Eight organizations and partnerships in the St. Louis Region were each awarded a "JumpStart the Conversation" grant in July 2009. Click here to view the jumpstart grants below.
The winning projects exemplify the use of innovative ideas focused on creating livable communities for all ages and the theme of Universal Design and Accessibility. As part of the Aging in Place Initiative, the St. Louis Metro Region was selected by MetLife Foundation, Partners for Livable Communities and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging to host one of a series of dynamic national workshops highlighting the opportunity to improve livability for persons of all ages.
Held on April 28, 2009, Designing Places and Spaces for Now and in the Future: Creating a Livable St. Louis Region for All Ages gathered key innovators and representatives from across the Region to help identify strategies to improve homes that are universally designed and communities that are welcoming for all. Attendees learned how to JumpStart the Conversation on aging and apply for a special grant given to unique partnerships taking action on Aging in Place. The grants are intended to stimulate innovative action at the local level. As a result of the workshops and grant opportunities, communities will have a renewed sense of urgency on approaching community livability for all as well as an energized group of organizations and individuals collaborating to face the challenges that accompany this time of change.
As part of the national movement to promote the “Aging in Place” Initiative, which is aimed at helping older Americans remain in their communities, the St. Louis metropolitan region was selected to host one in a series of national workshops sponsored by MetLife Foundation, Partners for Livable Communities (Partners), and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). The workshop was co-hosted by the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging, Area Agency on Aging of Southwestern Illinois, and Mid-East Area Agency on Aging.
The local discussion complemented the dynamic national conversation taking place on aging and will highlight the creative work already occurring in the region to make it a first-rate place for all age groups. This workshop was a unique opportunity for local leaders to begin looking at the region and to hear how other communities have begun to create livable communities.
Missouri is consistently ranked as one of the states in the country with the oldest population—it’s expected that 15 percent of all Missouri residents will be aged 65 and older by 2015. The number of persons 60 and older in Illinois is projected to increase by 77% from 2 million in 2006 to 3.6 million in 2030. One in every five Illinoisans will be 60 years of age and older by 2030.In preparation for this, local leaders are calling for strategies to help strengthen “Aging in Place” services.
Workshop speakers and panelists focused on strategies for buildings that are universally designed and communities that are welcoming for all. Following the discussion, participants are invited to learn about a new Community Assessment Tool devised to measure the readiness of places and spaces. The conversation continued by through the following Jumpstart the Conversation Grants.
St. Louis Jumpstart Grants
- Bi-Lingual International Assistant Services in partnership with Delta Medical and JAD Housing LLC
To retrofit an apartment with grab bars and handrails to serve as a model for an awareness campaign aimed at encouraging landlords to make these same small changes to all their apartment units so they are accessible for those who are aging in place.
- Mid-East Area Agency on Aging Foundation with the City of O’Fallon
To conduct a comprehensive livable community assessment of the City of O’Fallon which will encourage awareness of the resources available, identify new resources that can meet the needs of older adults, and encourage community leadership to act on these issues. Local highs schools, community colleges, and universities will be involved in conducting the assessments and writing the final report thus becoming involved with the community needs and issues and interacting positively with older adults in the process.
- Main Street Community Center with Faith in Action Edwardsville
To create a resource guide for Edwardsville's older adults, their families and their caregivers, and to ensure its widespread distribution.
- Concern Citizen Group of Illinois with Lutheran Child and Family Services (for Fathers) of Illinois
To strategize on intergenerational programs that suit community needs for the new Recreation Center currently being built. Strategizing sessions will include community forums and neighborhood meetings.
- Bond County Senior Citizens Center, Inc.
To perform a community assessment that will 1) assess currently available assets available to serve the existing and future older adult populations; 2) determine the additional assets needed to meet their needs; 3) develop a plan to address unmet needs; 4) communicate findings and plans to leaders and decision makers; 5) launch a relevant and exciting initial project; and 6) serve in an advisory capacity to assist in the implementation and monitoring of future activity.
- University of Missouri Extension Gerontology Program in partnership with South Grand Senior Ministries
To provide an opportunity for a Gerontology social work practicum student to perform focused interview sessions with neighborhood residents, cost analyses, and execution of a project that will improve safety and accessibility features and help ensure successful aging-in-place for older residents. Principles from the Gerontology course, “Successful Aging in the Built Environment” will be explored and implemented.
- The Area Agency on Aging of Southwestern Illinois with the American Institute of Architects (St. Louis)
To plan and execute a design charette for the community of New Baden, IL with the goal of producing a series of feasible strategies to address accessibility concerns identified by the community.
- The Starkloff Disability Institute
To produce a white paper on universal design that 1) outlines key challenges of universal housing that must be addressed for it to proliferate; and 2) outlines a national campaign to promote universal housing features to industry leaders and consumers.