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Capitol Heights Church offers ‘safe, affordable housing’ for elderly in needcomment (0)

October 30, 2008

By Brittany N. Howerton

After assessing the needs in their area, the members of Capitol Heights Baptist Church, Montgomery, knew it was their responsibility to help provide housing for the large population of needy elderly people.

So in 1983, the Montgomery Baptist Association church opened Capitol Heights Place, an independent-living facility for the elderly in need.

It was developed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program.

The program provides grants to finance the construction, rehabilitation or acquisition of structures to serve as supportive housing for the very low-income elderly, including the frail elderly, and rent subsidies for the projects to help make them affordable, according to www.hud.gov.

Although Capitol Heights Place houses 92 residents, the church knew there were still many in need of what the facility had to offer. So Capitol Heights Baptist decided to construct Capitol Heights Place II to provide an additional 50 apartments. It is scheduled to be completed in early winter.

“We’re providing safe, affordable housing for the neediest of people,” said Pastor Warren Culver of the ministry to senior adults who would have no place to go or live otherwise.

But Capitol Heights Place is not for those in need of nursing-home care or an assisted-living facility.

“It’s independent living here so people still have to shop for themselves, clean for themselves” and be able to care for themselves, Culver said, adding there are emergency pull cords and someone available at the desk 24 hours a day to help residents.

Tommie Forry, a seven-year resident of Capitol Heights Place and member of Capitol Heights Baptist, said she is very grateful for the facility’s amenities and staff.

“I could have looked the world over and couldn’t have found a place like this one,” Forry said, adding the staff is “wonderful” to residents, planning activities, hosting birthday parties each month and serving Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

Since it opened, Capitol Heights Place has remained fully occupied and “on good footing” financially, Culver said.

The church does not provide daily management for the facility, but it did supply the initial funding and property.

And it stays involved with church members comprising the facility’s board of directors and by ministering to residents.

“We’re here to provide everything we do as a church in terms of worship opportunities, Bible study, senior adult ministry and encourage their participation in that,” Culver said. “And we have monthly meetings and do some trips from time to time that they participate in.”

Not all the residents attend the church, however. “[T]hat’s not a criteria for living here,” Culver said, noting many other churches come in to the facility to provide Bible studies, concerts and other activities.

He said his vision is to develop and strengthen the things Capitol Heights Baptist has done effectively and successfully at Capitol Heights Place for almost 25 years.

As for Capitol Heights Place II, it “is only just a drop in the bucket to what’s really needed here for those (types of) facilities for senior adults,” Culver said.

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