Villages and Age-Friendly Cities
Like a match made in heaven, Villages and Age-Friendly Cities share a vision for creating a world in which we would like to grow older. Established in 2010, the World Health Organization’s Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities now includes more than 540 communities across the world. Three of them are in the San Francisco Bay Area and home to thriving Villages.
Members of Sausalito Village in Marin County inspired the City Council to become an Age Friendly City and helped to create the Age Friendly Sausalito Task Force (AFSTF), which identified transportation as a top priority. With that in mind, CARSS (Call A Ride for Sausalito Seniors) was the first program created by AFSTF.
CARSS provides vetted volunteer drivers for same day citywide free rides to all residents 60 and older. Management of the program was a natural fit for Sausalito Village because of their experience running a membership and volunteer organization and the City was thrilled to benefit from their expertise.
Across the Bay in Berkeley, Ashby Village has taken the lead as fiscal sponsor for several Age Friendly initiatives in their city. With the support of the Mayor, these initiatives focus on the eight domains identified by the World Health Organization: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community and health services.
Like all successful change efforts, Ashby Village has created partnerships with long-standing leaders in the community and attracted funding from foundations, the City and several health care organizations.
San Francisco Village and NEXT Village San Francisco play a critical role in the City’s plan to be an Age Friendly City by providing support to moderate and middle income older San Franciscans, particularly those who live alone. While the city has a multitude of services for low-income seniors, there is a gap in services for those who don’t qualify. In a unique partnership, the City of San Francisco has allocated funds to the city’s two villages since 2012, thereby extending the reach of supportive services for older adults.
This partnership was made possible by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who commissioned a study in 2010 to better understand the demographic and economic realities of an aging population in their city. They responded with a financial investment that enables older residents to stay in the homes, neighborhoods and city they love.