Mr. Spriggs, who is a veteran, is being handed a key to his new senior apartment by Wunderly Ward, Apartment Manager at Port Town Village.

Mr. Spriggs, who is a veteran, is being handed a key to his new senior apartment by Wunderly Ward, Apartment Manager at Port Town Village.

Stable Foundations for Older Adults Experiencing Homelessness, a program started in 2018 by Bay Aging, won the $5,000 first place Best Practices Award from the Commonwealth Council on Aging. The program offers safe housing options and support services for older adults transitioning out of homelessness.

Focusing on housing as the foundation for successful outcomes of older adults, Bay Aging’s housing services provide safety and stability for older adults experiencing homelessness, ensuring that the support services can lead to increased positive outcomes.

Bay Aging has bridged the gap between Area Agencies on Aging and the homeless services’ network to provide diverse housing opportunities for people exiting homelessness. In 2018, Bay Aging’s age-and income-restricted rental housing worked with the Northern Neck Middle Peninsula Housing Coalition to develop a homeless preference.

Bay Aging was the first U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly owner/manager to be approved to implement a homeless preference in Virginia.

“Since Bay Aging added its homeless solutions program to its wheelhouse of support services, I have witnessed older adults discover dignity that was lost through the traumas of homelessness. Bay Aging senior apartments and the many services brought to the table works wonders to help tenants regain their health, increase self-sufficiency and find a sense of community,” said Kathy Vesley, Bay Aging President and CEO.

Bay Aging can quickly identify older adults experiencing homelessness and match the person to the housing that meets their needs, limiting the amount of time that someone spends homeless, reducing trauma and regaining better health outcomes. Once transitioned into permanent housing, older adults benefit from health assessments, Meals on Wheels, employment training, insurance counseling, transportation and more. Homeless solutions is poised to make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring, while helping older adults live with independence and dignity.

Since 2018, 31 new tenants have moved into Bay Aging’s rental housing and an additional 189 older adults have been served by the homeless response system. The average wait time for placement in Bay Aging rental housing is currently 59 days, a 25% decrease since 2018 when the program started.

The Commonwealth Council on Aging advises the governor on issues affecting the 1.9 million Virginians age 60 and older and acknowledges organizations whose innovative programs can be replicated across the Commonwealth. The Council judges nominees on seven criteria, including community impact, potential for replication, innovation, outcomes and promotion of aging in the community.

For more information about homeless solutions, call the housing crisis line at 804.758.1260 x1313. For other health, housing and transportation services throughout the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck call 1.800.493.0238 or visit www.bayaging.org. For over 43 years Bay Aging, the region’s Area Agency on Aging, has been delivering services to older adults and people living with disabilities.