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Live Better: Helping Low-Income Seniors Not Only Survive, But Thrive

Valley InterCommunity Council


VIC provides 308K+ nutritious meals annually to low-income San Fernando Valley seniors (97% of clients) at 19 locations, including 4 ViC senior centers. For those unable to prepare meals due to illness, homebound seniors (44%), those looking for a social experience, our programs fight not only food insecurity, but isolation and loneliness, which can have detrimental, even fatal consequences. A grant will help seniors thrive by providing nutritionally balanced meals, socialization (post-COVID19), case management, transportation, and more.

Please describe the mission of your organization.

Valley InterCommunity Council’s (ViC) mission is to create positive change in Greater San Fernando Valley (SFV) communities as we serve, support, and engage primarily those age 60+ through unity and faith in action. ViC enriches lives and strengthens our diverse Los Angeles communities.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • San Fernando Valley

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

VIC has 265 volunteers & a vast network of collaborative partners: 1) food providers/caterers supply nutritious meals daily; 2) numerous nonprofit human service organizations & govt agencies comprise our Continuum of Care who refer seniors; 3) nonprofits/individuals who partner in provision of evidence-based programs (eg, A Matter of Balance, UCLA Memory Training, Arthritis Fdn’s Exercise Program & Walk with Ease Program); 4) funders like City of LA Dept. of Aging, LA Rec & Parks who make possible our 4 Centers—safe places providing nutrition, social, education, fitness, and recreation; 5) other partners: LA City/County, UCLA/USC/CSUN, Partners In Care Fdn, El Nido, NCOA, AARP, MOW America, MOWCA, Eisner Fdn, AthemBlueCross, Providence Healthcare Hospitals, local/state/federal govts, more.

What is the need you’re responding to?

‘The Golden State is getting grayer and we need to be ready for the major population changes headed our way’ (Gov. Newsom press release, 6/10/19). ‘Fast-forward to 2030. Imagine a LA County with almost 3 M residents over age 60, up from 1.4 M today. One in 4 neighbors will be older’ (LA Co. SENIORS COUNT! Survey). San Fernando Valley (SFV) in Service Planning Area 2 (SPA2)—the most populous of LA County’s 8 SPAs—has 200,444 residents age 60+ (2017 Am. Community Survey). SPA2 embraces 40 communities (10 are incorporated cities), including low-income communities with pockets of poverty, high levels of homelessness/gang violence & paucity of services for a growing, diverse senior population. As Baby Boomers reach their golden years, the time to begin strengthening communities by expanding senior services & wellness activities is now. COVID-19 necessitated we immediately shift from senior center-based meal offerings, to 100% food delivery, to not jeopardize vulnerable seniors’ lives.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

Celebrating 56+ years of providing services to seniors age 60+, VIC oversees the operation and management of 4 multipurpose community centers for older adults in Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Pacoima and Northridge. Centers, partially funded by City of LA Department of Aging (LADOA), are attractive, safe places that provide evidence-based social, educational, fitness & recreational opportunities. Our ‘Nutrition Meal Services−Healthy Sustenance’ program provides 308K+ nutritionally balanced meals annually via Home Delivered Meals to home-bound seniors (44% of clients); at our ViC Centers/Meal Sites; and through Meals On Wheels (no age requirement). In addition to hot nutritious food, ViC provides vital transportation to access meals and care; case management to prevent homelessness and mental illness; health & wellness/prevention activities; social engagement; recreational events. Our track record of impact has earned us the Daily News “Readers’ BEST Nonprofit Choice” for the past 4 years.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

As our world changes and society ages, ViC is called to new, creative ways to express our values in the world, respond to these challenging times and make our services even more relevant. Our values are inclusiveness, justice and respect for diversity. “The growth in the older adult population [2010—2017] is significantly higher than that of [LA’s] general population” (2017 Am. Community Survey). We’re exploring new ways to expand care for seniors/caregivers at our Centers; creatively build capacity of Senior Centers to provide programs to a changing generation of seniors; continue building bridges within our community to foster peace, harmony and unity, as seniors break bread together, nourish their bodies & spirits, and break down walls.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

ViC’s hot meal offering opens the door to accessing services. Breaking bread at a table with neighbors becomes a window through which to learn about diverse cultures and dissolve prejudices.

To make LA the healthiest place to live, ViC aims to improve older adult well-being by expanding our proven programs aimed at helping more seniors to live better and thrive by: 1) preventing food insecurity; 2) removing barriers to accessing care; 3) preventing mental illness/homelessness; 4) preventing health decline exacerbated by social isolation & loneliness; 5) fostering acceptance & respect in our diverse LA communities in Greater SFV; 6) reducing our waiting list to 0–so every senior receives services.

Ultimately we are reducing healthcare costs; assisting families caring for a senior; dissolving prejudice/discrimination as seniors representing a diversity of cultures break bread together.

ViC measures results and evaluates all services. Our funders (e.g., LA Dept. of Aging) require we measure units of service for programs, which are entered into the city’s system. We track statistics/trends, which enable us to fine-tune services to meet demand.

We envision a day when one in 4 of LA’s residents will be seniors who are healthy, engaged socially, accessing services they need, and aging in place. Through our programs, seniors will lead the way in promoting tolerance, dissolving prejudices, in a model community representing LA’s diverse cultures.

Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Access to healthy food
  • Food insecurity
  • Older adult well-being

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the best place to PLAY
  • LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support
  • Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
  • Capacity, including staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation