Housing For Frail Elders Called Model for the Future

DC Housing Authority

The District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) has opened a $5 million, state-of-the-art, affordable assisted living facility and officials are calling the innovative project a “working model” for future housing for poor and frail city residents.
Residents of the 14-unit, three-story facility, located at 2905 11th Street, NW, will not only receive low-cost housing, but the 24-hour medical care and services they need, speakers explained at a recent celebration held to mark the opening of the building.
Across the country, as America’s Baby Boom generation ages, housing authorities have faced challenges associated with meeting the healthcare needs of increasing numbers of medically fragile elders.
In Washington, offering the level of medical services needed by some frail public housing residents was cost prohibitive until the DCHA applied to the US Department of Health Care Finance and obtained a Medicaid provider’s certification and subsidy, officials said.
“We are entering into the affordable assisted living market in the District because there is a need,” said DCHA Board Chairman Pedro Alfonso. “Between the statistics on aging and the number of District residents who have physical disabilities, we will continue to see an increased need for these types of services.”
The project’s model combines rental subsidies from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Medicaid reimbursements and other revenues to provide the crucial services. The DCHA has partnered with Mia Senior Living, an assisted living facility operator, to run the daily operations at the facility.
DC Council Member Jim Graham said the new facility is “unique in the sense that funding has come from many sources and low-income residents are able to get a higher quality of care in a comfortable environment.”
The newly renovated facility provides residents with their own in-home kitchenette and individual AC/heating unit within their 200-square-foot apartment. The building houses a commercial kitchen that provides three meals a day along with a communal eating area for residents. Additionally, the facility includes a shared recreational space, management office space, laundry room and wellness center. The assisted living home has a consultant Registered Nurse who provides added clinical support and oversight to assist the 24-hour staff of health aides.
Jeanne Blue, the administrator at the assisted living facility, said the goal of staff “is to provide a level of care and service that will equal the beauty of the building DCHA has provided.” Blue believes the success of the facility will open the door to more affordable assisted living spaces in the future.
The development was primarily funded through grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Department of Housing and Community Development, and D.C. Housing Enterprises.
The building is currently at 80% capacity and applications are still being processed. DCHA hopes to have the building fully occupied in the coming weeks.

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