The successful resident services workshop uses the experiences of three
properties to illustrate how programs are developing successful resident
services around the country.
African folklore says, "It takes a village
to raise a child." The Reading Buddies program is linking elderly residents
of the Presby Homes & Services to students in the local school district
in Philadelphia. There are approximately 100 residents in the program and
they are paired with children from a local elementary school. The elderly
residents help the children with their reading, they play games such as
scrabble with them and they provide companionship as they share their life
"This is an opportunity for a child to
have one hour of uninterrupted time with a caring adult," says Jane
Lahage, assistant director, Housing for the Elderly. "We along with
our partners are making a difference in Pennsylvania. Reading Buddies was
featured in a two-part news report on Action News 6, an ABC local affiliate,
the presentations of the clips gave the workshop attendees an opportunity
to grasp the essence of the project.
"Our partners help to make Reading Buddies
so successful," says Lahage. "Reading Buddies meets the needs
of the children and the elderly. "One by one we are all making a difference
in the life of a child."
Oxford Terrace in San Diego, California is
a "Community of helping hands." The 132-unit Section 8 and Section
202 facility not only provides a home for the residents but it provides
a community that they can be proud of to call home. Some of the services
that Oxford Terrace provides include a computer learning center, CPR and
first aid classes, social events, medical services, English as a second
language program and transportation.
The Valley Manor residents in Pine Grove,
West Virginia took matters in their own hands and created a resident council
to address concerns in their development. "Doing your best is all you
can do with anything," says Donna Lasure, secretary of the Valley Manor
Resident Council. Before the Resident Council, citizens of Valley Manor
had little to keep them occupied. Now, they are involved in fundraisers,
parties, picnics, and the money raised is used to help less fortunate residents
and donated to local charities.
"There are few people to help us so we
help ourselves," says Lasure. "We know how hard it is to want
something and not have the money to do it, so that is why we give to our
Facilitator Shaun Donovan, deputy assistant
secretary for Multifamily Housing Programs concludes the session by explaining
that HUD is aware of the needs of housing facilities across the country
and is taking the steps necessary to obtain funds to help.
"Were here to celebrate you but
we are also here to learn from you. This session is terrific because it
shows that HUD is learning from you," says Donovan. "What we have
learnt is that housing is more than just sticks and bricks. It is about
providing services to make these houses homes."