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    The Dignity Fund: Help Make San Francisco the Best It Can Be

    1-MarcyAdelmanThe Dignity Fund proposal to provide a sustained increase in dedicated funding for San Francisco’s seniors and adults living with disability has received the support of both the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors to appear on the November ballot. To succeed in November, the Dignity Fund needs your support, your endorsement and your vote.

    The combination of reduced funding, increased longevity and a growing population of older residents has made it difficult to adequately provide support for San Francisco residents over the age of 60. Today, seniors comprise 24% of the city’s population, and that percentage is expected to increase to over 30% by 2030, according to the California Department of Finance. The Dignity Fund will ensure that there are adequate and stable resources for the city’s growing population of seniors.

    The additional funding will target vulnerable low and middle income seniors who need services and support to continue to live in their homes and in their communities. These include isolated LGBT seniors, people living with HIV/AIDS, veterans, people living with dementia, caregivers and adults of all ages living with disabilities. The in-home and community based services will include health and wellness programs, legal assistance, caregiver support, food and nutrition programs, in-home care assistance, and outreach and planning.

    Helping individuals to age well in their homes and communities reduces costly visits to emergency rooms and delays and shortens stays in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. This is a win win for the city’s fiscal health and the health and well-being of seniors and adults living with disabilities. The Dignity Fund ballot proposal would finance the additional funding with an annual set aside from the City’s General Fund. The Fund would be administered by the Department of Aging and Adult Services.

    The budget timeline calls for a 6 million set aside this year, with incremental increases of 3 million for the next 9 years. After 9 years the additional annual amount will be determined by changes in the city revenues. The Fund is set to expire in 20 years, at which time it could be reviewed and reset in 2037. The Dignity Fund is the work of The Dignity Fund Coalition: an extraordinary effort by a group of senior advocates, senior community organizations and senior-serving non-profits that represents San Francisco’s rich diversity.

    The coalition includes the following: AIDS Legal Referral Panel, Alzheimer’s Association, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, Bayview Hunters Point Multi-purpose Senior Services, Canon Kip Senior Center, Catholic Charities, Centro Latino de San Francisco, Community Living Campaign, Curry Senior Center, Episcopal Community Services, Episcopal Senior Communities, Faith in Action Bay Area, Family Caregiver Alliance, Family Service Agency/Felton Institute, Filipino Community Center, HIV & Aging Work Group, Homebridge, HIV Long Term Survivors, Independent Living Resource Center, Institute on Aging, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Kimochi, Inc., Lighthouse for the Blind, Little Brothers Friend of the Elderly, Meals on Wheels San Francisco, Northern California Presbyterian Homes and Services, On Lok, Inc., Openhouse, Pilipino Senior Resource Center, Project Openhand, Richmond Senior Center, San Francisco Village, Self-Help for the Elderly, Senior & Disability Action, Shanti Project, South of Market Community Action Network, Steppingstone, Swords to Plowshares, The ARC–SF, The Living Room, Veterans Equity Center, Westbay Filipino Center and YMCA of San Francisco (partial list).

    Here is what you can do to help:

    Go to the Dignity Fund website, www.sfdignityfund.org, and lend your name as an endorser.

    You can also facilitate your organization’s endorsement, and make a donation to fund the ballot campaign.

    Be a part of making San Francisco the best it can be.

    Marcy Adelman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice, is co-founder of the non-profit organization Openhouse and was a leading member of the San Francisco LGBT Aging Policy Task Force.