News & Press Releases

Stop Treating Older Adults as Third-Class Citizens When It Comes to Affordable Housing, Local Seniors Urge Congress at Senior Housing Now Rally

Only 1 in 3 eligible seniors receive housing assistance;
Older adults on limited incomes in the greater D.C. region have few places to live

Washington DC — May 8, 2019 – More than 100 empowered elder residents from Fellowship Square affordable housing properties in Maryland and Virginia gathered at the U.S. Capitol today to urge Congress to protect and expand affordable housing for older adults. These seniors joined their voices with hundreds of other Americans of advanced age from across the country as part of the Senior Housing Now rally.

The need for affordable housing for older adults has exploded nationally and locally. Older adults represent 66% of the recent increase in “worst case housing needs” households, according to a recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report.

Only 1 in 3 low-income seniors (34%) receive the housing assistance they are eligible for because the programs are small compared to real need. Concerningly, with housing and rental costs soaring and health care costs rising, older adults are at greater risk of homelessness than at any time in recent history, according to Justice in Aging.

To address this trend, the Senior Housing Now rally urged Congress to:

  • Protect and expand HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly programthat provides capital advances and operating assistance to finance the development of housing for elderly residents. (see specific policy requests)
  • Protect and expandHUD’s Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program providing rental housing to low-income households in privately owned and managed rental units. The program currently enables housing for 1.2 million households; two-thirds of which are older adults or people with disabilities. (see policy requests)

“Seniors of limited means used to be able to stay in their homes or downsize into rental apartments. Today in our area, however, older renters get squeezed out as rents have exploded. Housing costs are at an all-time high in our region, resulting in fewer and fewer options for seniors on limited incomes. Current funding levels for affordable housing are not keeping pace with demand. The lack of expanded federal funding translates into older adults being treated as third-class citizens, as only one-third of eligible low-income seniors currently receiving housing assistance,” said Christy Zeitz, CEO of Fellowship Square, a co-host of the rally. Fellowship Square’s 670 apartments across four communities in Northern Virginia and Maryland provide housing and support services for 800 low-income older residents.

The Senior Housing NOW rally was organized by aging education/advocacy organization Leading Age and co-hosted locally by Fellowship Square with other housing and service providers for older adults.

Quotes from Fellowship Square residents at the rally:

 “As I grew older, I was unable to get up and down the stairs in my house. A few times, I fell on the stairs. I knew I could no longer live there safely, but as I looked around for one-level apartments I realized I had few options. I was on an affordable housing waitlist for nearly 4 years as my physical health was declining. With my apartment now, I am able to stay close to my church community. While I can no longer drive, I have transportation provided so I can get my groceries and medical appointments. I’m out here today to show Congress that the funding given to affordable housing for seniors like me has real-world, real-life impact. I’m here to make sure that others can also have access to affordable housing options, without a four year waitlist. I may be growing old and I may be slowing down, but I know a closed mouth never gets fed. So I am here at the rally to use my voice and share my opinion! Congress needs to understand the importance of these programs and support them.”

  • Sadie McLemore, 84, Fellowship Square’s Hunter Woods community in Reston, VA

“Local rents are so much higher than my monthly benefits check. I’d been living with my adult daughter for several years. When she had a scare in a near-miss car accident, I realized that if anything ever happened to my daughter, I could end up on the street with no place to live. That scared me. It took two years on a waitlist for me to get into an affordable housing apartment for seniors. I had to sell my car as I couldn’t afford car payments and car insurance. Now, I have a place to live that has an active community of residents my age, and that provides bus transportation to help me do my errands and get to appointments. I’m one of the lucky ones. There are millions of others of older adults like me who face the very scary reality of ending up on the streets without the assistance of affordable housing. Congress can do something about this, and that is why I am going to the Senior Housing Now rally.”

