Senior Housing and Advocacy
Dating back to 1971, our domestic Senior Housing Network, funded though the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides a dignified, supportive lifestyle for more than 8,000 seniors of limited income without regard to race, national origin or religious preference. In order to fulfill our mission and standards of operations for each local property, B’nai B’rith national staff provides ongoing training, troubleshooting, programming and advocacy outreach throughout the national network. Additionally, B’nai B’rith volunteers provide guidance to each local building within a framework that reflects the needs of each individual community.
Building on our long-standing expertise in senior housing, our advice and counsel is sought on the global level. B’nai B’rith senior housing staff are considered experts on seniors issues, specifically affordable housing, and are routinely asked to present at senior housing industry events. In 2017, our staff presented at four aging conferences.
We have transformed the knowledge we have gleaned from our senior housing efforts and applied it to the legislative arena, keeping oversight on legislation that may impact the unique situation of the elderly, not only in the United States, but around the globe.
Listen to our podcast here with Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration Stephen Goss as we discuss the current state and future of Social Security.
We also bring our expertise on aging matters directly to the managers and residents of our senior housing facilities, teaching classes on such topics as fraud prevention and hosting anti-bullying campaigns.
The Annual Managers/Service Coordinators meeting was held June 7-9 in Philadelphia, with virtually all our senior housing network represented. Sessions included constituent services with representation from the offices of both U.S. Senators from Pennsylvania, an update from Randall Scheetz from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as sessions on best practices, risk management, supporting the formerly homeless, adapting to life in congregate housing and dealing with difficult residents.
In August, residents from almost every building in our senior housing network attended the B’nai B’rith Resident Leadership Retreat at Perlman Camp in Pennsylvania. The retreat includes leadership workshops, intergenerational programming, as well as subjects such as diversity and interfaith discussions.
The 2017 Senior Housing Conference took place in Del Ray Beach, Florida, in December. Annually, local boards of directors and management staff gather for interactive training sessions, and hear from experts in the field.
Though our commitment to seniors began more than 45 years ago with a recognition and action to correct the severe dearth of housing for low-income seniors, we have built on that knowledge to branch out to all aspects of aging and aging issues. We see the big picture and the interconnectedness of healthy aging and a safe, affordable and engaging, home environment.
Our Seniority Report is a quarterly publication highlighting many of our activities and accomplishments in the field of senior services. Read the fall 2017 issue here.
U.S. representatives visited some of our senior housing buildings to see firsthand the needs and creative programming our senior housing program provides. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) visited the B’nai B’rith Homecrest House in Silver Spring, Md.; Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), visited B’nai B’rith Apartments in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) toured the Nathan I Nagler Queens B’nai B’rith House; and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) visited B’nai B’rith Apartments, Allentown, Pa. These members of Congress have toured B’nai B’rith International-sponsored properties across the country and answered questions from residents of the buildings.
The B’nai B’rith team has been very busy on Capitol Hill all year, meeting with 18 Senate offices, 14 House offices and staff members on the Democrat and Republican side for the Senate and House Appropriations Committee which funds Section 202 buildings.
Additionally, in July B’nai B’rith was a partner for the Our Homes Our Voices, National Housing Week of Action. As part of this week of action Jeremiah Thompson, who is Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Regional director for Boston, took a tour of Irving B. Matross Covenant House in Boston, and answered questions from the residents of the building.
B’nai B’rith staff members also co-chair a subcommittee on income security for The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community.
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