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Summer 2018 Seniority Report: Features

Don’t Miss the 2018 B’nai B’rith Housing Conference on Senior Housing!

The 2018 Senior Housing Conference will be in Los Angeles from Oct. 28-30. We have been busy planning for what we hope will be a special event. We will kick things off with a welcome reception on Saturday evening. This will be followed by conference sessions at The Garland Hotel, a recently renovated landmark that’s centrally located. Sessions will include traditional breakouts for board members and managers, as well as topics such as financial education, senior nutrition, fire safety, outreach and support of formerly homeless residents, as well as an update from a local HUD representative. We are especially looking forward to having all conference attendees to our building, Golden Years Senior Apartments, for a tour and entertaining program Monday evening.
For those of you who haven’t been to a B’nai B’rith Senior Housing conference in years, I assure you this is the year to attend. Make sure to take advantage of the conference hotel rate if you wish to stick around and enjoy all of that LA has to offer. If you need further convincing, we can (almost) guarantee perfect weather! If you have not already registered please visit this link.

​A Note from the Vice Chair

​Greetings all,
I hope this finds everyone well and enjoying summer. I also hope you are planning to attend our much anticipated 2018 Conference on Senior Housing, hosted by the Board of Directors of B’nai B’rith Golden Years Apartments in North Hollywood, California. The conference begins the evening of Saturday, Oct. 27 with a welcome reception. This annual conference is a great opportunity to reconnect or become acquainted with those in the B’nai B’rith network. This year, we are excited to bring new and innovative topics to you Sunday through Tuesday, Oct. 28-30, through sessions such as: Partnering with Your Local Homeless Coalition to Support Residents, Do’s & Don’ts for Board members, Fair Housing Training for Boards, Residents and Staff, Fire Safety for Seniors, Fundraising Compliance & Risk Management and Elder Fraud Prevention. Additionally, there will be an update from HUD and a congressional update from the B’nai B’rith Center for Senior Services team.
Please make your plans and register early; this conference is not to be missed!
In the mean time, check out the recently created webinar by B’nai B’rith Center for Senior Services staff. The webinar, titled “Senior Housing 202” comprehensively explores the history of HUD housing for seniors and the special relationship nonprofit sponsors, like B’nai B’rith, have with the Section 202 program. Please take a few minutes to view this informative piece by going to Thank you to Janel, Bre and Evan for providing this great tool for new, and even current, board members.
Looking forward to seeing you all in Hollywood!

Center for Senior Services Staff and Volunteer Extraordinaire

​Do you have exceptional staff and volunteers working in and on behalf of your building? You can now nominate those individuals to be recognized for their hard work and dedication for the Center for Senior Services Annual Staff or Volunteer Extraordinaire.
The nominee for the Staff Extraordinaire may be any compensated personnel of a B’nai B’rith senior housing building or affiliated Management Company, who has demonstrated his or her commitment to serve the needs of the building and its residents. 
The nominee for the Volunteer Extraordinaire may be anyone who has volunteered his or her time, energy and effort to a B’nai B’rith building and by initiative and drive has improved the lives of the residents. Potential nominees include, but are not limited to: a member of the Board of Directors, committee chairpersons and volunteers in the building.
Deadline for submissions is Oct. 1, 2018.
For further information and to submit a nomination, please visit this link on the B’nai B’rith website.

On the Hill

By Evan Carmen

It was great seeing everyone from the B’nai B’rith Housing community at the Managers and Service Coordinators meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Catching up with friends is always fun, especially hearing about all the great things going on in your buildings!  

B’nai B’rith Advocates for Section 202 Funding from Congress

B’nai B’rith continues to work with the American Association of Service Coordinators (AASC) in advocating to Congress on behalf of low-income seniors. Over the last several months, we have talked about the importance of affordable housing in relation to the Fiscal Year 19 Budget, Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

We met with staff members from the offices of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), as well as Reps. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Kay Granger (R-Texas), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Al Green (D-Texas), Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Jamie Raskin (D–Md.), Al Green (D-Texas), and staff for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation Housing and Urban Development and the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

In addition, we are excited to report that we have met Tom Davis, director of the Office of Recapitalization at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding the money appropriated for the FY18 Section 202 Capital Advance account. The planning for how to allocate this money is still ongoing, and we hope to be able to report on it further later this year.

