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The town Council on Aging has received a grant through the Lahey Hospital & Medical Center Community Benefits Program.

Department of Health and Human Services Director Christine Bongiorno and Council on Aging Director Kristine Shah report that the grant for $11,860 will be used to help decrease barriers between underserved minority populations of older adults in Arlington and their access to transportation.

As part of the project, the Arlington CoA will provide free curb-to-curb transportation to in-person medical appointments for underserved senior populations in Arlington. The CoA will use its accessible passenger vans as well as partner with a local taxi/livery company to provide the rides.

The project aims to schedule and complete 100 round-trip medical rides for older adult residents of Arlington who identify as a member of a minority population before Sept. 30. As part of the project, the CoA will also recruit 10 volunteers to assist with outreach about the available free transportation options within the targeted underserved senior populations. The volunteers will reflect the populations they will serve.

Long term, the program hopes to create new relationships with riders so that they are aware of discounted taxi programs and options to use CoA transportation for their transportation needs in the future.

"We're excited to have received this grant and are thankful to the Lahey Hospital & Medical Center for their generosity," Shah said in a Jan. 7 news release.

"Part of our mission at the CoA is to provide services and programs to help support the senior residents of Arlington and address their needs. Access to transportation has been shown to be one of the barriers minority populations encounter that keep them from accessing healthcare. Though we already have a well-established transportation program, we hope that this program will help to provide additional access through free rides and new relationships between seniors and the CoA."

This news announcement was published Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.