June 9, 2022
The Community Foundation has long supported organizations that allow our elderly residents in Northern Virginia to live with dignity. The region is home to more than 280,000 seniors, around 80 percent of whom live in a condo or house they own. These aging homeowners tend to have higher rates of disability (about a quarter of whom have a significant cognitive or physical impairment), and are at a higher risk of poverty- about 10 percent are living below 200% of the federal poverty line. Since 2011, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $225,000 to help older adults throughout Northern Virginia stay in their homes.

One of those organizations is Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church (Rebuilding Together AFF), who’ve just completed their 300th Rebuilding Together Express project. Mrs. H, who is in her late 70s, and her late husband immigrated from Korea, and purchased a small townhome in Northern Virginia in 2001. After Mr. H passed away in 2020, needed repairs were put on hold. With community volunteers, Rebuilding Together AFF made Mrs. H’s home safer by installing a handrail on the front steps, adding second railings to the interior stairs, adding a strike plate to the door, installing smoke detectors, improving lighting, and making electrical repairs, with no charge. Mrs. H now can live safely and comfortably in a home she and her husband owned for more than two decades. As special as this story is, Rebuilding Together-AFF is no stranger to this kind of life-changing work. They developed the Rebuilding Together Express program to respond more rapidly to help more low-income seniors safely age in place. Their volunteer teams have built ramps to make homes accessible for seniors who use mobility devices, installed hand rails and brighter lighting on stairs to reduce the risk of falls, installed grab bars, shower chairs and handheld showers to make bathing safer, and made other modifications and repairs for low-income seniors who want to stay in their homes and live safely and with dignity. It’s their mission of repairing homes, revitalizing communities, and rebuilding lives that inspired the Community Foundation to award them multi-year funding on two separate occasions, in 2018-2019, and 2021-2022. Patti Klein, executive director of Rebuilding Together AFF, commented:

“In this time, multi-year funding has been a major stabilizer, allowing us to make long-term decisions, reducing the stress of needing to find multiple funding streams. What’s so wonderful about CFNOVA’s funding is that it demonstrates to other funders that we are a trusted partner.”

The Aging Fund is a component fund of the Permanent Fund for Northern Virginia, an unrestricted endowment at the Community foundation that makes grants to help build a community that works for everyone. You can learn more and donate below: