RVCOG’s Meals on Wheels and Senior Meals Program has been serving Jackson and Josephine Counties since 2001. The program provides balanced nutrition and frequent social contact, key to maintaining good health and vitality for those who wish to continue living as independently as possible. The program, appropriately called Food & Friends, provides between 230,000 and 240,000 meals a year in the two-county area. Each month, nearly 400 dedicated volunteers deliver more than 16,000 meals to individuals living independently at home whose health prevents them from preparing their own meals. In many cases volunteers are the only people our seniors see on any given day, and often the meal that is delivered is a client’s main or even sole source of nutrition. In addition to home delivery, approximately 3,200 meals a month are served at 12 congregate meal sites located throughout the two-county area.
Since Federal and State funding only contribute 2/3 of what Food & Friends needs to provide its meals and its critical safety net, fund raising activities are an essential part of staff’s responsibilities. The program relies on foundations, cities, counties, service organizations, businesses, churches, and clients to help close the financial gap, and to maintain the program’s unbroken history of never having to resort to waiting lists.
As the Area Agency on Aging for this district, the RVCOG has developed a network of services to help seniors and adults with disabilities live with dignity and independence. A 9- member Disability Services Advisory Council and a 17-member Senior Advisory Council appointed by the RVCOG Board of Directors assist in planning and advocacy.
Before Oregon’s implementation of the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) program, locating accurate and unbiased information about services to help seniors or adults with disabilities to maintain their independence and health was a frustrating and time-consuming process. With ADRC now statewide, that situation has been significantly improved. Although the State’s ADRCs are operated on a local basis, they can be accessed through a single phone number (855-ORE-ADRC) or a single website (www.ADRCofOregon.org). The ADRC phone lines are open during business hours five days a week with trained staff ready to help the consumer. Services can range from responding to a simple request for information all the way up to a comprehensive session of Person-Centered Options Counseling in a home setting to ensure that clients and family members are given the range of choices they need in order to make an informed decision about available options.
Oregon offers one of the nation’s best combinations of services to allow individuals to continue living in their home as they age or face a disability. In southern Oregon, RVCOG partners with Aging and People with Disabilities (APD), the region’s Medicaid Financial Assistance, and SNAP (food stamps) programs. RVCOG directly implements Oregon Project Independence (OPI) for seniors 60+ and younger people with physical disabilities, and provides workshops in several evidence-based trainings that address such topics as how to care for a family member with dementia, or how to deal with chronic physical conditions or depression. RVCOG and APD’s goal is to provide a seamless service system to seniors and people with disabilities in the two-county area.
RVCOG’s transportation planning services are primarily focused on the Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization (RVMPO) and Middle Rogue Metropolitan Planning Organization (MRMPO). Federal transportation law requires that transportation planning activities in urbanized areas with a population in excess of 50,000 be coordinated through Metropolitan Planning Organizations, which were created to ensure that existing and future expenditures of governmental funds for transportation projects and programs are based on a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive (3-C) planning process.
RVCOG’s Planning Department offers land use planning services to member jurisdictions. These services are available on a short- or long-term contract basis, for both current and long-range planning. Ordinance development and updates, Comprehensive Plan updates, Periodic Review, and collaborative planning processes are among the services available. RVCOG’s ability to provide contract planner services to jurisdictions is an excellent example of the benefits of RVCOG membership. Our member jurisdictions are able to purchase only the services they need when they need them, without incurring the costs of a full- or part-time employee.
Community Development can provide public outreach, emergency planning, ordinance development, opinion surveys, grant writing, grant management, RFP/RFQ preparation, and labor standards compliance. Increasingly, RVCOG’s grant/loan management services have been the most requested offering under Community Development. RVCOG can provide our members with expertise in even the most complicated and burdensome federal and state grant and loan programsâ€”Community Development Block Grants, Water/Wastewater Financing Program, State Energy Program Grants, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program, Safe Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund, Special Public Works Fund, Water and Wastewater Revolving Loan Fund Grants, and Rural Development Loan Assistance. Depending on the grant program, RVCOG’s services can be free of cost to the jurisdiction.
The Natural Resources program is directed at improving the health and vitality of our watersheds, natural systems, and recreational assets by providing RVCOG members and other partner organizations with specialized technical assistance, regionalized coordination and implementation, and organization support. Staff works with numerous partners, including cities and counties; federal, state, and local agencies; conservation organizations; public and private schools; special interest groups; and members of the public.
RVCOG’s Administration Department offers a range of services to its members, such as computer network design, accounting services, human resources, technical writing, procurement, customer satisfaction surveys, executive recruitment, and special projects. RVCOG also provides staff support and assistance to a variety of regional meetings to promote the dialog among local units of government and state agencies.
The RVCOG, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Rogue Valley Transit District (RVTD), and the City of Ashland, has launched a community bike share program called Rogue Bike Share. Multiple bike share stations are located within Ashland, as well as one station located at Front Street Transit Station in Medford. The program is targeted to residents, students, and tourists – and is free for low-income individuals enrolled in public assistance programs. Rogue Bike Share is administered by RVCOG and operated by Zagster.