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AARP Community Challenge Announces 129 Grantees, Including Three Massachusetts Recipients

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Boston Today, AARP announced the awardees for its 2018 AARP Community Challenge grant program, including three recipients right here in Massachusetts.  A total of $1.3 million will be distributed to fund 129 “quick action” projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages. Nearly 1,600 applications were received from non-profits and government entities for the program, now in its second year. Each of the projects, which must be completed by November 5, is designed to achieve on one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, and/or access to public and private transit.
  • Create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
  • Support the availability of a range of housing that increases accessible and affordable housing options.
  • Address other issues of importance for communities.

Massachusetts grantees:

  • Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell, Inc. received grant funds to improve Greater Lowell communities by supporting the Critical Home Repairs program designed to address home repair and maintenance issues for low-income homeowners. Grant funds will be used to purchase new tools and additional equipment for volunteers and staff to use to repair homes for elders that will allow them to age safely in place.
  • The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority received grant funding to provide benches in public spaces in Springfield to assist seniors and people with disabilities in using the regional transit service. The lack of benches in public areas is an issue that keeps people with mobility problems from walking and using the public transportation system. This project will reduce social isolation and promote more active living among seniors and people with disabilities by providing "rest stations" in strategic areas of the city.
  • The Old Colony YMCA received funds for improvements to a hiking trail in East Bridgewater. The five mile Hiking Viking trail begins at the Town Hall, links to the Council on Aging, and ends at the Old Colony YMCA East Bridgewater branch. Grant funding will be used for adding way finding signage, and ADA-compliant benches and boardwalks to this walking route.

 

Mike Festa, AARP Massachusetts State Director, praised the quality of projects proposed for the 2018 AARP Community Challenge.  “AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative aims to make our communities great places to live for everyone.  The winning Community Challenge projects will make long-lasting, positive and impactful change.”

“AARP has teams on the ground in communities across the country who hear from mayors, community leaders and local residents about the value of getting quick wins to create long-term change. We developed the Community Challenge Grant Program to answer that call and help build momentum for more livable communities nationwide,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President, Community, State and National Affairs. “This year, we are proud to fund more projects in more communities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.”

The full list of grantees can be found at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge.

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative that helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. AARP staff and volunteers are working with roughly 300 communities across the country, engaging and mobilizing community residents, delivering technical assistance and expertise to local leaders and organizations, and supporting the work of the 275 communities and two states that have enrolled in the AARP Network of Age Friendly States and Communities.  AARP also provides resources and publications to encourage local action such as the Roadmap to Livability and the AARP book-series Where We Live: Communities for All Ages.

To learn more about AARP’s livable communities work in communities across the country and the AARP Community Challenge please visit www.aarp.org/livable.

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