Eddie Hoffman Senior Center Looks for a New Home

by Ben Matheson on July 15, 2014

Bethel elders ride the senior bus. Photo from bethelseniorcenter.com

Bethel elders ride the senior bus. Photo from bethelseniorcenter.com

The Eddie Hoffman Senior Center should have a new home in the coming months. Bethel’s tribe ONC, runs the program out of a city building on Atsaq street, but they can’t afford to stay there. They’ll move out by the end of September and hand over the keys to the city, which plans the mothball the building.

Councilmember Mark Springer, who in his day job runs the Senior Center, presented options to a brief joint meeting of the ONC and City Councils Monday night.

“..feel very confident we’re going to be able to find a place, certainly not as nice space wise, people may be playing rummy on the same table they’re eating lunch from, but there will be a space we can operate the programs from,” said Springer.

That now could be in the Lulu Herron Center, which provides senior housing, or at the Lions Club. A proposal last month would combine the city’s teen center program with the senior center at the current building, but that idea has evidentially been turned down.

The senior center serves lunch for elders, delivers food to homebound seniors, and drives a bus to bring them to places like the post office and grocery store.

ONC Board Chair Gloria Simeon said after the meeting that she wants to continue a partnership with the city to keep a space for seniors.

“It’s their home…and we’ve tried to preserve that and keep services going so there’s a need for that, and just them to get together in one place where they don’t have to worry about anything but visiting with their friends and having fun,” said Simeon.

Plans are still very preliminary, but in a draft annual budget of nearly a half-million dollars, ONC wants to keep the grants they have and receive from the city a 50-thousand dollar grant, plus free water service and help with vehicle maintenance.

Mark Springer said it may be possible to have little to no interruption in services this fall if ONC is able to find a new home.

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