Retired Executive Director of the Council on Aging, Cathy Brown, has been tapped to lead a new initiative to provide resources and support for the elderly; but this time, it will be as part of St Johns County Sheriff David B. Shoar’s initiative to anticipate future needs of one of our most vulnerable demographics.
At last night’s meeting of the Historic Architectural Review Board, Brown was doing what she does best — providing assistance to orchestrate a resolution for a Lincolnville resident who has been told that unless he is granted a demolition permit for the dilapidated home where he lives, he will be ineligible for a special grant otherwise available through Habitat for Humanity that would allow him to build a new home.
“We have access to legislative resources that can help solve this dilemma,” Brown told the board, mentioning Senator John Thrasher as one possible ally. Before the demolition permit could even be voted on, Housing Partnership director Bill Lazar approached to reassure all parties involved, including Bill Cook who was representing Habitat, that he would work with Brown to make whatever arrangements were necessary to save the existing structure and still allow the homeowner to obtain the special financing.
Brown told Historic City News editor Michael Gold that she was flattered by the overwhelming support shown to her by Historic City News readers in a recent poll that showed her an easy winner in the upcoming St Augustine city elections for mayor. “This is just too good an opportunity for me to do more good for a larger community, and I couldn’t accomplish that if I became St Augustine’s next mayor.”
Shoar officially made the announcement today, saying that there are over 50,000 individuals aged 60, or older, in St Johns County. The Bureau of Economic and Business Research has indicated that 33% of St Johns County’s population will be over the age of 60 by 2020.
Even before Shoar was elected sheriff in 2004, he recognized the need to locate resources for long term issues involving the elderly in our county. While he was still Chief of Police in St Augustine, Shoar recognized that while law enforcement has long responded to social issues that cannot be addressed through the criminal justice system, not every community problem requires a policing solution.
Since his election, Shoar has provided support for community elders through advocacy programs but he believes more is required. SafeTrak and Community Advocacy Resources for the Elderly (C.A.R.E.) programs, will now benefit from Brown’s guidance and expertise.
“With more than twenty years of dedicated service to St. Johns County, Cathy’s experience in anticipating trends in the aging populations such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and fall prevention, will be invaluable,” Shoar told local reporters.