Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin and other members of the Town Board recently joined with the Family and Children’s Association (FCA) to announce a grant of over $330,000 in CARES Act funding for the purchase of a van that will provide technological access and assistance to seniors in underserved communities across Nassau County. FCA President/CEO Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds was on hand for the announcement along with Clavin, Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilman Dennis Dunne, Sr., Town Clerk Kate Murray and Receiver of Taxes Jeanine Driscoll. The grant allocation to FCA was also supported by Councilmembers Bruce Blakeman, Anthony D’Esposito, Tom Muscarella and Chris Carini.
The van, dubbed the FCA S.M.A.R.T. (Senior Mobile Access to Resources and Technology) Van, will be outfitted with four computers, two printers and free WiFi service and travel to senior centers and housing complexes across Nassau County. FCA staff and volunteers comprised of tech-savvy students from local universities and other groups will assist seniors with vital processes that have gone primarily digital since the COVID-19 pandemic began, such as telehealth appointments. Additionally, staff will train those interested in using the internet for social purposes and offer assistance to those interested in outfitting their homes with certain affordable WiFi services.
“Thanks to the leadership of Senator Schumer in securing $133 million in federal CARES act funds for America’s largest township, the Town of Hempstead has been able to provide communities with direct aid through grants and partnerships with community organizations and front line agencies,” Supervisor Clavin said. “From serving millions of meals to residents in need to providing thousands of free COVID-19 vaccines, we are continuing to help neighbors, organizations and businesses navigate the ongoing pandemic. Through this collaboration with the Family and Children’s Association, the establishment of a mobile unit will help bring critical services directly to senior citizens.”
The FCA Senior Division has served the elderly across Nassau County for over 50 years from in-home assistance to Alzheimer’s caregiver support and more, battling issues such as elder abuse and financial hardship. Today, seniors face not only these struggles, but also mental health challenges as a result of the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the isolation that can prove deadly for seniors who live alone and emphasized just how important social connections are to both physical and mental health,” said FCA President and CEO Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds. “FCA’s brand new SMART van - staffed with social workers and IT professionals - will travel throughout the town, teaching vulnerable seniors how to use technology, navigate the internet and connect with loved ones, health care providers and social service organizations. FCA thanks Supervisor Don Clavin and the Town Board for funding this life-saving program and supporting Hempstead’s seniors who are such an important part of our community,” he added.
The FCA SMART Van is on schedule to begin servicing Nassau County by the end of November 2021. To learn more about the initiative, residents can call the FCA at 516-746-0350.