A Ride for Those Who Cannot Use the T

The RIDE, a service of the MBTA, provides very reasonably priced door-to-door transportation to eligible people who can’t use the subway, bus, or trolley all or some of the time due to temporary or permanent disability. The RIDE is available year-round in fifty-eight cities and towns in the greater Boston area, with similar operating hours to the MBTA. Each trip costs $3.35-5.80.

In order to use The Ride, there is an application process. Contact The RIDE Eligibility Center (TREC) at 617-337-2727, or email them at trec@paratransit.org to schedule your eligibility phone interview. TREC will contact your listed healthcare provider after the interview to verify your disability as needed. For complete information, visit mbta.com.

Support the Brookline Senior Center

Betsy Pollock, President of the Brookline Senior Center Board of Directors, writes to urge the Town to strengthen its support for Brookline seniors.  She indicates that although Brookline was the first in New England to be an “Age-Friendly Community”, we have not kept pace with others in providing service to seniors.  For example, we lag behind Newton which provides fully funded transportation to all seniors.  The Senior Center, which has many excellent services, is now over-crowded and under-funded.  Our senior population is diverse, ranging from active, engaged “young” 60’s to the rapidly expanding 100+ category, and our population includes Asian, Russian, and Hispanic older adults. Needs related to food and housing insecurity and access to medical care are many and varied.

Pollock asks that the Town support the professional social services now provided by the Senior Center by restoring the FY22 budget to its pre-COVID-19 funding, build a robust transportation system for Brookline seniors, and dedicate space at Newbury College West campus for expanded senior programs and services.  The full text of Pollock’s letter can be found on the BrooklineCAN web site at https://www.brooklinecan.org/documents/Betsy%20Pollock%20-%20Brookline%20Senior%20Services.pdf

Vaccines Available for Homebound Brookline Residents

The Brookline Health Department announced that it will oversee and administer COVID-19 vaccinations for homebound residents under a local option provided by the state. Residents can call the Vaccination Call Center at 617-879-5636 Monday-Friday from 10 am to 2 pm (or leave a voice mail message at other times for a return call) to make arrangements.  Eligible are those over 18 who need significant support to leave their homes and those who are bedbound or have significant cognitive or behavioral needs.

The Health Department and Office of Emergency Management will work together to schedule appointments based on the number of individuals to be vaccinated.  A two-person team of one vaccinator and one clerical person will visit the home to administer the shot and monitor the patient post-vaccination.  For more details as well as special requirements for those homebound individuals with dementia, see https://brooklinecovid19.com/2021/03/24/town-of-brookline-shares-information-on-vaccination-program-for-homebound-residents/

Community Preservation Act – Voter’s Decide on May 4th

Brookline voters will be asked to approve the Community Preservation Act at our upcoming May 4 Town election. The CPA, established by State law in 2000, is an innovative way for Massachusetts cities and towns to fund community-enhancing expenditures for open space, parks and recreation, historic resources, affordable housing, etc.

Funds for CPA projects come from a 1% surcharge on property tax bills and from the Massachusetts Community Preservation Trust Fund. The trust fund matches revenues from the Town’s tax surcharge. The match for FY 2022 is currently around 30%. Brookline is already paying into the State’s PA Trust Fund through recording fees paid to Norfolk County. In 2020 Brookline filers paid $478,050 which went to fund CPA projects in other communities.

To date, CPA has been adopted by 186 communities. The proposal to make Brookline a CPA community was passed overwhelmingly by the Fall 2020 Town Meeting.

Town Candidates’ Forum

BrooklineCAN and the Senior Center will be holding an election forum for the  3 town-wide contested races on Tuesday, April 27 at 3:00 pm. Again, this year the forum will be conducted through Zoom. The annual Town election is scheduled for May 4.  There are 5 candidates for Select Board, 2 candidates for the 1-year term on the School Committee and 2 candidates for Moderator.

