HUD Multifamily Housing Community Provides Fun-filled, Caring and Supportive Environment for Charleston Elderly
Canterbury residents enjoying socializing with one another
Charleston, South Carolina is home to many well-known historical landmarks such as The Battery, Ashley Hall Plantation, Charleston Naval Shipyard, and of course The Canterbury House, an elderly HUD Section 202 multifamily housing apartment community. The Canterbury House Apartment campus consists of two buildings: Canterbury House East, a four-story building with 46 assisted units, and Canterbury House West, a thirteen-story high-rise with 204 assisted units. Although the West property is viewed as the first and oldest HUD Section 202 property in South Carolina, it provides a variety of specialized supportive services for residents desiring to live independently.
A HUD Multifamily Service Coordinator Program was initially approved and funded in November 2001. Since that time HUD has approved funding totaling $757,208 to support service coordination at the property. Ms. Sally Lorbach, Executive Director, describes Canterbury House as a "happy home" for its residents. According to Ms. Lorbach, management strives to cultivate an environment that is inviting, caring and supportive as reflected in their motto: Come grow old along with me, the best is yet to be! She further explained that the Canterbury House is unique in that it combines affordable housing with supportive services that allow residents to remain active and productive members of the community.
Typical services offered at Canterbury House are: an award winning wellness program staffed by a registered nurse, social worker and volunteer physicians; extensive preventive health education program; physical, occupational and speech therapy available on-site; transportation to weekly swimming at local pool; exercise classes; computer lab; a well-stocked library; writing club, and an on-site beauty and gift shop that provides financial revenue to offset costs of trips for residents. Furthermore, the property employs a full-time Service Coordinator to perform case management and referral services for all residents needing such assistance.
Ms. Linda Lothery, assumed the full-time Service Coordinator position at Canterbury House in December 2012 following the death of her 94-year old mother, and has first-hand experience as an elderly advocate due to the fact that she had served as her mother's primary caregiver. Since being at Canterbury House, Ms. Lothery has made significant progress in getting to know the residents. For example, Ms. Lothery assisted a 79-year old resident who was overwhelmed with her financial affairs. She was referred and accepted into a Family Services Debt Management program, and a plan was implemented in May 2013 to assist in reducing the resident's debt. Furthermore, an 88 year old resident was having medical challenges, and her primary physician had closed his practice. Ms. Lothery collaborated with a home health nurse and located a doctor who accepted the resident as a new patient resulting in the resident receiving the much needed cataract surgery on both eyes. These are only a few of the many residents benefiting from the Service Coordinator Program at The Canterbury House, and confirm there is a need for linking the elderly with services within the community. The property is owned and managed by the Episcopal Diocesan of South Carolina, a non-profit faith based organization.
Sally Lorbach, Executive Director and Linda Lothery, Social Worker/Service Coordinator contributed to this article. Article prepared by Elaine Bennett, HUD Senior Project Manager, Multifamily Housing Program Center.