After a months-long pandemic pause, Monday marked the reopening of three senior centers run by the city of New Haven.
Since November 2021, the spread of Covid-19 has shuttered facilities at the Atwater, East Shore, and Dixwell/Newhallville locations.
Nearly five months later, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker joined community members in the newly renovated Dixwell Community Center to meet with residents face-to-face. At the site, now known as "Q House", Elicker delivered a message of hope and a hot lunch.
“Traditionally, we look at seniors as your own entity as opposed to thinking about how young people can benefit from your mentorship,” said Mayor Elicker. “And you need to venture out and engage with other people as well, and the Q House is the first step in that direction.”
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Elicker says the city will use Q House as a model for other senior centers to help immerse its senior members into surrounding communities. One 85-year-old woman said the Q House is a home away from home.
“I enjoy it, I like to play bingo. I like mingling with people. I like people. They tell me I’m too friendly,” said Roberta Bullock-Mabry.
Monday also marked the first day for acting director Tomi Veale who will join the Department of Elderly Services, a program dedicated to providing community activities as well as support services for Elm City seniors.
"There is a full list of things that I would like to be able to do,” said Veale. Like Mayor Elicker, Veale shared her strategies for uplifting New Haven seniors.
“Being able to make sure we engage, not just in the walls of the senior center but outside. Let’s be able to explore our nature trails. Let’s be able to walk around not just the neighborhood itself, letting our community see us shine bright and pulling other people in,” said Veale.
The centers are open three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Residents can take part in activities such as yoga and exercise classes as well as sewing. Transportation is also available to those who live in New Haven.