The forum will be concerned with all Town issues but will pay special attention to concerns of older residents. Michael Allen of the Council on Aging staff will serve as moderator. If you have a question for the candidates, contact Michael in advance. mallen@brooklinema.gov or 617-730-2754.

To watch the forum live on April 27th, use this link https://brooklineinteractive-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QD2RTMpvRKKoiCQkTfyLWw.  Or you can watch live on a variety of platforms at: https://brooklineinteractive.org/live

The forum will be video recorded and will be available for viewing through the BrooklineCAN website or BIG. Town government is more important than ever this year. The Select Board plays a vital role. We urge you to learn about the candidates and vote early, preferably by mail.

Recognizing Brookline’s Age-Friendly Businesses

Brookline’s age-friendly businesses go out of their way to be hospitable to everyone, particularly to older people. These businesses, which may post “age-friendly” decals, are found throughout Brookline’s shopping districts, including Brookline Village, Coolidge Corner, Washington Square, JFK Crossing, and St. Mary’s Station.

BrooklineCAN and the Brookline Council on Aging launched the age-friendly business project in 2018. These businesses provide age-friendly services such as shopping by phone or on-line, offering discounts or employment opportunities for older adults, and providing safety features, such as clearly marked steps. These services and other features of an age-friendly business are also helpful for customers of all ages!

During this past “Covid” year, BrooklineCAN has recognized a dozen of these age-friendly businesses, including Kurkman’s Market, Coolidge Corner Theatre, Eureka Puzzles, Olive Connection, Brookline Booksmith, and Serenade Chocolatier  through profiles that have appeared online at https://brooklinecan.org/afb-profiles.html,  Brookline Patch, BrooklineHub.com, Brookline Interactive Group (B.I.G.), and in publications, such as the Brookline TAB.

If you wish to recognize a Brookline business that is age-friendly, please contact Elenore Parker at elenoreparker@comcast.net or 617-383-5520.

Singing Together Virtually

Join a group of friendly people who like to sing together, on most Mondays at 4:00 pm for about 45 minutes. The group sings mostly folk songs, and individual members take turns leading the singing. The lyrics are provided, and you are muted, so you can sing along with zest. If you wish to join on Zoom, please contact Judy Chasin at hearojudy51@yahoo.com for more information on upcoming dates and on how to connect. Letʹs all sing together yet apart!!

Digital Brookline Newspapers

The Brookline Public Library recently announced that more newspaper titles have been added to our online collection. You can now explore fully searchable digitized editions of The Brookline Press (1903-1913), The Brookline Townsman (1913-1919), The Suburban (1899-1901), Brookline News (1886-1888), The Brookline Tribune (1932), The Brookline Journal News (1932), The Brookline News (1931-1932), and The Brookline Independent (1873).

Want to learn more about Brookline history? Check out our Local History page and our digitized collections on Digital Commonwealth.

Age Friendly City-TV Dr. Swannie Jett

The COVID-19 pandemic is more than a year in duration and vaccines are available for distribution.  Our guest on the 30th episode of the AFC-TV series of programs was Dr. Swannie Jett, Director of the Brookline Health and Human Services Department.  We discussed the status of many of our older adults and the programs now in place to ensure vaccinations reach them on a timely and effective basis. Dr. Jett and the Health Department are doing wonderful work in Brookline re prevention.  Dr. Jett is the right person for the time.

AFC-TV programs are aired on Channel 3 on Comcast and RCN immediately following The Grandstanders live sports analysis show and are available on DVDs at the Sr. Center, the library in Brookline Village, the BrooklineCAN web site and the BrooklineCAN Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Community Housing Options

Join us on Tuesday, March 16 from 1:30-2:30 pm via Zoom for an interactive group discussion about housing concerns and options in Brookline and the surrounding area. If there is sufficient interest in learning about housing options, there will be a meeting on Tuesday, March 23 with a panel of housing professionals who will share information about moving, downsizing and financial considerations.

This program is sponsored by the Brookline Senior Center. RSVP dwaxman@brooklinema.gov or call 617-730-2767 and leave a message if you plan to attend.