  • Veronica Gaither, 75, Fellowship Square’s Largo Landing community in Largo, MD

About Fellowship Square:

Fellowship Square is a nonprofit organization that advocates for and provides safe, secure, and affordable homes and an array of supportive services for a diverse population of low-income seniors and persons with disabilities. Our communities foster independence, dignity, and healthy and vibrant lifestyles. Fellowship Square operates four properties providing housing for seniors over age 62 with limited incomes, as well as persons with disabilities: Lake Anne Fellowship House (Reston, VA); Hunters Woods Fellowship House (Reston, VA); Lake Ridge Fellowship House (Woodbridge, VA); Largo Landing Fellowship House (Upper Marlboro, MD). For more information on Fellowship Square housing options, volunteer opportunities or donations, visit fellowshipsquare.org, call 703.860.2536 or email info@fellowshipsquare.org.

Media contact:  Shelley Ducker, 202.255.0561

    More than 100 empowered older adults from Fellowship Square’s senior affordable housing communities in Reston, Va., Woodbridge, Va., and Largo, Md. urged Congress to protect and expand affordable housing funding for seniors at the “Senior Housing Now!” rally on Capitol Hill. Only 1 in 3 low-income seniors (34%) receive the housing assistance they are eligible for because the programs are small compared to real need. With housing and rental costs soaring and health care costs rising, older adults today are at greater risk of homelessness than at any time in recent history.

    Sadie McLemore, 84, of Fellowship Square’s Hunter Woods affordable housing community in Reston, Va., participated in the May 8th Senior Housing Now rally on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to expand affordable housing for low-income seniors like her. Sadie needed to downsize from the Reston-area house where she raised her family when she could no longer navigate the stairs, then spent four years on a waitlist to get into affordable housing because of the scarcity of units in the region.

    “I’m out here today to show Congress that the funding given to affordable housing programs for seniors like me has real-world, real-life impact. I’m here to make sure that others can also have access to affordable housing options, without a four year waitlist. I may be growing old and I may be slowing down, but I know a closed mouth never gets fed. So I’m here at the rally to use my voice and share my opinion! Congress needs to understand the importance of these programs and support them.”

    Residents of Fellowship Square’s Maryland and Virginia housing communities for low-income seniors urged lawmakers to expand affordable housing programs for older adults by participating in the Senior Housing Now rally on Capitol Hill on May 8. Veronica Gaither, 75, of Largo, Md. stood ready to rally alongside other residents from her Largo Landing community.

    “It took two years on a waitlist for me to get into an affordable housing apartment for seniors. I’m one of the lucky ones. There are millions of others of older adults like me who face the very scary reality of ending up on the streets without the assistance of affordable housing. Congress can do something about this, and that is why I am going to the Senior Housing Now rally.”

    Additional photos available. Email Shelley Ducker or call
    202-255-0561.



    HOW ONE DONATION IMPACTED MANY LIVES

    New safety products installed in residents’ bathrooms at Hunters Woods Fellowship House

    November 11, 2017

    RESTON, VA — In a housing community with over 200 residents, one priority remains top of mind: safety for the seniors who live in those units. The Hunters Woods Fellowship House is continually looking for opportunities to ensure its residents are safe in their homes and – because of a grant from SunTrust Foundation – this opportunity was realized thanks to the efforts of staff and volunteers.

    Staff at Fellowship Square coordinated with Rebuilding Together, a leading nonprofit in safe and healthy housing, to install grab bars, showerheads and sets of safety treads for nearly half of the residents living at the Hunters Woods Fellowship House. Initially, leadership at Hunters Woods believed they would only be able to install 106 pieces of equipment, but thanks to the support from SunTrust Foundation and those that came to help install the equipment, they were able to upgrade an additional 23 units with safety features.

    “To the Administration Staff of the HWFH:

    Thank you very much for what you did for me. The handle in my bathtub is very helpful. Now I can get in and out of my shower so much easier, without any fear of possibly falling.

    I appreciate very much your concerns and care. I’ve [sic] very thankful.

