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$4.8 Million for Facility

The Arlington Assisted Living Residence will provide services to senior citizens who are disabled.

Volunteers of America has begun searching for a construction company to renovate a building in Arlington in which elderly residents with disabilities will be able to live and get help with everyday chores, now that the agency has received a $4.8 million dollar grant.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave one of 14 Assisted Living Conversion grants to Volunteers of America (VOA) based in Fairfax. This is the first time this grant has been awarded in Virginia.

The grant allows VOA to build a structure in Arlington that will provide 52 single-occupancy apartments for people who “don't need round the clock supervision, but need assistance with daily activities, such as laundry, transportation to places and cleaning," said Kevin White, Director of Real Estate Development for VOA.

The Arlington County Department of Human Services started the application process for the grant which required the county sponsor another organization, such as VOA, said Cindy Stevens, Arlington County's Supportive Housing Coordinator.

The Department of Human Services chose an existing building that would need a lot of renovations, so they had groups submit proposals on what they would do with the building.

Volunteers of America's proposal was accepted.

"Department of Human Services has worked with VOA before," said Stevens. "We have had a long-term partnership with them, but the roles will continue as they have been. [Department of Human Services] will work as an oversight role. The grant has been awarded to VOA."

The grant gives VOA and their partner, Arlington's Department of Human Services, $4.8 million to spend on the renovation of the building. To be eligible for the grant, the organizations had to meet some requirements.

"The organizations must demonstrate the needs of the population in a way that would further the goals of the grant," said Lee Jones, spokesman for HUD. "The sponsoring organization [Department of Human Services] has a good reputation for coming up with innovative ways to further those goals."

"This is a first for Arlington and Virginia," said Stevens. "There are over 50 individuals who need special assisted living and are disabled. ... In the future there will be a caring residence for persons to go to."

THE FACILITY WILL provide services such as laundry, cleaning and meals, access to Arlington emergency services such as ambulances, a psychiatric nurse on duty 40 hours a week who can oversee medication, as well as community rooms that foster social interaction with games, transportation to parks and other trips.

Residents will pay a portion of their income to live in these facilities, but they can receive support for their expenses from the Auxiliary Grant Program for payment of some services.

"We are seeking to foster independence, self-sufficiency and a good living situation in the residents," said White.

Workers on this project also want to keep potential individuals living in the facility involved in the community.

"We want to foster those relationships [between the individual and community]," said White.

"The community understands the need for this type of facility," said Stevens. "Some community members have family who could benefit from this project."

Volunteers of America is set to begin construction in fall of 2006, with the opening of the facility sometime in 2007. The Arlington Assisted Living Residence will be at 2000 5th St., S.