Permanent Supportive Housing to experience transition, growth in 2017

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An architect rendering of the Commons at South Cumminsville, a National Church Residences Permanent Supportive Housing community that will break ground in Cincinnati later this year.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

National Church Residences’ Permanent Supportive Housing portfolio is set to experience both transition and growth in 2017.

With the retirement of Dave Kayuha, the organization’s longtime Chief Administrative Officer who has overseen PSH since its inception in 2003, a plan was put in place to transition the portfolio into Affordable Housing under the direction of Steve Bodkin.

“I’m proud to be part of Permanent Supportive Housing, a mission that serves such a critically vulnerable population,” said Steve, who is the Chief Operating Officer of National Church Residences Housing Division. “I look forward to working with this dedicated, talented, and caring staff to continue driving mission impact.”

Since the Commons at Grant became National Church Residences’ first Permanent Supportive Housing community, the portfolio has expanded to nine PSH communities with a total of 885 units in Columbus, Toledo and Atlanta.

In 2017 the program will expand yet again when Cincinnati’s Commons at South Cumminsville breaks ground.

“Commons at South Cumminsville is the result of a long history of National Church Residences trying to build Permanent Supportive Housing in Cincinnati. It dates back to 2008,” said Amy Rosenthal, National Church Residences Senior Project Leader. “We’ve had our struggles and hiccups, but now we have a home in a community that has welcomed us.”

Commons at South Cumminsville will house 80 PSH units in a building located on Herron Avenue in the northern Cincinnati neighborhood.

“We have a non-profit, Working in Neighborhoods, that has been a great help to us,” Amy said. “Now we have this welcoming community that sees the need for supportive housing in Cincinnati and see that this project will put a positive spotlight on their community, too. They really understand how our supportive housing communities change people’s lives.”

The $15 million new construction project is expected to break ground sometime in late 2017.

National Church Residences’ Dallas keeping people mobile – and laughing

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National Church Residences Transportation Manager Judy Dallas performs stand-up comedy at the Columbus Funny Bone comedy club.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS — Whether it’s driving a Greyhound bus or coordinating a fleet of busses to transport seniors, Judy Dallas knows that some things are universal.

“In transportation it’s all the same,” she said. “It’s people. They have to trust you. It’s different and it’s the same.”

Years back when Judy drove a Greyhound for a living, she made frequent short trips that kept her relatively close to her home and her daughter.

“You can only drive for 10 hours. I could get as far as 10 hours would take me,” she said. “Columbus to St. Louis and then go to bed. Tennessee, Chicago, Pittsburgh. I really stayed Midwest. I had a child at home.”

Today, with her daughter grown up (and also a National Church Residences employee), Judy said that it would be a different story.

“I’d be going to California, Florida, anywhere!” she said. “Once you get to a place you can just hang out there and make your way back home. But then there’s the whole thing of living out of a suitcase, literally.”

To make a little bit of extra money back in those days, Judy worked nights as a stand-up comedienne.

“I used to do comedy in the 90s with people like Sinbad and Cedric the Entertainer. We were just doing local clubs,” she said. “I was just a single parent doing it for the extra money. They wanted me to go on the road with them, but I had to stay home and be responsible.”

Eventually Judy owned her own transportation business. But when it fell on hard times she came to work for National Church Residences.

Judy initially joined the organization to drive one of the busses that serve the clients of National Church Residences Center for Senior Health.

Today, as the Transportation Manager, she is driving the efforts of the whole transportation department as it moves toward expanding its services to a wider group.

“We are now fundraising,” Judy said.

Beginning in the New Year, the transportation team in central Ohio will start fundraising with the goal of amassing $10,000 to go toward providing more transportation options for seniors.

“We want to be able to provide transportation to, not only our buildings, although they will be the main recipients, but to other apartments as well,” Judy said. “We will be doing different types of fundraising. Our drivers will be doing payroll deductions. We want to do a (fundraiser) later in the year. We have some vendors and corporate sponsors that will help.”

Judy estimated that a trip using a bus that holds 14 people costs around $170 each way.

“They send us a request and they can use the funds from our foundation to provide transportation for that group,” she said. “If a building wants to do more transportation, they can hold a fundraiser. If they can raise at least $100, we will match it and provide the transportation.”

