CLEVELAND (WJW) — Four new initiatives aimed at helping Northeast Ohio seniors with food, home repairs and transportation are part of a record $3.4 million investment in the region, according to a news release from the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging.

The new grant-funded programs, beginning March 1, will distribute food, enhance seniors’ homes and offer seniors rides to medical appointments. The agency serves older adults and people with disabilities in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties.

The hope is that this initiative will make life easier for many senior citizens in Northeast Ohio who are in need of these very essential services for years to come.

“It’s one thing to listen to people. It’s another thing to hear what they are saying and understand their plea,” said June Taylor, the aging agency’s chief of performance and strategy.

Cuyahoga County councilpersons Pernel Jones Jr. and Yvonne Conwell, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Cleveland, D-Ohio and U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown of Warrensville Heights, D-11th, discussed the four grant-funded initiatives Tuesday, Jan. 17, at the agency’s downtown Cleveland offices.

Taylor sought grants to support Northeast Ohio’s vulnerable senior population, according to the release. Brown, Jones and Conwell “were key” in applying for grants ultimately totaling $3.4 million.

The Great Grocery Giveaway initiative is a four-week event that provided food to seniors most in need. It grew from concerns about food delivery efforts to elderly citizens “who were too frail to make it to the front door,” reads the release.

Two other home improvement initiatives also announced Tuesday, WRAAA Nails It! and WRAAA Works, will help make basic repairs to homes for older adults with disabilities.

A fourth, WRAAA Going Places, includes the purchase of four vans amid a “transportation crisis” for Cuyahoga County seniors. About 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical appointments each year because they don’t have a ride to the doctor, reads the release.

“This is what we need. It’s not enough. It’s a Band-Aid. We need more, and I am always an advocate,” said Conwell.

One of the many local places hoping to receive this grant money is the Donna Smallwood Activity Center in Parma. Officials said they desperately need new transportation and believe this grant money could solve their issue.

“It just would advance things tremendously. It would make it much easier to provide more transportation and in a safer vehicle,” said Brenda Sneed, transportation coordinator.

The aging agency said this grant program would not have happened without the work of local and state leaders like the congressmembers and county council president Jones.

“This is a dream come true. It’s the largest investment to help seniors age in place in the country,” said Shontel Brown.