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La Palma Residents Are Active Members of the Retirement Housing Foundation

Pictured at RHF’s Abbey Apartments in Indianapolis, Indiana, are RHF Advisory Commission member Edna Ethington, at left, with resident Twyla at right.  Twyla was delighted to be living at Abbey Apartments.  (Photo by Raymond E. East)

Pictured at RHF’s Abbey Apartments in Indianapolis, Indiana, are RHF Advisory Commission member Edna Ethington, at left, with resident Twyla at right. Twyla was delighted to be living at Abbey Apartments. (Photo by Raymond E. East)

 

Pictured at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis at a Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) meeting in October are, left to right, Advisory Commission member, Rev. John Allen Desaegher, RHF National Board of Directors’ member Rev. Dr. Norma Desaegher, President and CEO of RHF Rev. Dr. Laverne Joseph, Advisory Commission member Edna Ethington, and RHF National Board of Directors member David A. Ethington.  (Photo by Chris Ragon.) The Desaeghers are fomer La Palma residents and the Ethingtons have lived in La Palma since 1965.

Pictured at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis at a Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) meeting in October are, left to right, Advisory Commission member, Rev. John Allen Desaegher, RHF National Board of Directors’ member Rev. Dr. Norma Desaegher, President and CEO of RHF Rev. Dr. Laverne Joseph, Advisory Commission member Edna Ethington, and RHF National Board of Directors member David A. Ethington. (Photo by Chris Ragon.) The Desaeghers are fomer La Palma residents and the Ethingtons have lived in La Palma since 1965.

 

By Edna Ethington

My husband and I have been residents of the city of La Palma since 1965 and have been active in the community for many years as we raised our four children in La Palma. Two years ago, I knew little about the need for affordable housing in California and the rest of the United States. That was changed when my husband, David Ethington, was invited to join the National Board of Directors for the Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) that is based in Long Beach, California in 2015. David is a retired corporate executive, formerly of Hughes Aircraft Company, and was elected to the board in February of 2015. As a spouse, I was invited to join the Advisory Commission to assist the Board of Directors in accomplishing the goals of the Retirement Housing Foundation.

We were nominated to be considered to join the Board of Directors by our friend of 47 years, the Rev. Dr. Norma Seidel Desaegher. Norma was formerly a resident of the city of La Palma and served as a member of the La Palma City Council and Mayor Pro-Tem in the 1980’s. She has been living in Hawaii for the past seven years and served as senior minister at Pioneer Ocean View United Church of Chirst and Waipahu United Church of Christ. Currently she is minister pro-tem at Waialua United Church of Christ. Rev. Desaegher has been a member of the National Board of Directors of the Retirement Housing Foundation since 2010.

Thanks to Rev. Desaegher, my husband and I have had the privilege of meeting and working with so many people who are dedicated to serving the needs of others through the Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF). We learned that the RHF is a 501 (C) (3), non-profit, faith-based, mission-driven, charitable organization which was founded in 1961 by two United Church of Christ clergymen and one laymen. Today, RHF is one of the nation’s largest non-profit organizations whose mission is to provide safe, quality, affordable housing, and services, not only for older adults, but also for persons with disabilities and low income families.

As part of celebrating ”55 Years of Changing Lives” this year, Board and Advisory Commission members were invited to visit some of the 185 RHF communities in the United States, especially in California, Massachusetts and Indiana. We felt privileged to be able to experience meeting some of the residents and witness the joy and appreciation that residents had for being able to live in a RHF community. Some communities were as small as a six-bedroom community for the developmentally disabled, in Redding, CA, to the largest subsidized community for fixed income seniors in the country, Angeles Plaza in Los Angeles, CA., with over 1,000 apartments.

When we visited the Towers at Crooked Creek in Indianapolis, Indiana, we were impressed by the large number of volunteers at Crooked Creek Towers in Indianapolis who enthusiastically helped to serve residents their meals. At each of the communities we heard about long waiting lists with hundreds of names of more people who still need affordable housing. Some communities were no longer accepting applications because they had 7 to 10 year waits for those currently on their lists. We hope that many more people will be able to enjoy living in a RHF community in the future.

On October 29, 2016, we learned about nationwide housing needs for the elderly and low income families from Niles Godes, Leading Age, Senior Vice President, Congressional Affairs and Housing.  Leading Age is an association of non-profit organizations, like RHF, and is considered a leading authority on senior housing and services issues facing our country. He showed us projections where the population of the seniors living primarily on Social Security will continue to increase in significant numbers in the years ahead. Combined with a decline in the availability of government monies for redevelopment and rental subsidies, there is a need for more funding for affordable housing.

The Reverend Dr. Laverne Joseph, President and CEO of RHF, said that there is also a need for people to contact their Congressional representatives in the new Congress to increase funding for affordable housing for older adults, the handicapped and low income families. He said that there is so much work to be done to increase funding for affordable housing throughout the United States.

Everyone in the United States can join in and contact their congressional representatives to increase funding for affordable housing in 2017 and the years to come. For more information, you are encouraged to visit LeadingAge.org/Senior_Action_Network, text “Seniors” to 52886, or contact Retirement Housing Foundation at [email protected] to find out how you can help support providing affordable housing for our country’s seniors.

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