Lastly, the Senate and House have each released their legislation to fund the Section 202 program for FY19. Both chambers feel that they have allocated the appropriate resources to fund existing rental obligations and have appropriated around $50 million dollars for the Capital Advance program.

Congressional Staffers Take Tours of Section 202 Buildings

May was a busy month for our Center for Senior Services as we coordinated visits from several elected representatives to our B’nai B’rith housing. These visits are a critically important part of our work, helping seniors access affordable, high-quality housing. By providing tours to elected representatives and their staff members, we are able to show them why funding for affordable senior housing is so critical.

On May 4, staff members Rebecca Schatz and Artin Haghshenas from Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) office visited South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House. Schatz and Haghshenas toured the community and spoke to residents about the importance of affordable housing in their lives.

“B’nai B’rith’s Federation House in South Orange is a shining example of affordable, supportive, and community living for New Jersey seniors,” said Menendez, the Ranking Member of the Housing Subcommittee, after his staff visited the building. “This property, and more importantly the residents who call it home, are an important reminder for why I will continue fighting to fund affordable homes for seniors.”

On May 8, Stephen Plyler of Cotton’s office visited Levi Towers in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Plyler’s visit included a tour of the building and a brief Q&A with residents in their newly refurbished community room. In addition, on the same day, as part of the Housing Week of Action, Nairoby Gabriel and Farrah Ridore from Warren’s office visited The Coolidge at Sudbury, Massachusetts. The tour included common areas and amenities. We were pleased to see the event get reported on by the Sudbury Patch at:

On May 14, Kristin Vandergriff of Granger’s office visited Mollie & Max Barnett and Tarrant County B’nai B’rith Apartments in Ft. Worth, Texas. Vandergriff lead a meet and greet with residents in the community room sharing Granger’s background and her particular legislative interests. Residents had one-on-one conversations with Vandergriff and many shared their concerns pertaining to housing, healthcare and other federal programs. Alyn Fernandez of Rubio’s office and Alina Garcia of the Florida Chief Financial Officer’s office visited B’nai B’rith Apartments of Deerfield Beach in Deerfield Beach, Florida on May 25. The guests received a tour of the building and spoke with about 50 residents.

Senate Special Committee on Aging

The Senate Special Committee on Aging recently requested information about guardianship and older Americans for a report to members of Congress. Because guardianship was a hot topic of conversation at the recent managers/service coordinators meeting, we asked the staff in the buildings to provide their thoughts on the topic. After hearing their feedback, we sent a letter to the Committee that outlined additional best practices for guardians, such as increasing scheduled visits, more quickly appointing new guardians when problems arise and instituting stricter conflict of interest barriers so guardians don’t personally benefit from their work with older adults.   

Resident Extraordinaire: Jerry Fiman, Covenant Place, St. Louis, Missouri 

A St. Louis native, Jerry Fiman has called Covenant Place home for nearly five years.
Before coming to live at Covenant Place, Fiman spent most of his career as a retail salesman, having his own store for nearly a decade. He went on to be a substitute teacher for nearly fifteen years, until 2014, predominately teaching middle school students at a local school district. He found teaching to be one of the most fulfilling experiences of his career.
Fiman is very involved in his building and doesn’t let the stereotypes about growing older stop him from being active. In addition to being the long time president of the Tenant Council, he is directly involved with many building activities such as editing the Covenant Place bi-monthly newsletter, Friday night Shabbat services, men’s poker club and Yiddish club — a language he is fluent in.
“I enjoy living here mostly because of the family atmosphere we are creating with the growth that is taking place,” said Fiman. The building is undergoing a major renovation, adding about 100 units to the campus and integrating an expansion of services and programs, which will be open to the general community. 
“I have developed so many new friendships, and not at the expense of old ones.”
Center for Senior Services staff, volunteers and fellow B’nai B’rith residents had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Fiman in August 2017 at the biennial Resident Leadership Retreat at B’nai B’rith Perlman Camp. It was evident then, as it is now, that his leadership and quick-witted humor have been invaluable throughout his tenancy to the 400 residents living in his building.
Upon learning he would be recognized as an extraordinary resident, Fiman said, “I accept it with grace and humility, and am honored to be so highlighted.”

Building Highlight: B’nai B’rith Apartments, Deerfield Beach, Florida

By Jessica Kreger, Chair, B’nai B’rith Young Leadership Network, South Florida

On June 3, the B’nai B’rith Young Leadership Network of South Florida joined the senior residents of the B’nai B’rith Apartments of Deerfield Beach, Florida for a Sunday afternoon Art and Wine Party.

