Imagine being retired or disabled on a fixed income and losing your home. Maybe your spouse died after a long illness, and you are no longer able to make rent or mortgage payments. Perhaps you have been hospitalized or in a skilled nursing facility for a long time and are unable to pay back rent. Or, you learn your landlord has sold your rental, and the terms of occupancy have changed.

Where would you turn?

Mission-driven staff

Kenna O’Hara is the Property Manager for three CHS low-income properties on a quiet street in Sumner, Washington. Her cheery, can-do attitude brightens a small office near the entrance to Kincaid Court, attracting staff, residents, and family members eager to share their news. She cares deeply about the welfare of the 73 residents at Kincaid Court and Sumner Commons, senior housing where the average age is 78 and the average monthly income is $1400. 

There are only 7-8 openings for new residents every year, meaning many seniors who reach out for housing must be satisfied with a place on the waiting list. “Those calls can be hard,” she says. “I believe seniors have earned the right to a home.”

Kenna’s decades of experience managing subsidized housing programs keeps Kincaid Court on an even keel. The building and grounds are attractive and well-maintained, thanks to right-hand man Dan Grounds, who grew up in Sumner and loves working with seniors. “Many are frail, and they are so appreciative. I want this to be somewhere I would happily bring my mother.”

Kenna Ohara, seated, and Susan Woodall smiling together.
CHS staff Kenna Ohara and Susan Woodall support residents at Kincaid Court.

At Kincaid Court, as for most of the nearly 800 seniors in CHS housing, residents live on or below 30% of the median income in their area. Some express bewilderment at their situation. Shaking her head, one CHS resident recently confided, “I worked for 42 years…and yet I live below the poverty level. Can you believe it?”

A Commitment to Community

Susan Woodall Lane, Kincaid’s Resident Services Coordinator, brings tact, sensitivity, and mastery of a dizzying array of local and federal benefits to her work with Kincaid Court residents. For many, this is the first time they have experienced being “poor” and vulnerable. As she learns of residents’ needs, she connects them with subsidized access to food assistance, transportation, the Internet, personal safety, and medical care.

Susan and Kendall help residents maintain a lively calendar of group activities, including teas, ice cream socials, and monthly birthday parties in the community room. One 92-year-old resident voluntarily stocks a common pantry in the shared kitchen with items she brings from the local food bank.

There is no extra charge for animal companions at Kincaid Court. Management and residents alike welcome and treasure pets at all seven CHS senior properties.

Ten-year-old Millie enjoys walks around Kincaid Court and time spent lounging on the patio.

A Network of Support from Catholic Community Services

Aging adults in Pierce County ranked food as their top need/priority, according to a survey from Pierce County’s Aging and Disabilities Resources division. Food Insecurity on Rise in Pierce County: ‘We’ve Actually Never Seen Higher Numbers’ The News Tribune, 4/30/2023

CCS Senior Nutrition Programs (SNP)
offers subsidized lunches (suggested donation $3.50) at Sumner’s Senior Center, conveniently adjacent to Kincaid Court. On a given day, volunteers will help CCS SNP staffer Peggy welcome 68 seniors for healthy, social mid-day meals. “I enjoy the work,” she says. “We have so much fun here!” The center offers bus service to the local Y, Walmart, and other stores in a loop throughout the town.

CHS residents are further supported by CCS Long Term Care, where providers help with household chores, food delivery, and, where necessary, nurse-directed care. These services help them to remain in CHS housing for as long as possible.

CCS Network Builders connect CHS properties with local parishes, like Sumner’s St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, where Kincaid Court is a valued outreach ministry. Volunteers distribute monthly order forms for residents to request canned goods and other staples, indicating any special dietary concerns. Parishioners brighten Easter and Christmas holidays at King Court with hams, turkeys, and gift cards.

Help Catholic Housing Services provide affordable, permanent housing for seniors and other vulnerable populations. Your gift today is crucial in helping us offer a safe, dignified place to call home for our neighbors in need.

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