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Residents Advocate for Affordable Housing Funds


More than 100 residents came together to support the 4th Annual Affordable Housing

Doris Pitts considers her home, Allen Temple Arms, to be a miracle. And she wants others to experience that miracle, too.

“I don’t know what would have happened had they not allowed me to move here,” she says. “I didn’t have enough money to eat or pay rent.”

That’s why Pitts, together with more than 100 residents, rallied for the 4th Annual Affordable Housing Resident Advocacy Day in Sacramento, Calif.

The event, led by LeadingAge California, included ABHOW residents from San Leandro’s Broadmoor Plaza, Oakland’s Allen Temple Arms I and II and Livermore’s Vineyard Village who shared their emotional, real-life stories with state legislators. They were joined by residents from Christian Church Homes of Northern Calif., PEP Housing, Southern California Methodist Retirement Foundation and the Albert Einstein Residence Center.

“It’s so empowering for them and for their confidence,” says Donna Griggs-Murphy, Allen Temple Arms’ resident services coordinator. “They feel like they’re actually part of the process — they’re not just receiving help, they’re actually involved in saving, strengthening and making affordable housing even stronger.”

Participants’ efforts to garner legislative support for affordable housing funding proved successful. The state legislature approved $100 million in 2014-2015 funding for affordable multi-family housing and allocated 20 percent of future cap-and-trade revenues to affordable housing and sustainable communities. As a result, funds will assist affordable housing providers with needed new communities, repairs and redevelopment.

There are more than one million seniors currently within the guidelines for “worst-case housing needs” and increasingly more seniors are falling below the poverty level, according to research from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

And the experience wasn’t just a chance to support residents – but an opportunity for legislators to learn about the value of older adults in their communities as well.

“For the legislators, it’s an appeal for them to understand that our seniors are a very great resource for our state,” says Ancel Romero, ABHOW’s senior vice president of affordable housing. “They’ve worked really hard all of their lives, and their need of this valuable assistance is merely one thing. To have seniors engaged in vibrant communities in this stage of their lives, what they can give back to their communities, the state and to the country is immeasurable given their various experiences and wisdom.”

For Pitts, the opportunity meant doing her part to help affordable housing residents – and to give thanks.

“The Oakland community is just so marvelous for me,” she says. “The people are just like family, and it’s just beautiful.”

Broadmoor Plaza is a part of Beacon Communities. To learn more about it, click here.