Donations to help fund the transportation services can be sent to the attention of Van Ambrose, Vice President of National Church Residences Foundations, at the home office with the specification that it is for “CSH Transportation.”

Judy said that in Columbus and Franklin County, National Church Residences currently has the area’s largest transportation fleet – next to COTA (Central Ohio Transit Authority).

“Currently we have 30 vehicles,” she said. “We’ve always had more, but some of them were older. We had to retire faster than we could acquire. But we have 23 busses right now along with seven other vehicles. And one-third of our fleet runs on propane, which makes us certified as a ‘Green Fleet.’”

Where the larger busses get about 8 mpg, Judy said that some of the newer, smaller, vehicles get as many as 22 mpg.

“We have a diversified fleet and we’ve gone with more economical vehicles,” she said.

Having as large of an impact on transportation needs as National Church Residences does, Judy joined forces with the Ohio Transportation Equity Coalition in December to ask Ohio Governor John Kasich, “to increase Ohio’s investment in accessible, affordable and sustainable transportation options.”

In the letter sent to the Governor’s office, it is highlighted that Ohio currently ranks 47th nationally in its commitment to public transportation and cites a study from the Ohio Department of Transportation that said Ohio needs $192.4 million in capital and $96.7 million in operating funds to meet existing needs.

“We’re part of a movement and trying to make a difference in the state of Ohio,” Judy said.

A little more than a year ago, Judy returned to the stand-up comedy stage as well – this time as a gospel comedienne who tells clean jokes only.

“I had lost my business and my home and my fiancée died. I turned to my faith,” she said. “God spoke to me. I wanted to teach Sunday school or something. God spoke to me and said to go back to stand-up comedy. I was like, no, this isn’t funny.”

Over the past few months Judy has been booked to perform  around 15 shows – including at the Columbus Funny Bone – and she’s done it all without trying to promote herself.

“It’s all been word of mouth,” she said. “I like to say that God is my promoter.”

First Community Village offers residents a personal path to wellness

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Jackie Metro, Director of Wellness at First Community Village, teaches a tai chi class for residents in December.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – When Dale and Glinna Fretwell arrived at First Community Village in September 2014, Dale was in bad shape.

“He got a blood infection in Florida,” Glinna recalled. “He was in bed for so long, he just lost his muscle strength. When he left the hospital we went to a rehab center. We were just very unhappy there.”

Natives of Virginia, the Fretwells had retired to Florida many years before. But now, with Dale’s illness, the difficulty of being on their own – and in a facility that did not meet their needs – made life particularly hard.

One of their daughters suggested that they consider moving into a community closer to where she lived in Columbus.

“There were four or five places that she visited,” Glinna said. “She has two little boys that came with her and she would ask them what they thought of each place. They told her First Community Village was their favorite. She asked them why. They said because they had candy at the front desk. It’s the little things that are important.”

In addition to the candy, First Community Village had the support services the facility in Florida was lacking.

“We put (Dale) on a plane in Tampa and we brought him straight here,” Glinna said, sitting just outside the physical therapy rooms at First Community Village. “The difference here is night and day. We hadn’t been here 30 minutes when a physical therapist came in and gave him an evaluation.”

“We offer a wellness assessment and we look at each new member holistically and determine their individual needs,” said Jackie Metro, the Director of Wellness at First Community Village. “We work specifically on whatever their needs for improvement are and work to get them to their optimal level of fitness.”

Dale spent about three months in physical therapy before he was able to get back on his feet and move into the manor home the Fretwells purchased.

“This place practically saved my husband’s life,” Glinna said. “He is so thankful for the good healthcare that we have had here.”

First Community Village has always had a wellness program, but in early 2016 National Church Residences enhanced what it had to offer.

“We expanded the program,” said Sarah Dalton Ortlieb, National Church Residences Vice President of Rehab Services. “We wanted to do wellness from all the domains, not just physical, but intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational and environmental. We wanted to have more comprehensive wellness opportunities for the residents there.”

“I am able to tailor their care and make it appropriate to what they need,” Jackie said. “I like to think of it as a nice cycle. There is always a place for each resident.”

For residents who need the most care there is physical therapy. For those who need less, there are group exercise classes and activities.

“You can go from physical therapy and graduate into a group exercise,” Jackie said.

Between five-to-eight classes are offered each weekday at First Community Village, ranging from aqua aerobics in the pool, balance classes, tai chi, yoga, dance, range of motion classes and classes specifically for those with Parkinson’s disease.

