NoPa’s newest neighbors; new life for homeless seniors

NoPa neighbors take a tour of the finished Zygmunt Arendt House (ZAH), Community Housing Partnership’s (CHP) first housing development to exclusively serve formerly homeless senior citizens.

Staff from the Community Housing Partnership lead the tour, pointing out design elements in the apartments, like easy to grab thermostat controls as part of American Disability Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for the Arendt building.

Neighbors step inside the apartment studios, soon to occupied by Arendt's residents.

NoPa is about to get 47 new neighbors at 850 Broderick Street. Construction that broke ground in February 2009 is the now finished Zygmunt Arendt House (ZAH), Community Housing Partnership’s (CHP) first housing development to exclusively serve formerly homeless senior citizens. Residents began moving in mid-February, and will continue at gradual rate until June when full occupancy is expected. All tenants were referred by the San Francisco Human Services Agency’s eight different access points of homeless shelters and social service agencies throughout the city.

At the Open House on February 4, CHP staff led about 30 NoPa neighbors on the first-ever tour of the building, answering questions along the way about architecture, funding and programs. The first floor hosts offices, lounges and community meeting spaces, a laundry facility, and a kitchen and dining area. Studio apartments, located on the second and third floors are each fitted with a single bed, small kitchen and private bathroom. The residency also features a courtyard garden, landscaped roof deck, and solar photovoltaic panels to reduce electricity costs.

At a community meeting on January 13, Gail Gillman, Executive Director of CHP, said ZAH is a wonderful opportunity for formerly homeless seniors. “The goal,” she said, “is for tenants to remain housed while integrating them back into the community.”

In addition to a long term commitment to maintain a property that adds values, community and safety, CHP will also administer extensive on-site supportive tenant services. The three case managers for ZAH will assist tenants who have a history of mental health and substance abuse issues. However, Gillman said that most of the case management will be helping residents to navigate the health care system.

On-site classes like cooking healthy on a tight budget, time management and civic engagement, life skills often lost as a result of chronic homelessness, are part of a full range of services that residents can voluntarily participate in. A large community room attached to a full kitchen provides opportunities for community meals and programs like senior exercises, computer classes, arts and crafts and books clubs. All of these classes and programs are part of a full range of services that residents can voluntarily participate in. There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities for NoPa neighbors to engage in with the residents of ZAH (at the end of article).

Neighbors are encouraged to bring questions and concerns to Stephanie Burch, ZAH’s Property Manager, for resolving issues to reinforcing curb appeal. NoPa neighbors can anticipate news to come on a Welcoming Party in June to celebrate the new ZAH residents and CHP staff in the community.

Stephanie Burch, Property Manager, (415-735-2700 x106)

Contact Kendra Fuller, Tenet Services Supervisor, (415-735-2700) for volunteer opportunities:
• Senior exercises (yoga, Tai Chi, nature walks in GG Park)
• Computer classes
• Games/Cards
• Film/Music appreciation
• Arts and Crafts (Sewing, Knitting, Fashion Design, Photography)
• Gardening
• Accompaniment to/from doctors appointments

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