Connecting Residents to Community Resources and Support is a Priority for Sustainable Housing for Ageless Generations (SHAG)

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SHAG's program is distinctive in affordable housing

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Our mission is to empower residents experiencing barriers by connecting them to community resources and building support that foster independence and sustain their living. I am proud to say our mission is succeeding with stories of success across all our communities.” said Jay Woolford, SHAG Executi

Older Americans face challenges on many fronts, at the top of the list is affordable housing. As one of the nation’s largest providers of affordable senior living communities, Sustainable Housing for Ageless Generations (SHAG) encounters daily the struggles by older Americans to stay in their homes and continue to live vibrant, independent lives. To help residents with this goal, SHAG instituted the SHAG Foundation and employs a dedicated staff to support residents needing help with basic day-to-day needs: wellness, transportation, nutrition and coordinating their health care needs. This is a departure from most affordable housing providers, but one SHAG knew was essential to its mission.

“We began the Foundation with the intent to help our residents age in place with dignity and respect at SHAG. Our mission is to empower residents experiencing barriers by connecting them to community resources and building support that foster independence and sustain their living. I am proud to say our mission is succeeding with stories of success across all our communities,” said Jay Woolford, SHAG Executive Director

In 2012, SHAG created the Foundation to focus on supporting residents’ independence in their SHAG communities. Within the Foundation, Resident Service Coordinators (RSCs) facilitate solutions by assisting residents in identifying community resources that promote and sustain their independence.

“For many residents, RSCs are the conduit between themselves and the community at large in terms of understanding and accessing programs and services for them. Also, they serve as advocate for residents helping them navigate the many challenges of life,” said Ruben Rivera-Jackman, Director of Resident Services for SHAG.

SHAG’s RSCs work with residents and their social support networks, case workers, volunteers, community groups, and Community Managers to identify solutions and connect residents to needed supports and services. This also includes educating and empowering residents to navigate health and human services systems as well as others.

RSCs assist with:

  • Financial assistance
  • Healthcare options
  • Nutrition and food insecurity
  • Transportation options
  • Veteran benefits and services
  • Welcoming new residents
  • Link to community health and human services
  • Provide information about and referrals for community resources
  • Facilitate conflict resolution
  • Assist with the completion of SHAG and non-SHAG paperwork
  • Advocate for affordable housing
  • Facilitate questions and support regarding lease agreements

The benefits of RSCs are apparent in the many success stories found amongst SHAG residents.

  • A resident* at a SHAG community was facing a move-out due to a lack of funds. In discussing her situation with her RSC, the widow disclosed that her husband had been a Veteran. With this knowledge, the RSC worked with SHAG’s VA Outreach Coordinator Jonathan Johnson (who also a SHAG resident and an Army Veteran). Jonathan determined she was entitled to home health care and the VA paid for her residence at SHAG, which enabled her to continue living in her SHAG home. The SHAG team identified a benefit she had no idea she was entitled to.
  • Hoarding or High Clutter is a growing concern in senior housing, which results in serious safety and security issues for older adults who live with this mental health challenge. SHAG has an award-winning program in place, created and led by RSC Ashley Kraft. Successful, established protocols and systems are in place across the company to address this problem, and Ashley has become a recognized speaker on the topic.
  • Long-term care needs are common amongst older Americans whose health begins to deteriorate. Key to aging in place is getting help to perform tasks such as personal care, cooking, shopping and errands. For a resident at Arrowhead Gardens, this is just what was needed to stay living independently at SHAG. Her RSC connected her with in-home care and services, which enabled her to maintain her independence with a just little help.

“It’s gratifying to see the essential work our RSCs perform daily for our residents. We know we are not only sustaining their homes but sustaining their quality of life through the many programs and resources available to them,” adds Ruben.

About SHAG
Sustainable Housing for Ageless Generations ("SHAG") is a private Washington state non-profit corporation dedicated to providing quality, affordable independent living opportunities for older adults. It operates tax-credit communities licensed by the state of Washington to provide affordable senior housing. In addition to promoting sustainable apartment lifestyles for older adults, SHAG's mission is to enhance and enrich residents’ lives and support their ability to live and remain independent as they age. Formed in 1988, SHAG has become the largest operator of affordable senior living communities in the State of Washington, with over 250 employees supporting twenty-nine (29) communities serving more than 5,500 residents throughout the Puget Sound region. For more information visit https://www.housing4seniors.com.

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Stacia Kirby
Kirby Communications
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