    Sincerely,

    Tuyet”

    Fellowship Square made an appeal to SunTrust Foundation with a request for funding to purchase new equipment for the Hunters Woods Fellowship House. Community outreach and involvement is an important cornerstone of Fellowship Square and its efforts to ensure residents not only feel welcome at Hunters Woods, but that safety is important for the well-being of residents.

    “The SunTrust Foundation is committed to supporting activities of nonprofit organizations engaged in efforts designed to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve,” commented Daniel J. O’Neill, Jr., SunTrust Foundation.

    In its continued commitment to its residents, the Fellowship Square strive to work closely with businesses and partners in their communities. They actively engage their residents to gauge their needs and wants to improve the Houses and offer opportunities to enjoy all their surrounding communities have to offer.

    ###

    About Fellowship Square

    Since its beginning in 1960, Fellowship Square Foundation has been committed to serving very low income seniors and people with disabilities by providing safe, secure and affordable homes and an array of supportive services.  Our communities, through mutual support and by facilitating access to services, foster independence, dignity and healthy vibrant lifestyles. Fellowship Square Foundation, a faith-based non-profit organization, owns and operates four properties with 670 units serving over 750 seniors in Northern Virginia and Maryland. Learn more at www.FellowshipSquare.org.

    About SunTrust Foundation

    The SunTrust Foundation is committed to SunTrust Bank’s purpose of Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being by engaging with local and national organizations to advance financial confidence. Grants and activities focus primarily on financial education, financial counseling, career readiness and small business/entrepreneurship, in addition to local community grants. The SunTrust Foundation supports American Red Cross disaster relief efforts and contributes as a United Way Global Corporate Leader. Established in 2008, the SunTrust Foundation has proudly provided grants totaling more than $112 million throughout the United States.

    About Rebuilding Together

    Rebuilding Together is a leading national nonprofit in safe and healthy housing with more than 40 years of experience. Together, with our corporate and community partners, we transform the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes and revitalizing our communities. Rebuilding Together’s local affiliates and nearly 100,000 volunteers complete about 10,000 rebuild projects nationwide each year. Learn more and get involved at www.rebuildingtogether.org.

    Press Contact:
    Rachel Johnson, Program Manager

    rjohnson@fellowshipsquare.org

    (703) 860-2536



    NEW LAKE ANNE FELLOWSHIP HOUSE PLANS MOVE FORWARD

    New building will preserve 240 Affordable Apartments for Low Income Seniors to be Replaced

    June 22, 2017

    RESTON, VA — Fellowship Square Foundation (FSF) and Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC) are moving forward with zoning approval and entitlements needed for the redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House, an affordable senior apartment community located at 11448-11450 North Shore Drive in Reston, VA.

    The planned new construction project will replace all 240 apartment units in the existing 1970’s-era building with a new facility of 240 units.

    “As Reston rents skyrocket, affordable rental opportunities for those seniors and people with disabilities and low incomes are scarce. Fellowship Square is dedicated to ensuring that there will be not just affordable, but state-of-the art housing in our community,” said FSF Board Member Eddie Byrne.

    The new facility is planned for the eastern portion of the property. When it is completed and the residents relocated from the old buildings to the new facility, the existing buildings will be removed and the unused portion of the property will be sold for residential development to support the cost of building the new project. MAC Realty Partners, a local real estate brokerage firm, has recently been selected as a broker for this portion of the site.

    The filing of the entitlements application is targeted for early Fall 2017 and its approval would be followed by final design, building permits and construction. Project completion is targeted for the third quarter of 2021.

    “We are excited about moving this project forward through the necessary County and local approvals,” said CPDC Senior Vice President Christopher LoPiano.

    For more information on Fellowship Square, visit www.fellowshipsquare.org.

    To learn more about CPDC’s affordable housing properties and community development in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia, visit www.cpdc.org.

    About Fellowship Square Foundation (FSF):

    Since its beginning in 1960, Fellowship Square Foundation has been committed to serving very low income seniors and people with disabilities by providing safe, secure and affordable homes and an array of supportive services. Our communities, through mutual support and by facilitating access to services, foster independence, dignity and healthy vibrant lifestyles. Fellowship Square Foundation, a faith-based non-profit organization, owns and operates four properties with 670 units, serving over 750 seniors in Northern Virginia and Maryland.

