Ontario expands 'small but mighty' program that helps keep seniors healthy
Seniors Affairs Minister Dipika Damerla says province has added new stream to grant program
The Ontario government is expanding a "small but mighty" program that promotes active and healthy living among seniors, the province's seniors affairs minister announced Monday.
Dipika Damerla, wearing a hard hat at a Habitat for Humanity site on Pinery Trail in Scarborough, said the province has expanded its Seniors Community Grant Program, which was created in 2013, by adding a new grant stream.
She said community organizations, under the expansion, can apply for new $100,000 grants for projects that benefit seniors. Given the larger amount of money now available per grant, the projects will be expected to do more, she told a crowd of people at the Habitat for Humanity site.
Under the existing two grant streams, which are still available, organizations can apply for grants range from $1,000 to $3,000 in the first stream and from more than $3,000 to $12,000 in the second stream.
Up to $5 million is being made available for the next round of projects and applications are now being accepted, she said in a news release.
Damerla said at news conference that the program has allocated grants to more than 1,300 local projects in the past four years, benefiting an estimated 435,000 seniors across the province.
"I have no hesitation in saying it is one of the government of Ontario's most popular programs," she said. "It is really small but mighty program."
Social inclusion among goals of program
The minister said hundreds of projects completed since the program began have focused on volunteerism, learning, social inclusion, mental well-being and physical activity.
Now in its 4th year, SCG has supported more than 1,300 projects, helping approximately 435,000 Ontario seniors: <a href="https://t.co/FDmXXhzrf0">https://t.co/FDmXXhzrf0</a> <a href="https://t.co/WM5RW56ucV">pic.twitter.com/WM5RW56ucV</a>—@SeniorsON
In the news release, Damerla noted Habitat for Humanity received a grant of $8,000 earlier this year to help expand its volunteer program and enable 50 seniors in the Kingston region to help build affordable housing in the community.
Ene Underwood, CEO of Habitat for Humanity in the Greater Toronto Area, said she is thrilled that the province is increasing its support for organizations that are enabling seniors to contribute to communities.
"Habitat for Humanity GTA greatly relies on the time, talent and passion of senior volunteers to help ensure we can continue our work for more working, low-income families each year," Underwood said in the release.
The government estimates that more than two million seniors live in Ontario, a number that is projected to double in 25 years.
It says there are now more Ontario residents over the age of 65 than there are children in the province under the age of 15.
Thank you for joining us for the <a href="https://twitter.com/SeniorsON">@SeniorsON</a> Community Grant announcement! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/onpoli?src=hash">#onpoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/qlfAsswmLj">pic.twitter.com/qlfAsswmLj</a>—@HabitatGTA