United Way Niagara funding enhances support for seniors during COVID-19

Posted by Niagara Region on Monday, May 11th, 2020

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, United Way Niagara is investing in Niagara Region Community Services and Community Support Services of Niagara to serve vulnerable or at-risk seniors across Niagara during COVID-19. United Way Niagara is investing a total of $123,039 in local programs that serve vulnerable or at-risk populations, including seniors, across the Niagara region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program provides grants and contributions for projects that help improve the well-being of seniors and foster their social inclusion. To provide more support for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada announced flexibility for organizations to use funding received through the New Horizons for Seniors Program community-based stream to provide immediate and essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic and the implementation of extraordinary community measures to slow the spread of the virus, many people may be unable to leave their homes and have experienced financial hardship. Furthermore, many of the community supports residents regularly use have closed or altered their services in keeping with recommended public health measures.

In response to these events, Niagara Region, United Way Niagara, Community Support Services of Niagara and 211, have partnered to identify where the greatest needs are and how best to ensure seniors in the community continue to have access to food, other essential items and social support.

Enhanced the Niagara Gatekeepers program

Niagara Region Community Services has enhanced the Niagara Gatekeepers program to help reduce isolation and ensure basic needs are addressed. Services are available to those 55 years and older, and include

- Weekly, friendly telephone calls to check-in with seniors
- Providing access to groceries, medications, personal care items and pet supplies
- Ensuring transportation is available for health-related appointments
- Supporting access to financial entitlements such as Canada Pension Plan, Guaranteed Income Supplement, etc.

Niagara Gatekeepers is available at 905-684-0968 and is answered between 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., 365 days a year.

Expanded Community Support Services of Niagara

Community Support Services of Niagara has expanded their previously launched Grocery Delivery Service to ensure seniors 55 years and older, and those living with disabilities continue to have access to groceries.

Residents may call 905-682-3800 ext. 706, and leave a voicemail with their name, telephone number and location.


211 continues to provide up-to-date information on government and community-based services during COVID-19, including services for seniors. Community Navigators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in 150 languages. Just dial 2-1-1.


"While physical distancing is essential to protecting seniors from COVID-19, it risks isolating them from their community. That is why the Government of Canada is proud to work with United Way Canada to help support the needs of seniors during this difficult time. By using local expertise, this funding will help provide support tailored to the unique, local needs of seniors across the country. As we work together to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus, the government is supporting Canadians every step of the way." ~ Member of Parliament Vance Badawey, on behalf of Minister of Seniors Deb Schulte

"United Way is well-positioned to support the distribution of funds across Niagara to agencies and programs that are supporting older adults and seniors at risk. We are able to leverage our broad partnerships and networks to ensure that every dollar available in Niagara provides the necessary resources to help our most vulnerable citizens. We are grateful to the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program for working with United Way Centraide to have a local impact here in Niagara." ~ Frances Hallworth, Executive Director, United Way Niagara

"The Region’s Community Services department is grateful to the United Way for their generous support in this time of need. With this investment, we can continue to ensure our long-standing program, Niagara Gatekeepers, serves those at risk in our community and helps them through the pandemic. I know this partnership will go a long way in our efforts to support older adults as we slow the spread of this virus." ~ Adrienne Jugley, Commissioner of Community Services Niagara Region

"211 is proud to be a partner in this collaboration as the front door to services for people who are seeking help. This partnership is a positive step toward supporting the health and resilience of older adults in Niagara." ~ Tammy Dumas, Executive Director, 211 INCommunities

"Community Support Services of Niagara extends our appreciation to the grocers who have partnered with CSSN to ensure at risk seniors are able to access groceries and essential items in a timely manner. We look forward to working with United Way and Niagara Region to ensure at risk seniors are able to stay home, stay safe and healthy during this time." ~ Carolyn Askeland, Executive Director, Community Support Services of Niagara


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