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2000 Best Practice Symposium

Workshop Session Summary:
Affordable Housing Track

Successful Resident Services


Milan Ozdinec, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, HUD


Jane Lahage, Housing for the Elderly at Presby Homes & Services, Philadelphia, PA
Wendy Tarantino, Oxford Terrace Apartments, San Diego, CA
Donna Lasure, Valley Manor Resident Council, Pine Grove, WV

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 experiences.

"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 residents.

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.

"We’re 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."

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Content Archived: April 20, 2011

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