Senior Spotlight: I.T. Bookman Center Expanding Programs for Seniors

I.T. Bookman Center Executive Director Kristin Rosboro with coordinator Gilbert Brigham.

Judy Goddess/Ingleside-Excelsior Light

San Francisco native Kristin Rosboro was named the executive director of the I.T. Bookman Center in February.

“I’m working with the people I grew up with and who watched me grow up,” Rosboro told me when I met with her and Gilbert Brigham, the part-time senior program coordinator, to discuss their offerings and expansion plans.

The center offers weekly line dancing, bingo and other games and a spiritual discussion. They also offer computer training, but Rosboro said it is focused on explaining to how to use cell phones since most seniors don’t have computers.

“The last Friday of every month, we host a senior luncheon,” Rosboro said. “About 55-60 people attend. The lunch is free. We follow lunch with an educational program. We’re still deciding on the May program.”

There are plans for growing the program.

“We have a good program,” Brigham said. “We want to bring more neighbors to the center, so we’re going to do a lot of outreach.”

The I.T. Bookman Center is located at 446 Randolph St. For more information, call (415) 586-8020.

In-home Care and Services Hearing: District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar chaired an April 6  hearing on in-home care.

The Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office found that “private home care through an agency can cost $25,236 per year; hiring an individual provider averages $11,784 per year. The average cost of living for a senior in San Francisco is $29,896. If we add the cost of home care to this average, the typical senior would need $41,680 to $55,132 to afford home care, and more for those with greater needs.”

Tens of thousands of San Francisco seniors and people with disabilities need home care to live safely and independently. Support might include assistance with eating, bathing, getting in and out of bed, preparing food and so on. A home care worker can help a senior or person with disabilities remain healthy and active, at home and out of hospitals and nursing homes.

Seniors and people with disabilities with under $2,000 in assets or $3,000 for a couple can receive free In Home Support Services, but everyone else must find a way to pay for these services. Between 25,000 to 45,000 San Franciscans  in need of home care cannot afford it.

A two-year $2 million pilot Support at Home Program has been put before Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors  for funding in June.

The Department of Aging and Adult Services will use the funds to immediately launch the pilot program for 120 to 140 people in need of home care or additional hours of home care, but whose income prevents them from enrolling in IHSS. The pilot will be open to people earning under $55,000 per year. Recipients will be expected to partially pay for these services.

Food Security Goals: The supervisors’ Budget and Finance Committee April 13 meeting drew many people to speak about the on the city’s goal of ending hunger by 2020.

A study conducted by the Food Security Task Force found that “one in four San Francisco residents lives on an income of less than $40,320 annually for a family of three and is considered at risk of hunger. As older populations age in place, the number of seniors living on a fixed income is rising. In San Francisco, the 60+ population has increased 18 percent since 2000 (compared to 4 percent overall growth.)”  In 2013-14, 44 percent of low-income adults were identified as food insecure, the highest level since surveying began in 2001.

While additional funding has enabled the Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) to expand its meal programs—home-delivery of meals, the home-delivered grocery program, and the congregate meal program—an incredible need remains.

One issue that received particular concern is CalFresh (food stamps): only half of San Franciscans eligible for CalFresh are currently enrolled.  DAAS has begun stationing CalFresh outreach workers at health and career centers, partnering with community-based organizations, and a call center has been hired to engage potential applicants.

The committee’s report will be submitted to the full board for their consideration.

Service Providers for Seniors and People Living with Disabilities Rally for More Funding: “What the hey, what the heck, Give your grandma some respect!” some 150 protesters chanted in front of City Hall on May 5 to demand for increased support for seniors and people with disabilities.

As City Hall moves into budget negotiations, activist members of the industry are preparing to get a better deal.

District 1 Supervisors Eric Mar and District 7 Norman Yee spoke to the crowd about importance of funding services that allow seniors and people with disabilities to age in their homes and communities.

Seniors and service providers elaborated on their message, stressing the need for housing subsidies, job opportunities, computer training, home care subsidies, home-delivered meals and groceries, additional group van transportation, and better maintenance of elevators in SROs.

“We always have to fight every year to raise money for our services,” said Marie Jobling, one of the organizers of the May 5 rally. “The struggle is unending and exhausting.”

Rebuilding Together: Cayuga Community Connectors will host Rebuilding Together San Francisco for a presentation on safe home and fall prevention this May 11. RTSF offers low-income elderly and people with disabilities free light home repair and modifications that allow them to live safely and independently. RTSF serves both home owners and renters. The workshop will be held at 11:00 a.m. at Bethel Church, 2525 Alemany Blvd. For more information, call Patti Spaniak at (646) 409-7775.

Emergency Preparedness: Cayuga neighborhood seniors and Balboa High School students will assemble at Bethel Church at 2525 Alemany Blvd. on May 20 to distribute 125 go bags. Cayuga Connectors will also recognize the San Francisco Police Officers Association who funded the Disaster Preparedness workshops offered through the Cayuga Community Connectors. For more information, call Patti Spaniak at (646) 409-7775.

Workshop on Aging: “The Myths of Aging and Vial of Life” workshop will be May 6 at I.T. Bookman Center, 446 Randolph St. This workshop is a project of the Community Living Campaign on healthy aging. For more information, call Deb Glen at (415) 846-7717.

Volunteers Needed: 60 and older volunteers are needed for a study on Genetic Contributions to Emotion & Cognition at San Francisco State University. The study should take no more than two hours. You will be paid $30 for your time; free parking will be provided. For more information, contact Jordan Seliger at or (415) 634-7378.

To share information or contact Ingleside-Excelsior Light columnist Judy Goddess, email This article first appeared in The Light’s May 2016 edition. It has been updated.

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