Reinvesting in Our Seniors

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Across the country the need for affordable housing is growing. The current economic crisis does not help this need and has had a significant impact on creating and preserving affordable housing. Even more, this need greatly exists for the senior community. Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) funds have been allocated to expand the supply of safe, sanitary and affordable housing; authorized under Title II of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act. However, these HOME funds are steadily decreasing for participating jurisdictions across the country and this has greatly affected the District of Columbia.

In an era where budgets are tight and funding is often cut, there is still a great need to remember the many seniors who depend on affordable housing. According to DC Fiscal Policy Institute, D.C.’s poverty rate is far above the national average and has grown even in periods of strong economic growth.

Some 1330,000 residents, nearly one-quarter of the population are low income. African American seniors suffer the impacts of poverty and the lack of affordable housing at a disproportionate rate. According to the 2007 Census, in DC over 84% of the elderly who live in poverty are African American.

Although these statistics are daunting one organization has shown that it is committed to reinvesting into the senior community. Vision of Victory Community Development Corporation, under the leadership of its Chairman, Dr. Michael E. Bell Sr., will actualize its commitment to the Ward 8 community through the creation of a 91-unit affordable housing project for seniors. Through its partnership with Allen Chapel AME Church, NHP Foundation and the District of Columbia, Vision of Victory CDC is showing that together with community involvement, people can address the need for greater attention to this population of the city.

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