    About Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC):

    For over 25 years, Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC) has served D.C., MD and VA as a leading not-for-profit real estate developer through the acquisition and redevelopment of award-winning affordable housing. CPDC specializes in mixed-income and mixed-use developments, historic preservation, adaptive reuse and are recognized for innovative financing, green building design and public-private partnerships.

    With more than 9,000 residents in over 5000 apartment homes, CPDC is committed to the long-term success of our portfolio and our residents. We deliver innovative Community Impact Strategies (CIS) designed to help individuals and entire neighborhoods grow and thrive. CPDC is a community developer and proud member of NeighborWorks America, the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

    Press Contacts:

    Fellowship Square Foundation

    Eddie Byrne, Board Member

    esbyrne08@gmail.com

    (703) 298-2292

    Community Preservation and Development Corporation

    Luann Tia Blount

    CPDC, Vice President of External Relations

    lblount(@cpdc.org

    Office: 202.885.9546



    FELLOWSHIP SQUARE FOUNDATION NAMES RESTON’S PAUL HILL AND PRABHA IYER AS “DONOR OF THE YEAR” SUPPORTING HOUSING FOR LOW-INCOME SENIORS

    May 15, 2017

    Fellowship Square Foundation (FSF) has named Paul Hill and Prabha Iyer as “Donor of the Year” for their long-time support. FSF provides affordable housing and an array of support services for 700+ low-income seniors and persons with disabilities in Northern Virginia and Maryland.

    Residents of Reston, Va., Paul and Prabha were introduced to FSF through a Thanksgiving basket drive organized by another local nonprofit organization they are involved with, Cornerstones. “We delivered baskets to some of the residents at Fellowship Square’s Hunters Woods and Lake Anne residences here in Reston, so that gave us a direct window into the lives of the people being served. It’s good to see our donations making a direct impact on the lives of folks in our community,” said Prabha Iyer. Once the couple visited the FSF residences, they realized that they saw many of the residents walking on local trails when they were out walking their dogs. “We like having them as neighbors. This is an expensive area to live in, and we’re happy to help make it more affordable for seniors and disabled individuals.”

    The award was given at Fellowship Square’s annual board and corporate membership meeting on May 13th. At the meeting, four new members were elected to the FSF board:

    • Ric Fisher (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, retired; formerly on Lamb Center and NOVACO boards)
    • Scott Parkin (Justice In Aging, retired)
    • Robert Sargeant (Catholic University, retired; AARP representative on the Fairfax Food Council, president of Lutheran Lay Fellowship)
    • Joan Thomas (chief clinical officer for behavioral health and director of community relations at District Home Assisted Living)

    The board recognized the service of the four board members who retired from the board in 2017: Chuck Wortman (Griffin Owens Insurance Group and past president of the FSF board), Suzanne Rudiselle (United Christian Parish, pastor emerita), Jennifer Maloney (treasurer of the FSF board), and Rev. Dave Pearcy (naval chaplain, retired and former vice president of the FSF board).

    About Fellowship Square:
    Fellowship Square, a faith-based nonprofit organization, advocates for and provides safe, secure, and affordable homes and an array of supportive services for a diverse population of low-income seniors and persons with disabilities. Our communities, through mutual support and by facilitating access to services, foster independence, dignity, and healthy and vibrant lifestyles. FSF operates four properties providing housing for seniors over age 62 with limited incomes, as well as persons with disabilities: Lake Anne Fellowship House (Reston, VA); Hunters Woods Fellowship House (Reston, VA); Lake Ridge Fellowship House (Woodbridge, VA); Largo Landing Fellowship House (Upper Marlboro, MD). For more information on FSF housing options, volunteer opportunities or donations, visit fellowshipsquare.org, call 703-860-2536 or email info@fellowshipsquare.org.