“We are regulars at the gym. We use it three days a week,” said Glinna. “And we love the pool. We use it three days a week. It has kept us walking, literally. My husband has had both knees replaces and I had knee surgery, too.”

Jackie said that since the expanded services became available, she has seen a 45 percent increase in the number of physical therapy visits and a 35 percent boost in the number of participants who come to the fitness center.

“We love it here,” Glinna said. “They care for you and go out of their way to make sure you are as comfortable as you can get.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Home for Life’ to expand and serve Columbus’ Near East Side

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Christine Leyshon, National Church Residences Community Program Manager, and Rosemary Mathes, National Church Residences Service Coordinator, will be part of the team that will bring Home for Life to Columbus’ Near East Side seniors.

COLUMBUS, Ohio ­– The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation has awarded a Healthy Aging Initiative grant in the amount of $254,209 to National Church Residences to help the organization expand the Home for Life program to residents of Columbus’ Near East Side.

“The project is a combination of strategies,” said Jeff Wolf, National Church Residences Senior Vice President of Philanthropy and Mission Impact. “It expands the reach of our Home for Life model to seniors who live outside of our affordable housing properties, while the model itself is an innovation designed to help seniors in the community age in place.”

The Healthy Aging Initiative grant, administered over a two-year span, will touch the lives of nearly 700 at-risk Franklin County seniors. According to Wolf, “The grant is significant beyond its financial investment. A partnership with the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation provides an opportunity to launch innovative solutions that encourage community collaboration and the development of replicable programming.”

“The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation is proud to partner with National Church Residences to share the Home for Life program with residents of Columbus’ Near East Side,” said Susan Beaudry, Director of Programs at the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. “This innovative program has great potential to provide older, vulnerable adults with the care and support needed to remain in their homes and communities of their choice.”

National Church Residences’ Home for Life program is an outcomes-focused service model, using evidence-based assessments and evaluation tools to identify an individual’s needs and risk factors. By engaging those we serve where they live, Home for Life can identify and overcome social determinant factors that impact an individual’s ability to best manage their chronic diseases, leading to higher satisfaction and engagement, better health and cost savings.

“The objective is to improve access to care and self-management skills of older vulnerable populations by giving them the tools to understand and manage their own care, allowing them to remain in their homes as they age,” said Wolf.

This program will bring the Home for Life model to seniors on Columbus’ Near East Side who do not reside in a National Church Residences facility. The focus is on an area that surrounds the Champion Intergenerational Enrichment and Education Center, at 240 N. Champion Ave.

Free program helps Permanent Supportive Housing residents train for careers in IT

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Commons at Livingston resident Tyren Thompson graduated from the Per Scholas program in Columbus on March 11. Here he received his certificate and pin from instructor James Miao.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS, Ohio — About a year ago Tyren Thompson was facing some tough times.

“I had lost my apartment in May 2015. I was struggling for a little while,” he said. “Then someone suggested I set up an appointment with National Church Residences.”

Tyren, a United States Army veteran, quickly found a new home at Commons at Livingston, National Church Residences’ Permanent Supportive Housing facility in Columbus that is dedicated to providing housing for formerly homeless military veterans.

“They put me in with other veterans and I was thrilled with that,” Tyren said. “It’s been a great experience. They have a lot of services that are offered.”

Among those services available is career training.

Delrita Parks, the Employment Coordinator for National Church Residences Permanent Supportive Housing residents, suggested to Tyren that he enroll in Information Technology classes in a program called Per Scholas.

“Per Scholas is a national nonprofit organization that trains people for life-changing careers at IT professionals,” Delrita said. “The program’s focus is on helping unemployed and underemployed people get a career started in IT, which leads to their A+ certification and assistance in job placement with local companies and IT staffing agencies.”

Tyren graduated the program on March 11, 2016 and participated in the Graduation and Pinning Ceremony at the Per Scholas facility in Columbus.

After graduation he had a moment to reflect on the hard work he put in over the last year.

“I’ve worked very vigorously to get this done,” he said. “Getting up early, studying hard, all of those things.”

In his life, Tyren, who is 32-years old, has always worked hard to overcome adversity. He arrived in Columbus a decade ago from his native Louisiana after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Now that he has graduated, Tyren said his next goal is to land a job in his field.

