The HOME Consortium works with organizations and businesses throughout the New River Valley to help increase housing options for low and moderate income people. Examples include:
1. The development of the regions’ first housing plan in conjunction with the New River Valley Planning District Commissions’ Livability Initiative and the Virginia Housing Research Center based at Virginia Tech.
After three years of work, the participation of 3,000 citizens, 100 community leaders, topic area experts, and eight working groups, the three NRV Livability Initiative Reports were recently released. The reports provide a wealth of new information to help organizations, the private sector, communities and the region as a whole better understand key trends and make informed decisions about the future. The reports can be found online through the NRVPDC website http://www.nrvpdc.org/.
2. The HOME Consortium is serving as the sponsoring organization for a new project called Successfully Aging at Home in the New River Valley. The project is a collaboration of regional organizations to develop and implement a strategic plan to help people age at home and in their community: (1) New River Valley HOME Consortium, (2) New River Valley Area Agency on Aging, (3) Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley, (4) the Habitat Virginia Tech Student Chapter with coordination of other stakeholders in Virginia Tech’s Myers-Lawson School of Construction, (5) New River Valley Planning District Commission, (6) Virginia Tech Center for Gerontolgy, and (7) Department of Aging & Rehabilitative Services. The project focuses on the dual needs that impact people’s ability to successfully age in place: home accessibility and supportive services. With appropriate home modifications planned in advance and some level of assistance, an older person may be able to remain independent for much longer – living in their own home and connected to family, friends and their community support network for much less cost and a much higher quality of life. The project is assisted with a three year Americorps VISTA position.
3. On August 22,2013 the New River Valley HOME Consortium, along with ten other community partners, hosted the Aging Successfully at Home and in Our Urban and Rural Communities Community Design Workshop. The workshop was attended by about 75 citizens including older adults, elected officials, organizations that work with older adults, developers, contractors, planners, architects, and other community members. The purpose of this interactive workshop was to generate creative solutions that can be used either as new housing is being developed or when redevelopment arises. The morning session focused on introducing the challenges older adults face when trying to age in their homes and identifying housing and community design options that can address these challenges. The afternoon session centered on creating solutions to these challenges. Community members were divided into rural, suburban, urban and interiors subgroups and asked to develop design principles and goals for residents who wanted to age in place. Community Housing Partners Design Studio has developed prototype sketches of the designs that the subgroups created. These sketches are provided in Home Matters which is found in the Resources page and will be showcased at a follow-up workshop scheduled for October 22, 2014.
4. On October 22nd, 2014, the Aging in Place Leadership Team of the New River Valley hosted a follow-up workshop, Home Matters: Lifespan Friendly Homes, Neighborhoods and Communities that Support Aging in Place — Moving from Vision to Action. The purpose of this workshop was to explore the financial, policy, and decision-making obstacles that traditionally interfere with making our homes and communities truly lifespan friendly—great places to grow up and grow old.
The event was attended by over 130 participants including older adults and the eldercare workforce, architects, homebuilders/developers, lenders and realtors, elected officials, planning commissioners, zoning administrators, building officials, and other interested community members.
The workshop began with an overview of aging demographics, issues in housing, health, and quality of life in the NRV. Concepts discussed in the previous workshop regarding aging in place were reviewed, and emergent consumer demands and service delivery models were introduced.
Participants self-selected to attend one of three concurrent sessions: Policy Drivers addressed community and development issues relevant to the work of local government staff and elected officials; Developing & Building Lifespan Friendly Homes and Communities focused on community issues relevant to developers, builders, realtors and appraisers; and Deciding for Ourselves focused on decision-making challenges faced by older adults, their families, and how this strains the resources available to the eldercare workforce.
The workshop concluded with a “Call to Action” working lunch, in which participants shared recommendations and implementation strategies to overcoming obstacles to aging in place in the NRV identified in concurrent sessions.
Ten Sponsoring Organizations include:
- Community Foundation of the NRV
- Community Housing Partners
- NRV Home Builders Association
- NRV Agency on Aging
- Virginia Tech Center for Housing Research
- Virginia Tech Center for Gerontology
- Habitat for Humanity of the NRV
- New River Health District
- NRV Planning District Commission/Livability Initiative
- Blue Ridge Independent Living Center