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Support is a Central Concept at Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly

Posted: October 9, 2013

I was pleased to be on the Citizens' Housing and Planning Association panel on “Planning Ahead for Elder Housing Needs” with Ann Harstein, Secretary of Elder Affairs, among others. In the context of having 15 minutes to address such a complex topic, I decided to focus on four points:

  1. Supportive services are integral to our approach to housing, not an add-on. It drives our planning and organization. For example, when we built Shillman House three years ago, we set aside over 10,000 square feet for community space.
  2. Managers and service providers are a unified team. All share the goal to support all tenants to maximize their opportunities for lifelong growth. For example, when our maintenance folks do the annual unit inspections, they make sure that each tenant’s emergency contact list is up-to-date and prominently posted.
  3. Our goal is that everyone in our society would have access to aging in community. JCHE is a wonderful affordable housing organization, but we also believe we have a model for successful aging that is powerful and we advocate about its efficacy.
  4. It’s harder than it should be to fund the services we do, and we as an affordable housing community should fix all that by clarifying (and quantifying) the value proposition of providing these services in senior housing communities.

Many people who attended argued strenuously for pushing this advocacy agenda. We’re game!

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