Voices for Change: Seniors Advocate for Essential Services at D.C. Budget Hearing

Seniors from the Kuehner House Senior Center in Ward 8, along with their peers from the Karin House Senior Center in Ward 4, made a resolute decision to advocate for their needs at the City Council. This decision came after Betty Gentle, SOME’s Senior Advocacy and Community Engagement Specialist, informed them about significant anticipated cuts to programs and services in the FY 25 Budget due to slow revenue growth.

Before the pandemic in 2020, these seniors regularly visited the John A. Wilson Building to participate in the budget hearings for the Department of Aging and Community Living (DACL). They were fierce advocates for policies that supported their ability to safely age in place and enjoy life in D.C. Continuing this tradition, on Monday, April 22nd, twelve seniors from both centers made their way to 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW to ensure their voices were heard.


After patiently waiting for their turn, Ms. Laura Grant and Mr. Anthony Brown, joined by Ms. Gentle, faced Councilmember Anita Bonds. Ms. Grant passionately spoke about the importance of reinstating a transportation service similar to the pre-pandemic Seabury Connector. She emphasized how crucial access to safe, free transportation was for seniors to remain active, engaged, and connected to community resources.

Mr. Brown, a veteran in advocacy, echoed the importance of transportation, stressing that to prevent senior isolation, D.C. must provide affordable, reliable, and senior-friendly transportation services. He highlighted the need for transportation vendors to deliver excellent customer service.

Ms. Gentle expanded the conversation to include broader issues such as the need for robust funding for senior transportation, strategies to combat D.C.’s high senior food insecurity rate, and stronger advocacy for affordable housing and subsidies for seniors.

As Ms. Grant and Mr. Brown concluded their testimonies, their peers in the audience erupted into applause. Despite feeling nervous, Ms. Grant was overjoyed by the support and proud to have stood up for her community. Seniors have been pivotal in shaping D.C., and at SOME, we hold a collective responsibility—both as government and community members—to ensure the city remains a place where the needs of seniors are prioritized, allowing them to safely age and flourish.