Your continued support of Fahe allows us to change lives in Appalachia. We impact the lives of thousands of Appalachians every year. Among those are the elderly, who make up one of the most vulnerable groups in our country. There are over 215,000 elderly people living in poverty in Central Appalachia. Ms. Geneva Lewis is one of these people.
After Ms. Lewis’ husband died in 1993, she could only afford to rent an old mobile home in poor condition near Vanceburg, Kentucky, an isolated, sparsely populated rural community in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. “The windows were bad and there were holes in the walls. I burned up in the summer and froze in the winter, and still, my utilities bills were over $200 a month.” Rent and utilities took more than half of Ms. Lewis’ $753 monthly Social Security Supplemental Security Income check, her only source of income.
Ms. Lewis’s situation is unfortunately not a unique one. The median income for Central Appalachian residents over the age of 65 is only $23,400. Of residents over the age of 55, 22% are cost-burdened, paying more than 30% of their income towards housing expenses; for elders renting their home, this statistic doubles to a staggering 44%. For aging adults in Appalachia, these conditions may have life-threatening consequences.
Fortunately for Ms. Lewis she was able to work with Fahe member People’s Self-Help Housing, Inc. (PSHH). In 2015, she moved into a new, affordable apartment at Central Crossings Development, located within walking distance of downtown Vanceburg.
People’s Self-Help Housing, Inc. designed, built, and manages Central Crossings Development. The four units are exclusively targeted to families earning less than 60 percent of the area median income. The development is energy efficient with a HERS rating of 45, meaning that it is 55 percent more energy efficient than standard, new construction. As a result, heating and cooling bills have been cut in half, helping tenants save money.
PSHH is in the process of securing financing for a second phase of development to add an additional eight units of affordable rental housing at Central Crossings.
The importance of having a safe, secure, and comfortable place to call home cannot be overstated. Stable housing goes hand in hand with good health, improved job stability and performance, and increased success in school.
Fahe is committed to ensuring better lives for Appalachian’s aging population through our Elderly Initiative which will help people age gracefully in place and through our membership which builds and manages quality homes and apartments which house our at-need elderly. Thanks to your investment in Fahe, we are able to help more people like Ms. Lewis have a safe and secure home and a better quality of life.