Issue 29 – Taking Matters Into Her Own Hands

“Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me,” Catherine said as she took a seat in a modestly decorated office. “No problem. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about our community.” The gentleman smiled. He seemed very friendly.

Catherine had decided to make the appointment with the site manager of a supportive living building close to her area of town after her not-so-stellar meeting last week at the life lease community her parents were interested in. She passed by the residence often on her way to and from her gym, and decided to give them a call. She was hoping to gather some information on rental options for her parents, as she was not convinced the place they had picked out was truly their best option.

“So, how much do you charge for a two bedroom apartment here? And what’s all included in that price?” She was still taking her coat off as she asked the question.

The man smiled again, “Well, first of all, we don’t offer two bedroom units. We have one bedroom units here. Very few public providers of supportive living accommodation have two bedroom suites.” Catherine did her best to hide her disappointment. “But we do offer great activities and services here,” he quickly added. “The service package is charged in addition to the accommodation fee, which is set based on income.”

Catherine looked confused. “What do you mean by that?” The man took out some information from the drawer in his desk. “Well, we calculate rent based on a percentage of the total income your parents make or receive. Because we are affordable housing, we charge 30% of the senior’s total income each month – it’s known as Rent Geared to Income or RGI for short.” Catherine perked up a bit. “Oh, that’s awesome! So my parents would be able to keep quite a bit of their pension earnings each month if they lived here.”

The man responded slowly and patiently. “Well, that would depend on how much your parents’ income is. Our first priority is to house low income seniors, with our wait list being what it is right now.” Catherine was growing more and more disappointed as the conversation went on. “Dad has a teacher’s pension, so that will probably rule them out as low income seniors then.” She fidgeted with the strap on her purse as she awaited the man’s response. “Yes, we see a lot of seniors without income from pensions, or even retirement savings for that matter.” He handed Catherine the package of information, “Here, this explains the application process. Again, I’m not sure your parents would qualify, but it is good information to have.”

Catherine smiled and reluctantly took the package from the site manager. “Thanks for your time.” She smiled meekly. She couldn’t help but feel a little foolish. The site manager, sensing her embarrassment gently responded. “It’s not a problem. There’s a lot of choice out there, as well as other communities that are geared at mid-income seniors such as your parents. It’s always a good idea to do some research and set up meetings like you did today. “
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Catherine had tried to find out more information about other options to take back to her parents. What do you think of her decision to view a site without Charlie and Hazel? What do you think the next steps in the story should be? Comment below with your thoughts and ideas!

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