Older Americans Act Reauthorization Signed into Law

April 21, 2016

Statement from Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee
President Obama signed the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016 into law today, reaffirming our nation's commitment to the health and well-being of older adults. Earlier this year, the President called on Congress to reauthorize this important legislation as part of his remarks at the White House Conference on Aging. For the full text of this article, go to:

In Forbes, Contributor Howard Gleckman presents a little different perspective:
Congress has finally renewed the Older Americans Act—a key piece of the social safety net for seniors, writes Howard Gleckman in Forbes. It is good that, after a decade in limbo, the law finally has been reauthorized. But before you break out the balloons and champagne, remember that keeping programs alive on paper is not the same as paying for them. And the government safety net for seniors has been fraying for years, victimized by woeful underfunding. The full text of this article can be found at:

Grantee Spotlight - Mission: St. Louis

December 01, 2015

Stephanie*, an older St. Louis resident, was introduced to Mission: St. Louis after her husband and father both died within months of each other. She no longer had help maintaining her home and she was disheartened and overwhelmed. Volunteers arrived at Stephanie’s home to assist with minor repairs. But they did so much more than fix railings and paint walls: they supported and encouraged Stephanie and showed her that she was strong and capable enough to handle things independently. Now Stephanie volunteers her own time with Mission: St. Louis, sharing with others that same strength and inspiration that helped her.

At Mission: St. Louis, people of all ages are empowered to transform the people and places in their community. Some residents have spent decades in their homes and have no desire to live anywhere else, but they don’t have the resources, support, or ability to keep up with necessary repairs and maintenance. Even more, homes that are not up to code or in disrepair can pose a serious, potentially life-threatening risk to senior homeowners. Mission: St. Louis’ AMP (Authentic Missional Practice) initiative connects volunteers and residents in week-long individual and community building activities. The initiative addresses immediate home repair needs, but at its heart AMP is about building relationship and community with senior homeowners and residents in the region.

*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

Staff, volunteers and clients of Mission: St. Louis

Introducing the St. Louis County Access & Functional Needs Registry

November 05, 2015

The Saint Louis County Access & Functional Needs Registry is an emergency preparedness program for older adults and people with disabilities. Enrollment is free and open to any St. Louis County resident living in the community with a physical, cognitive, or age-related condition that may impact their capacity to respond appropriately during a major disaster. Visit their website for more information about the Registry. This program is relatively new and is part of the County's mission to promote independence, safety, and well-being for older residents.

Registry Coordinator Elyse M. Murrell, MSW, is excited to spread the word to professionals in the region who work with seniors! In addition to downloading their PDF program brochure, she would be happy to mail or drop off a stack of them for your use. Open this flyer for an upcoming event on winter weather preparedness for seniors. Feel free to contact Elyse at (314) 615-4426 | TTY (800) 735-2966 or

Grantee Spotlight - Puentes de Esperanza

June 23, 2015

Community outreach is the heart of Puentes de Esperanza, and it's what allows them to provide help whenever and wherever it is needed. Every day they receive countless requests for services and assistance from non-English speaking residents across Southwest Illinois. With a fully bilingual staff and a growing reputation as the only service provider in the Metro East serving the limited English-speaking Spanish population, Puentes works across multiple systems in order to help those in need.

When a fire broke out in a trailer park in a Hispanic community and not a single first responder spoke Spanish, Puentes staff was there. They helped the limited English-speaking residents understand the situation, translated between police, firemen, and healthcare professionals, and connected them with vital resources in the community. And when language barriers threatened a young man's medical condition, Puentes provided critical one-on-one support for him and his family. Puentes helped the family navigate the complicated healthcare system so that they would better understand what was happening and he would have access to consistent and necessary treatment.

Puentes not only meets the basic human needs of non-speaking residents in the region, but they also provide opportunities for community advocacy and education. By teaching residents how to do for themselves rather than always doing for them, Puentes encourages a sense of competency, self-sufficiency, and dignity for non-English speaking residents in the region.

Puentes de Esperanza Easter Event
Puentes de Esperanza Easter Egg Hunt

Images provided by Puentes de Esperanza

New Focus Areas

June 18, 2015

Human Trafficking Prevention and Education

This spring, the DCFSL Board completed a Strategic Planning process to guide the Foundation's funding for the next three years starting July 2015. The planning process included a careful examination and review of our current focus areas and emerging unmet community needs.

As a result, it was decided to redirect funding from Youth Violence Prevention through Job Training and Employment to support Youth Empowerment with a very specific emphasis on a serious emerging need for Human Trafficking Prevention and Education. St. Louis is one of the top 20 regions for human trafficking in the country. Youth Empowerment through Human Trafficking Prevention aims to prevent human trafficking by reaching vulnerable, at-risk populations before it's too late.

Through education, outreach, public awareness, and early intervention, our youth can be empowered to make positive and healthy decisions about their own lives and take a stand for their own futures. Evidence shows that the average age of entry into the commercial sex trade is as young as twelve, which points to the need to engage youth at younger ages through school-based curriculum and approaches. Funding will focus on prevention programs that through education and outreach will develop an environment that protects children and youth from further exploitation.

Senior Oral Health Literacy

Oral health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic oral health information and services needed to make appropriate oral health decisions, and it is an important component of oral health care for seniors. A lack of oral health literacy can significantly affect oral health care as well as overall health.

Adults ages 65 and older make up the fastest growing segment of the American population, and today's seniors are more likely to retain their dentition, meaning they are at a greater risk for oral diseases. Because of their age, seniors often face a host of conditions that make oral health even more critical. Funding will focus on education and prevention for older individuals and their caregivers about the importance of dental care in maintaining independence and prevent premature illness or death.

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