“We had nine people from the young leadership group and nine residents. It was a really nice afternoon,” said James Lynch, the building’s administrator. “The young adults all really enjoyed themselves and mingled well with the residents.”

Led by art instructor and B’nai B’rith receptionist Angie Arroyo, attendees learned to hone their painting techniques while creating a tropical landscape, complete with ocean waves lapping an island, a wind-blown palm tree and a curving mountain.

Participants chatted over wine and cheese, and resident artwork was on display in the room. While the paintings dried, Lynch took the young adults on a tour of the facilities, which include three towers with a combined 271 units, a community garden, coffee shop, internet lounge, fitness room and libraries in each building.

The intergenerational event was not only a special opportunity to meet new friends, but also provided young adults the chance to see the senior advocacy and housing pillar of B’nai B’rith International in action. The young adults were pleased to learn that B’nai B’rith sponsored the cost of what may be a life-saving power generator, in one of the three towers, after the buildings lost power following Hurricane Wilma in 2006.

B’nai B’rith is the largest national Jewish sponsor of federally subsidized housing for the elderly in the United States, and works in partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to run facilities such as the one in Deerfield. For more information about the B’nai B’rith Apartments Deerfield, visit To learn more about the B’nai B’rith Young Leadership Network of South Florida, visit

Recap of the 2018 Annual Managers and Service Coordinators Meeting

By Janel Doughten

The 2018 Annual Mangers and Service Coordinators training took place June 20-22 in San Antonio, Texas, with most of the properties in our B’nai B’rith senior housing network represented. The first day of the conference focused on residents: how to build and maintain relationships with your residents, how to deal with the challenges and find solutions in your building, creating a culture of mental well-being and even how to work with Adult Protective Services.
Sessions over the next two days included breakouts: Southwest Housing Compliance Corporation presented on Management Occupancy Reviews and other general U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) updates to managers in attendance, while the service coordinators were led in a group discussion, tackling many issues and sharing best practices, which included responding to grief experienced by residents and staff. 

Christie M. Newhouse, the director of the HUD Fort Worth Multifamily Asset Management Division, briefed the participants on implementing the HUD Homeless Preference. Additional sessions included: Updating Harassment Policies, Implications of the Violence Against Women Act in Housing, a Congressional and Federal Programs  Update and last but not least important, Self Care and How to Avoid Job Burnout. 

Overall, this year’s meeting was a success! We especially appreciate all of the feedback from on-site staff, throughout the year, to make this meeting responsive to issues going on in your buildings. We look forward to having you at our meeting next year. 

What Has Staff Been Up To?

By Breana Clark

In May, Breana Clark, B’nai B’rith senior program associate, paid visits to two buildings, Levi Towers in Hot Springs, Arkansas as well as Mollie & Max Barnett and Tarrant County B’nai B’rith Apartments in Ft. Worth, Texas. The visits coincided with special guests Stephen Plyler of Sen. Tom Cotton’s office at Levi Towers and Kristin Vandergriff of Rep. Kay Granger’s office at the Ft. Worth buildings.
In late May, Janel Doughten, B’nai B’rith associate director for the Center for Senior Services, talked with B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin, on the B’nai B’rith International podcast. They discussed the challenges and solutions for residents of B’nai B’rith’s affordable housing, particularly the issue of adult bullying. To listen to this episode on the B’nai B’rith International podcast visit:
Additionally, Janel and Evan Carmen, B’nai B’rith assistant director for aging policy, were hosted by the JCHC management company at the South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House in South Orange, New Jersey. The two put on a Fair Housing training for residents as well as a session on “How to be your own best advocate.”

Later that month, the Center for Senior Services team recorded their first webinar titled, “Senior Housing 202.” The webinar details the history of B’nai B’rith’s role in senior housing and its special connection to the Section 202 program. The webinar can now be viewed by going to:
In June, Evan, joined the Board of Directors for St. Mary’s Court. Home to about 150 senior residents, the building is a part of the HUD Section 202 program located in Washington, D.C. 

What’s Going on at B’nai b’rith?

Oct. 14-16, 2018
B’nai B’rith International Annual Leadership Forum, New York City
Oct. 28-30, 2018
Annual Conference on Senior Housing, North Hollywood, California