There’s not much you can get for a dollar these days, not even at the dollar store. But at the Evelyn & Daniel Tabas House in Northeast Philadelphia, that’s the entire cost of breakfast in the communal dining room. After breakfast the residents of the 61-unit apartment complex, all ages 62 or over, might spend a few hours in the library, the computer center, reading the newspaper or kibbitzing (chatting) with friends before returning for a hot lunch — also for only a dollar. The Senior Congregate Meal Program, supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, “truly changes the lives of the people who live here,” says Eric Naftulin, CEO of Federation Housing Inc., the management and development company that owns the Tabas House. And he’s not just talking about the nourishment: “It gives them a reason to get out of their apartments,” helping residents to stay active and make friends.

The Tabas House is one of 11 affordable communities for older adults owned by Federation Housing. Located throughout Philadelphia, Montgomery and Bucks counties, these communities house over 1,500 individuals whose average annual income is $13,200 and who all receive public assistance. On such a tight budget, older adults often struggle to pay for basic necessities such as rent, medications, doctor visits, food and social activities. At Federation Housing, residents can afford to meet their needs, in large part because of the highly subsidized rent, but also because Federation Housing goes above and beyond what is expected of a management company. The staff care for residents as if they were family. Each community employs a social service worker who checks in with residents, making sure the fridge is stocked, coordinating rides and scheduling doctor appointments. A Federation Housing rabbi also makes frequent rounds, performing High Holiday and Shabbat services.

All of these services — transportation, socialization activities, check-ins and utilities — are provided free of charge. Federation Housing helps older adults to age in place, not just with financial security but with the independence, dignity and care they deserve. Eric says, “Not having to always lean on a family member gives our residents a wonderful sense of pride.” No wonder the average stay in a Federation Housing apartment is 12-15 years.

To support Jewish Federation in continuing to assist Greater Philadelphia’s older adults, click here.

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