A King County property tax levy approved by voters helps fund the Kent Senior Activity Center and other senior centers. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

A King County property tax levy approved by voters helps fund the Kent Senior Activity Center and other senior centers. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Kent Senior Center to receive $827,366 from King County levy

Funds to be used to help pay for staffing and programs

The city of Kent will receive $827,366 from King County to help fund staffing and programs at the Kent Senior Activity Center over the next couple of years.

The funding is from King County’s Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy. The city of Kent is one of 39 providers, representing 43 senior centers, that will receive part of the $16.6 million fund.

In August 2023, over 71% of King County voters approved the levy for the fourth time, the highest approval rating in the levy’s history (it began in 2006). The six-year property tax levy costs 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation or $80 per year for an $800,000 home.

“This marks our second successful experience with the King County VSHS Levy, and we are deeply grateful for the support from King County and the taxpayers,” said City Parks Director Julie Parascondola in a May 20 email. “Thanks to this levy, we can fund two full-time career staff members, which alleviates the financial pressure on our general fund. Securing outside funding is always a significant relief.”

The funding, which will go from this July to December 2026, also will allow the Kent Senior Center to continue to deliver successful programs introduced in the last levy, as well as address some new emerging needs, Parascondola said.

“The Kent Senior Activity Center serves as a vital regional hub, catering not only to Kent seniors but also to residents from surrounding cities, including Covington, Auburn, Tukwila, Renton, Maple Valley, Federal Way, Seattle and more,” Parascondola said. “Staff work collaboratively with other regional hubs across the county to deliver services and programs to people and locations where they are most needed, without duplication of service when possible.”

Parascondola said the funding is critical in helping local municipalities throughout King County, in providing all levels of programs and social service needs for our senior and aging adult populations.

“They are often overlooked when thinking of community need but are one of the most critical and most isolated,” Parascondola said. “Our dedicated staff at the Senior Center is committed to ensuring that every community member has access to the tools and services they need to age with dignity, respect, and a sense of well-being. This funding enables us to enrich the lives of our seniors, helping them to thrive and enjoy their golden years to the fullest.”

The funds from the levy are being used for initiatives, services and operations at the Senior Center, including:

• Forming more community partnerships with multicultural organizations.

• Increasing community outreach with pop-up

• Expanding and improving celebratory multicultural

• Identifying transportation needs for marginalized and underrepresented communities in a way that connects them with effective resources to remove barriers in care access.

• Increasing current language class offerings, including but not limited to additional language options and bilingual social programs.

• Increasing use of kiosk-based Language Line service to remove barriers in service to non-English speakers in the center.

• Improving staff training for expanded education and advocacy specific to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ population needs.

• Continuing to provide educational programs that address historical events that greatly shifted and shaped the perceptions and conversations surrounding marginalized communities, their experiences and long-term effects of their mistreatment.

• Addressing financial disparities through the provision of reduced fees or scholarships for qualifying individuals.

• Engaging with the Parks Department marketing and outreach coordinator to creatively reach every mailing address within the city of Kent.

• Translating vital documents and marketing materials.

• Collaborating with the city’s Office of Race and Equity to ensure that we are aligning our service delivery approach with established strategic goals: Community engagement, in-language resources, training, communication and equitable representation.

• Continuing to provide and expand programs and services that were successfully implemented between 2020-2023.

Senior Center info

The Senior Center, 600 E. Smith St., is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. The phone number is 253-856-5150. The website is https://www.kentwa.gov/departments/kent-parks/parks-places/kent-senior-activity-center.

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