Houston Aging in Place Initiative (HAPI)
The Houston Aging in Place Initiative (HAPI) service area included three neighborhoods (Fifth Ward, East End, and Sunnyside) with Houston’s highest concentration of elderly, minority, and low-income residents.
The goal of the HAPI project was to provide an array of services in senior centers, senior apartment complexes, and other locales to help older adults age in place comfortably and safely and achieve a better quality of life. Specific objectives included:
- Measuring neighborhood assets and gaps in senior services;
- Providing evidence-based programming to improve seniors’ health and functional status;
- Providing comprehensive case management services; and
- Supporting seniors in the three neighborhoods to form Elder Care Action Teams (E-CATS), identify the most pressing needs related to aging in their neighborhoods, and advocate for themselves.
Specific accomplishments of the HAPI project include:
- Using the “Appreciative Inquiry” methodology to conduct interviews with older adults and convene community forums in the three neighborhoods to engage seniors in assessing their communities, identifying issues, and brainstorming solutions.
- Offering 35 evidence-based health and wellness programs to 982 older adults throughout the HAPI service area (e.g. Chronic Disease Self-Management; Enhance Fitness; A Matter of Balance, Tai Chi).
- Providing case management services, such as quality of life assessments, information and referral, and care coordination.
- Addressing gaps in transportation needs by instituting a volunteer driver voucher program for older adults and people with disabilities throughout Houston.
- Building a consortium of partners, including Texas A & M School of Rural Public Health, the YMCA, Texas Woman’s University, Texas Southern University, Catholic Charities, Gateway to Care, Harris County Hospital District, and the City of Houston.
- SENIOR VOICES, September 2011 (report of appreciative inquiry process results)
- Senior Activity & Education Services; Evidence-Based Programs (Sheltering Arms Senior Services)
- Brochure: Houston Aging In Place Innovations
As a result of HAPI, Neighborhood Centers Inc. has expanded offerings of evidence-based programming within and beyond the HAPI service area. For example, in 2012 Neighborhood Centers Inc. was awarded 20,000 by Harris County Area Agency on Aging (HC-AAA) to offer evidence-based programming outside the HAPI service area.
As a direct result of the appreciative inquiry process that HAPI engaged in with seniors in Fifth Ward, East End, and Sunnyside, Neighborhood Centers Inc. was awarded a New Freedom grant in the amount of 321,294 (including a matching contribution of 50,000 from United Way of Greater Houston) for a pilot project that funds the volunteer driver voucher program and mobility options counselors.
Neighborhood Centers Inc.
Meggin Lorino, LMSW
Director, Senior Activity and Education Services
Sheltering Arms Senior Services Division