“Per Scholar benefits our residents because it’s a free program and trains for jobs that exist in a given market based on market data,” Delrita said. “This program is ideal for any resident who has been economically displaced but has the drive and aptitude to succeed in IT. National Church Residences is proud to have graduates from Per Scholas.”

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Deltrita Parks, National Church Residences Employment Coordinator, Tyren Thompson, Sara Perrotta, National Church Residences Case Manager, and Crystal Branch-Parms, National Church Residences Team Leader.

 

The Happiest Place in Housing! Dayton’s Lyons Place II

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Lyons Place II Property Manager Shari Hoosier (center) and her happy residents. Lyons Place II, located in Dayton, Ohio, has the best overall resident satisfaction rating in all of National Church Residences affordable housing properties.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                                 lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

DAYTON, Ohio — Walt Disney may not appreciate calling it, “The Happiest Place on Earth,” but it is certainly the most satisfied spot in all of National Church Residences.

Lyons Place II, a 55-unit affordable senior housing facility managed by National Church Residences located on the campus of the Dayton (Ohio) VA Hospital, celebrated its first anniversary in April with the knowledge that it has the highest overall customer satisfaction rating in all of the organization’s properties.

“Imagine that,” said Francis Jensen, a Navy veteran and the very first resident of Lyons Place II.  “This is a wonderful place to live. From the get-go it’s been a Godsend. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

A nationwide survey based on nine components – readiness to solve problems, responsiveness, property appearance/condition, quality of management services, quality of leasing services, quality of maintenance service, property rating, relationship rating and renewal intention – gave Lyons Place II an overall satisfaction percentage of 97.1 percent.

“This translates to happy residents and speaks clearly to our Mission,” said Pam Monroe, National Church Residences Vice President of Property Management. “This quality and level of service is a key factor in building customer loyalty and keep them at the property.”

Shari Hoosier was hired in February 2015 to become the Property Manager at Lyons Place II – bringing with her 17 years of experience in the housing field.

“My philosophy is to try to make it a place where I would want to live,” Shari said. “I wanted a place with a great quality of life and a peaceful environment where people get along and they help each other.”

Being located on the grounds of a VA hospital, Lyons Place II naturally attracted several military veterans to become residents.

“I came for an appointment at the VA and I saw they were building here,” said Melvin Garland, a Marine veteran who moved in last April. “I checked into it at the VA and they got me hooked up. It’s a good location. It’s a safe building. We look out for each other and we have a good time.”

Shari said that several of her residents had struggled with homelessness or had lived in places where they weren’t free to live the way they wanted.

“They did not have their independence,” she said. “This building gave them their independence back. It’s theirs. And it’s an independent environment.”

“The word ‘independent,’ that is a blessing. They don’t hover over you. They’re a helping hand when you need it,” said Harold Owens, Sr., who moved in shortly after the building opened.  “You can go to bed a 9 if you want. You don’t have to turn the TV off. I can watch SportsCenter as much as I want to. I do whatever I want to. For a few years you can say I’m doing it my way!”

Charles Wright, a retired business owner who just turned 80, said that he’d lived in other facilities in Dayton, but he never felt at home until he arrived at Lyons Place II in July.

“I couldn’t get acquainted with others (at the other buildings). I came here and within a week’s time I had the whole building around me,” he said. “My kids told me, ‘Dad, it’s really nice to see you happy again.’”

Shari said that a big part of what she and the rest of the staff at Lyons Place II try to do every day is to let the residents know they’re cared for.

“Showing love. Just the act of kindness. Asking how they’re doing. Asking if they need any help,” she said. “If they feel loved, they show love to each other.”

“I’ve been half-way around the world and that’s the one thing that is world-renowned: kindness,” Harold said. “One morning I was depressed and I was coming out of my apartment and I passed by the maintenance guy and he just said something nice to me. It uplifted me. I told him thank you. He didn’t even know why.”

Charles agreed that the staff at Lyons Place II makes all the difference.

“The staff here, no way in the world you could beat this staff. No good reason to even try,” he said. “If you have a problem, they’re on it like stink on a skunk.”

Shari said that when she accepted the position at Lyons Place II she prayed that the people who needed this positive environment the most would find it.

“I got the unique opportunity to meet every resident as they applied. I prayed that God send the people who truly need to be here,” she said. “Since we’ve been here, every service that we’ve needed we’ve gotten. People have donated clothes, food. Every need has been met. That’s a blessing.”

