At Pennrose, we are in the business of developing high-quality, affordable housing that improves lives and communities. This principle guides every decision we make – from the supportive services we offer on-site to the employees we hire and the nonprofit service providers we partner with.

The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on the critical role supportive services plays in housing. Over the past several weeks, we have been inspired by the way our team of Supportive Services Coordinators, property management team members, and nonprofit partners have come together to take on new roles and adapt operations to support residents. From hand-delivering food and conducting regular wellness check-ins to donating cleaning supplies to residents in need, individuals are going above and beyond to ensure residents have everything they need to manage this crisis safely. For some, a simple phone call or socially distanced visit is all it takes to feel more connected.  

“If you think about it, the way we are living now - with fewer in-person interactions - is the way some seniors live normally,” said Erin Lane, Supportive Services Coordinator at North Hills I & II and The Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “Nearly all of the residents I've called and spoken to over the past few weeks were just so thankful and appreciative of the phone call.”

For many seniors, accessing everyday essentials such as groceries is now more challenging and poses a risk to their health. Family members, caretakers and other local resources are making fewer visits or are more limited due to social distancing guidelines. It is up to those responsible for our supportive services to help bridge the gap.

At French Creek Manor in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, Supportive Services Coordinator Benedict Williams was conducting his regular wellness calls when a visually impaired elderly resident shared concerns about running low on milk. Her son was delivering groceries on Monday, but she was worried about not having enough to sustain her through the weekend since it was only Thursday. Benedict immediately began working with the property management staff to have milk, juice and other items delivered directly to her door.

Enid Santiago, a Supportive Services Coordinator at Overlook Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania, was conducting her regular check-in calls when she encountered a similar concern. The resident explained he had been eating white rice and water for a week but made his last cup of rice that morning. He had run out of coffee the previous week. Enid sprang into action. She was able to work with Mosser Village Family Center and arrange for her resident to pick up food supplies the very next morning so he wouldn’t go a day without food. Enid also personally picked up and delivered a pack of coffee to him.

“It took everything in me not break down as this man was thanking me nonstop,” said Enid Santiago. “Going the extra mile is something I do by trait. To secure food the next day and deliver milk to this gentleman within hours of that call was nothing short of a miracle.”

In addition to our on-site employees, Pennrose’s local supportive services partners have stepped in to help however they can. At Weinberg Commons, an affordable housing community for seniors and adults with special needs in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey (JFED) offered to deliver cleaning supplies, standing wipe dispensers and anything else they had hours after their offices closed due to mandated shutdowns. In partnership with Aleph Home Care, JFED has also provided each resident with a safety kit including a face mask, set of gloves, and a resource guide.

At Pennrose, we’re here to help our residents navigate any situation – large or small – and ensure they have the resources they need while staying at home. We can’t thank our dedicated employees and incredible project partners enough for helping to keep all residents safe and healthy. They are the best representation of the Pennrose mission.

If you’re interested in supporting Pennrose residents negatively impacted by COVID-19, the Pennrose Foundation has established the COVID-19 Resident Relief Fund and is matching contributions up to $25,000. More information about the fund can be found here.