(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser hosted more than 3,500 District seniors at the Mayor’s Annual Senior Holiday Celebration. During the event, representatives from more than 80 community organizations, DC Government agencies, and local businesses provided information, free health screenings, and immunizations to attendees. In addition, volunteers from the Coast Guard, Navy, PEPCO, and DC Public Schools’ Jr. ROTC program joined nearly 150 members of the Mayor’s Administration to help serve lunch.
“Aging is a priority for my Administration because we know that aging well means living well,” said Mayor Bowser. “Together, we are ensuring Washingtonians in all eight wards have the resources and support they need to age in place and live healthy, happy lives.”
During the celebration, more than 40 quilts and crochet blankets, created by District seniors, were displayed throughout the Armory. The blankets will be donated to children and infants transitioning out of shelters and into permanent homes as part of Home for the Holidays, the Administration’s campaign to secure permanent housing for 400 of the District’s most vulnerable families and individuals during the holiday season.
Last month, Mayor Bowser accepted an award from the World Health Organization and AARP, recognizing the release of the city’s rigorous, metric-driven five-year Age-Friendly City progress report. Washington, DC is one of a handful of cities worldwide to receive this level of recognition as an Age-Friendly City. In the past decade, the number of Washingtonians over the age of 60 has grown by nearly 15,000, and this population is expected to continue growing, and Age-Friendly DC is a coordinated and comprehensive initiative to ensure District residents of all ages are active, connected, healthy, and engaged. Mayor Bowser has been a longtime champion of the Age-Friendly initiative – in 2012, then-Councilmember Bowser led the District’s effort to participate in the initiative.
The Bowser Administration continues to make investments that will build on this progress by:
- producing and preserving more affordable housing units, including senior apartments, with $100 million invested in the Housing Production Trust Fund and $10 million in the Housing Preservation Fund;
- providing more affordable and accessible transportation options for MetroAccess customers with $4.1 million dedicated to Transport DC;
- enabling more residents to age safely in their own homes and communities with a $3 million investment in the Safe at Home program, which provides preventative, in-home adaptations to reduce the risk of falls;
- ensuring seniors and people with disabilities most at risk of isolation have access to social, health, and wellness activities with $459,000 invested in expanded transportation services;
- providing access to vital health, fitness, and nutrition programs with $350,000 dedicated to increasing recreation and wellness activities;
- supporting innovative programs that promote aging in place by committing $300,000 into senior villages;
- creating more pathways to employment with $36.7 million toward employment initiatives, such as LEAP, linking unemployed residents with employment, education and training opportunities;
- increasing community safety and stability with $11.7 million in police recruitment and $530,000 to establish an Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Safety; and
- making it safer to move around the city whether on foot or by car, with $4.5 million in increased street safety, including more Traffic Control Officers.
The four-hour holiday celebration also included fitness demonstrations, live music, and dance performances. Performers included DC Cameo Club and Ms. Senior DC Francis Curtis Johnson, the Asian Pacific Islander Senior Center, and the MC Steppers. Robert “Captain Fly” Frye from the Senior Zone served as the Master of Ceremonies for the day.