B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) toured one of B’nai B’rith International’s housing facilities for low-income senior citizens to meet with residents and discuss the critical importance of housing for adults with limited means. B’nai B’rith Apartments in Allentown, Pa., is a residential facility sponsored by B’nai B’rith in partnership with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Dent also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing & Urban Development.
“I truly appreciate the great work that B'nai B'rith has been doing here in Allentown for decades. B'nai B'rith provides affordable housing options to many seniors. They very much like it here, so we’re blessed to have this organization in our community,” Dent said. “And we want to continue to support organizations like B'nai B'rith and others who are providing these affordable housing options in the 202 for so many seniors and elders across the country.”
Dent’s tour of the building included a resident’s apartment, a common room, the computer room, the arts and crafts room and the patio area.
The congressman held a Q-and-A session with 90 residents and answered questions regarding Section 202 rental subsidies, social security (privatization and increasing benefits), Medicare and Medicaid. He also spoke of how he is trying to work across party lines to fix the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
This type of housing is in constant demand, and researchers say for every low-income senior housing apartment nationwide there are 10-12 seniors waiting for a spot.
In attendance from the B’nai B’rith Housing community were B’nai B’rith International Associate Director of the Center for Senior Services Janel Doughten; B’nai B’rith Assistant Director for Aging Policy Evan Carmen; B’nai B’rith Senior Program Associate Breana Clark; as well as B’nai B’rith Apartments staff including Board President Barbra Butz; Project Administrator Bob Sipos; Property Management Assistant Kathy Andreas Heath; Service Coordinator Jennifer Leffler; Rental Assistant Jessica Yaich and Recertification Specialist Beth Gonzalez.
“We are pleased that Congressman Dent visited with our residents. He addressed their concerns and allowed their voices to be heard,” Carmen said. “For many seniors, Section 202 housing is their only option, and if this program looses any part of its budget many of our residents will be forced into homelessness.”
The B'nai B'rith Senior Housing Network in the United States consists of 38 buildings in 27 communities, includes more than 4,000 apartment units and serves more than 8,000 people.
“This is my home now. This is the place where I have friends, I have many things to do, many opportunities, wonderful exposure, you can be as active and as involved as you choose to be. The staff that works here that runs this facility is phenomenal, there is nothing that they won't do to help you down to changing my address when I first moved in. Just availability for everything. I cannot say enough good things about B'nai B'rith, and this is a family to me. And, I'm grateful to be here, this is my home, I love it,” said Kay Graf, a resident who has been living at B’nai B’rith Apartments for one year.