BATH — An organization geared toward improving housing stability for seniors, the disabled, and Bath-area families has received a grant of nearly $215,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The funding for Bath Housing, from HUD’s Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency Service Coordinators Program, pays the salary, training needs and administrative costs of a resident services coordinator for three years, starting in October. Amy Carmichael, the current coordinator, has been paid through a prior grant that runs from 2014-17.
“If HUD didn’t provide this grant, we would have lost a staff person, and lost this whole resident services program,” Debora Keller, Bath Housing’s executive director, said in an interview Jan. 5, noting that the new HUD grant will be her organization’s third.
Carmichael is tasked with working with approximately 100 residents in Bath Housing’s three public housing properties – the Anchorage, Dike’s Landing and the Moorings – “and to really deeply understand the needs of the people that are living there,” Keller said.
More information is available at bathhousing.org.
Carmichael connects seniors with community resources, such as community health programs, education, job training and placement programs, home health services, transportation, reasonable requests for accommodations and other housing concern, according to a Bath Housing press release.
“We work with ArtVan and do art therapy in our properties, we do adult coloring groups, we do a lot of health-related projects,” Keller mentioned as a few examples.
“She’s not an activities director; she’s really about connecting people to resources, either within the properties or out in the community, in order to help (the seniors) thrive as they age,” Keller noted.
Along with connecting seniors to outside resources like the Bath Area Food Bank and Meals on Wheels, the coordinator has also brought in pharmacy students to meet with seniors. She also worked with the Bath Area Family YMCA, which sends youths to the properties to help seniors tend gardens.
“Those partnerships just extend,” Keller said. “It’s (Carmichael’s) full-time staff role that allows us to really take that deeper level than most apartment complexes have the ability to do.”
“Our philosophy here, and our first priority above all, is to serve our residents,” Keller added. “And this position is so critical in helping us do that.”
Seniors who work with Bath Housing’s resident services program tend a garden at one of the organization’s three properties.