Seniors Response Fund

To help seniors across the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on March 29, 2020 that the federal government will be investing $9 million across Canada to support vulnerable seniors. These funds, distributed by local United Ways, will support agencies with the delivery of a range of community services including meeting basic needs like food, hot meals and personal care items, outreach and social support through check-ins. This funding will support agencies serving those who are 55+ in all regions of Canada, including rural and remote communities who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

United Way of Durham Region received $134,689.00 through the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP), allocated by Employment Social Development Canada and 100% of these funds are flowing through to registered charitable organizations that serve the Durham region.

The NHSP provides grants and contributions for projects that help improve the well-being of seniors and foster their social inclusion. To provide more support for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada announced flexibility for organizations to use funding received through the NHSP community-based stream to provide immediate and essential service to seniors impacted by COVID-19

In Durham Region, agencies are already hard at work providing extra support for vulnerable seniors and the following organizations have been designated to receive funds:

  • Alzheimer Society of Durham Region:to assist their isolated clients, ASDR is putting together activity boxes loaded with exercise equipment, food guide and recipes, brain-enriching activities and connections to resources within their local communities. The activity boxes will provide isolated seniors, including their caregivers with options to keep their loved ones engaged and active during this period of isolation.
  • Brock Community Health Centre: to offer support to vulnerable seniors without the barrier of cost, including vouchers/cards for groceries, delivery of hot or frozen prepared foods, and personal hygiene products. Addition of Friends in Flight & Seed for Soul programs to reduce social isolation.
  • Distress Centre Durham: to meet the increased need specific to seniors 55+ who are in need of more connection during the pandemic by scaling up and increasing the capacity of the Call-Out program to focus on the emotional needs and informational needs of seniors.
  • Oshawa Senior Citizens Centre: to reduce social isolation through an expansion of social engagement through virtual programming and telephone care and concern check in calls with isolated seniors experiencing increased social isolation, fear, anxiety, loneliness due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Shine through the Rain: for the purchase of grocery gift cards as part of their Durham Region Older Adult Rainy Day Grocery Program. This responds to the urgent needs of diagnosed seniors 55+ with compromised immune systems due to chemotherapy and life threatening illnesses.
  • Women’s Multicultural Resource and Counselling centre of Durham Region: to supply essentials, to address isolation and to offer virtual activities for ethnic minority senior women 55+ living in West Durham.
  • Simcoe Hall: to meet the increased needs of vulnerable seniors 55+ in need of food, cleaning & hygiene products by providing the weekly delivery of Food Hampers.
  • North House: to help the most vulnerable seniors aged 55+ located in North Durham by purchasing & delivery of food boxes and reducing anxiety through wellness check in calls to help alleviate anxiety and isolation.
  • Victorian Order of Nurses, Durham region (VON Durham): to meet the unique needs of seniors living with life limiting illnesses during the pandemic through the purchase and set up of virtual technology to provide one-to-one and group support services.

About the New Horizons for Seniors Program

The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) supports the Government of Canada’s overarching social goals to enhance the quality of life, and promote the full participation of individuals, including seniors, in all aspects of Canadian society. During COVID-19, and the requirement for social-distancing and self-isolation, these funds become even more important to ensure that vulnerable seniors have the supports they need for their well-being.