New staff will assist seniors in Yakutat, Saxman

Seniors in Yakutat and Saxman will soon have new staff available to help link them with supportive services, thanks to federal funding.

Catholic Community Services announced in early October that HUD had allocated funding to the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority to hire "service coordinators" in Yakutat and Saxman to work directly with residents to assess their needs and connect them with services available in their community. The goal is to promote independent living and aging-in-place.

The housing authority will subcontract with Catholic Community Services to hire, train and oversee the work of the service coordinators. Catholic Social Services operates Southeast Senior Services, which manages senior centers and senior programs in 16 Southeast Alaska communities, including recently-opened senior centers in Yakutat and Saxman.

In addition to vital services, the coordinators also help connect seniors to events and activities, Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority CEO Ricardo Worl told KTOO news. "Programs like gardening, language classes, storytelling, or cultural events."

SESS already has had a service coordinator working under the HUD program, which is called the Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency – Service Coordinators program. On Prince of Wales Island, service coordinator Beverlee Tyner is "well known for connecting elders with needed resources and developing health promotion activities for them to enjoy," notes a Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority press statement.

"Beverlee's work as the service coordinator has made such a positive difference in the lives of Prince of Wales elders that both the regional housing authority and Catholic Community Services have been eager to replicate the program in other Southeast Alaska villages," Southeast Senior Services Director Marianne Mills said in the press statement. "We have been looking forward to this moment, when elders in Saxman and Yakutat can benefit from someone like Beverlee who can help them stay active and connected with others."

SESS Regional Coordinator Michelle Rogers said the two positions will be half time and they hope to have workers hired by Dec. 1.

For more information about the program, call Marianne Mills in Juneau at 907-463-6154 or email

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