Valley Care and West River Valley Senior Housing
As one door closed, another opened...
Following the closing of Stratton House nursing home in Townshend and the resultant concern on the part of the community for the future welfare of elderly in the West River Valley, a task force spearheaded by the hospital performed an eldercare needs assessment for the area. Results of the assessment were shared with the public in fall 2003. A senior housing task force grew out of this study. The group considered various options for senior housing and formulated an outline for a project based on area demographics and the needs assessment. A market analysis in December 2003 suggested demand for a continuum of 24 units of independent housing with supportive services and 28 units of assisted living. Results of the analysis were shared with potential partners at a day-long retreat in February 2004.
A Project Development Committee of 4 community members and 4 hospital board members was formulated to develop a business plan. This committee would constitute the core of Valley Cares, Inc., which was incorporated in December 2004. Site feasibility and financing began in spring/summer 2004 with an application to HUD for its 202 Senior Housing with Supportive Services program. A 202 award in November 2004 leveraged support from Vermont funders. Additional state and federal funds were applied for and secured in 2005. Valley Cares also benefitted from a gift of real estate valued at over $800,000 from Bill and Phyllis Graham. The proceeds from the land sale established a charitable remainder trust for the donors and provided capital to purchase the 9.8-acre project site. Permitting and final design took place in 2006. Construction began in November 2006 and was completed October 29, 2007. The total project cost was $9.9 million.
Today we host a vibrant community of elders in our independent living and assisted living apartments. Our 24-unit independent living housing truly has its own neighborhood feel, with the privacy and comfort of individual apartments and the camaraderie of supportive friends and neighbors nearby. Our 28-unit assisted living facility offers a caring and supportive atmosphere where the nurse-supervised care staff offers round-the-clock support so residents may maintain autonomous lifestyles while living safe and fulfilling lives.
Valley Cares is governed by a community-based board of directors which includes two resident members of the housing projects. Bob Crego, the Executive Director, oversees the day-to-day operations of Valley Cares, including its project development program. As the Property Manager, Jen Gagliardi oversees property maintenance, leases, vacancies and waitlist management. As the Assisted Living Program Director, Susanne Shapiro, RN, oversees day-to-day operations of the assisted living facility, including staff oversight and the planning and provision of resident care and supportive services.