our pandemic response that I would like to see made permanent is the close collaboration we have built between the City and our many partners who support our aging community members,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger, “this Aging Council will work to ensure that moving forward we can meet the needs of older Burlingtonians and create new opportunities for them to contribute fully to our community.”

Brian Pine, Ward 3 City Councilor and Chair of Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization [CDNR] Committee said, “Seniors are too often overlooked in our society and that hurts us all. We must actively seek opportunities to reach out to older people, especially those at risk of becoming socially isolated and bring them back into our community. This new Aging Council is an important step to centering our older residents in the City’s plans and programs.”

Ward 1 City Councilor and CDNR Committee Member Zoraya Hightower said, “We as a city have been saying for years, maybe decades, that we want to do more to help seniors age in place. The only way to do that in a meaningful way is to create space for the voices of seniors and their advocates in city planning and policy creation. We hope the new Aging Council will be the first step in achieving this.” 

Ward 4 City Councilor and CDNR Committee Member Sarah Carpenter added, “I am very pleased that the City Council has agreed to form an Aging Council; this has been long needed. I look forward to working them and getting direct input on the needs and desires our older citizens who contribute so much to our City.”

“We are so pleased to see the City recognize the value older residents bring to our community,” said Kelly Stoddard Poor of AARP Vermont. “This Council will help bring an important voice to the table as the City looks at ways to make Burlington a more livable and healthy community. Elder citizens represent a substantial and valuable segment of our population and addressing their needs while celebrating their contributions is so important.”

Cameron Segal, Deputy Director of Living Well Group added, “COVID-19 challenged virtually every aspect of the lives of older adults, from important visits with family to trips to the grocery store. Early on during the pandemic, the City of Burlington demonstrated a commitment to support older adults and the organizations that provide services for them. The Burlington Aging council is a logical pivot from those successes to build for the future of our city.”

In 2019, the Council created a Senior Study Committee to review and make recommendations about senior services in Burlington. Following that Committee’s recommendations, the City increased its financial support of the Heineberg Senior Center. That committee also recommended creating a permanent Council on Aging.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mayor’s Office and Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) assembled a Seniors Working Group to coordinate communication and quickly deploy resources amongst senior care providers. The Working Group has been meeting regularly throughout the pandemic to create peer support, access to local and state leadership, discuss information relevant to service provision and public health and safety, access to PPE, testing, and vaccination. That coordination has successfully provided support and public health responses to the community.

Additionally, the Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization (CDNR) Committee worked with community stakeholders to explore creating permanent local Council on Aging and unanimously recommended the creation of the Burlington Aging Council.

The Council on Aging’s first priority will be to develop a Plan on Aging to act as a guiding template for City policy and initiatives. Members will be appointed in the coming weeks by the Mayor and City Council President, in consultation with the CDNR Committee Chair. For more information and to apply for membership on the council, visit https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/CityCouncil/Boards-Commissions-Committees/burlington-aging-council.

 

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Press Release Date: 
05/06/2021
City Department: 
Mayor's Office