Thinking about the last year he’s spent at Lyons Place II, Francis had one final thought.

“I ain’t going nowhere else but here,” he said. “I’m home. That’s it.”

Bonnie and Jane: A Care Guide success story

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Bonnie Dietz, a resident at Birchwood Apartments in Greeley, Colorado, and Jane Schwarz, a National Church Residences Service Coordinator, pose for a photo after sharing their Care Guide success story.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                              lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

GREELEY, Colorado – Bonnie Dietz and her friends often gather in the lounge at Birchwood Apartments to play cards.

One afternoon nearly three months ago, Jane Schwarz, the building’s National Church Residences Service Coordinator, stopped by the group to check in.

“The lounge is right outside of Jane’s office,” Bonnie said. “She came out and talked to me for a minute and she said, ‘when you get finished with your card game, I want to talk to you.’”

Jane had a question for Bonnie that, at the time, seemed odd. However, it turned out to be a question that may have saved Bonnie’s life.

“Out of the blue she said, ‘have you seen a urologist?’” Bonnie said. “I thought, what’s going on? I have had a bit of kidney problems along with my diabetes. I didn’t know Jane was interested in this. I knew she knew about it. But I puzzled over it for a while. I thought it must just be something she needs to know.”

What Jane was doing was utilizing Care Guide, National Church Residences’ innovative program designed to create better long-term health care outcomes for our residents.

“Sometimes I pull up Care Guide and just look at what I wrote last quarter and I ask residents if they’re still going through the same things. I ask them, ‘are you still doing this or that?’ Or ‘are you still on the same amounts of this medication?’ Or just, ‘how are you feeling?’” Jane said. “Then sometimes they start telling you more about other things.”

Because of Jane’s question, Bonnie decided it might be time for a visit to her primary care physician for a check-up.

“It did instigate me to call and make an appointment,” Bonnie said. “I went in to see him on Feb. 1. He said my diabetes is fine and my blood pressure is fine. They took some lab work. Then he called the next day and said get over to the nephrology clinic because you’ve got some problems.”

Bonnie went to see the nephrologist – a doctor that specializes in kidney care – and found out some shocking news.

“I went over there and they tested my kidneys,” she said. “They said I was down to 30 percent of my function. Anything below that and you have to start thinking about dialysis.”

Shortly after hearing this diagnosis, Bonnie made an appointment with Jane to help her figure out Colorado’s Food Tax Rebate paperwork.

“I thought I was in trouble. She said, ‘first, I want to talk to you,’” Jane said. “She asked me why I had asked her about kidney disease. I explained that it was one of the chronic conditions that we follow up on in Care Guide.”

“I didn’t know that the Service Coordinator did that,” Bonnie said. “She was so tickled that her question had spurred me to go and see the doctor.”

Bonnie’s primary care physician gave her some recommendations on how to help strengthen her kidneys and avoid having to start dialysis.

Bonnie, who is 83 years old, has lived in a few different senior citizen apartment complexes.

“I was a cook in hospitals and nursing homes when I lived in Kansas,” she said. “Before that we were farmers. We had a farm and raised a family here (in Colorado).”

After her husband of 33 years passed away, Bonnie chose to move into an apartment. It wasn’t until she arrived at Birchwood Apartments, however, that she was introduced to a Service Coordinator.

“It’s really helpful,” she said. “There’s so much paperwork and things anymore that she can help me with. I don’t have a car and have to find transportation. It really is a help to have her here. She provides workshops during the week for different things. Right now there’s a living healthy workshop that comes once a week and we go attend that. It’s a real help.”

Jane said that as a National Church Residences Service Coordinator, it was exciting to see the work she does pay off in such a direct way.

“Sometimes it’s hard to see an action when you’re helping somebody because you don’t see the reaction,” she said. “In this case I did and I saw it come full-circle. It was exciting for me to see that take shape.”

Birchwood Apartments is a 173-resident senior apartment complex that has a Service Coordination contract with National Church Residences. Jane said that when Care Guide was first introduced, residents initially had some questions. But today they full embrace the positive impact it has had on their overall health.

“Just having the discussions with them prompts them to think about their health and more forward and talk to their doctor about it,” Jane said. “Bonnie is really good about advocating for herself and she took some action.”