U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) recently 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 incomes. Homecrest House in Silver Spring, Md. is a residential facility sponsored by B’nai B’rith in partnership with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and funded under the Section 202 housing program.
HUD states that Section 202 housing “helps expand the supply of affordable housing with supportive services for the elderly. It provides very low-income elderly with options that allow them to live independently but in an environment that provides support activities such as cleaning, cooking, transportation, etc.”
“Homecrest House offers people housing, healthcare and hope, and that’s wonderful, and that’s really my vision of a decent civilized society,” Raskin said.
This type of housing is in constant demand, and researchers say for every Section 202 apartment nationwide there are 10-12 seniors waiting to get in.
“Faced with losing their subsidies, we are concerned that our mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers would be placed in the difficult situation of finding safe and affordable housing, which is what could happen if HUD’s budget is cut drastically. They need this type of housing. Our senior citizens deserve better,” B’nai B’rith International Director of the Center for Senior Services and Associate Executive Vice President Mark D. Olshan said.
Before the tour began Raskin met with Homecrest House Board President Bruce Menditch, Homecrest House Board Vice President Michael Goldman, B’nai B’rith Homecrest House Executive Director Joe Podson, 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 and B’nai B’rith Senior Program Associate Breana Clark to learn about the building, the services offered, B’nai B’rith’s history with affordable housing and the urgent need for government funding for the programs.
Podson led the tour of the building, which included a resident’s apartment, the arts and crafts room and the dining room. During a town hall with the residents of Homecrest House, the Congressman addressed senior housing, foreign policy and health care issues.
“We were so fortunate to have Rep. Jamie Raskin tour Homecrest House and take questions from the residents of the building. These types of events demonstrate to members of Congress firsthand, how integral a role Section 202 buildings play in the lives of low-income seniors,” Carmen said.
Currently, the B'nai B'rith Senior Housing Network in the United States consists of 38 buildings in 27 communities, encompassing more than 4,000 apartment units and serving more than 8,000 people.
“I am a retired teacher, on a limited income, and I really appreciate the amenities that are available to me through the B’nai B’rith Homecrest House, because otherwise I would not be able to have a decent place to live,” said Lynn Blood, a resident of Homecrest House.