Generations of Hope Newsletter October 2016


First: From earlier Generations of Hope writings

Diversity is deliberately cultivated. It embraces the quality of Intentional Neighboring, helping to generate and create solutions to complex problems while reducing stigmas, stereotypes and intolerance.

Community Land Trusts a Generations of Hope Breakthrough!

The conference in Park City, Utah organized by Grounded Solutions was attended by over 350 attendees almost all working on some form of affordable housing. Implementing Community Land Trusts in their own projects brought  them all together around a theme of providing perpetual affordable housing. (fighting off urban gentrification,  improving neighborhood valuations and other plagues squeezing the affordability housing market. A new growth mini industry? There are over 300 land trusts around the country and more on the way.

A simple explanation is as follows. Land is purchased by a non-profit(501(c)3). In some cases the land and housing, sometimes not. Land is purchased or donated either by a municipality or a private donor. The community is designed and built.  In some cases, this involves rehabbing and upgrading houses and/or filling in empty lots. The key is that the land is owned by the Trust organization. Persons living in the housing agree to the conditions placed on the land (e.g. permanent affordability and first right of sales to the Trust organization as well as specific requirements related to the site). Sites have been successful in combining privately owned stock, low income tax credit apartments, other HUD and USDA housing on a given site. In the Grounded Solutions world, a house is sold with a cost of living escalator and adjusted median income but still at a price for the new owner that is affordable. Think about “one owner of the land, one hundred owners/renters of the improvements.”

The Generations of Hope breakthrough might be communities can be created with multiple types of housing (rental, sales, market, adjusted market housing)  Conditions on the land via the trust can control the purpose of the housing for any length of time. This approach allows for an intergenerational community with a vulnerable population -using the land restrictions as to use, to stay as long as the land trust board controls the land. For communities such as a community of seniors and people with behavioral and developmental disabilities this approach could be particularly important.

Next steps:  Generations of Hope will be working with Lincoln Land Institute and with Burlington Associates to explore developing templates of land agreements which fit the legal definitions for creating Land Trusts and the needs of a Generations of Hope inspired community. At this stage, we believe using the Land Trust concept, communities can plan for very long term and most importantly can create private new housing stock fitting the needs of multiple clients and unrelated generations.

(Note: we will continue with State and Federal Funding information in the next newsletter).

Generations of Hope Scaling Up!

We continue to receive many inquiries about how to start a Generations of Hope inspired community. In looking at the new sites list, it is interesting to note that most are concerned with helping a vulnerable population. Very few start as their primary mission with a desire to provide a quality life for seniors. The most popular vulnerable population remains foster care and as we noted last newsletter, the aging out foster care youth is currently the most popular segment of this child welfare group. With the recent national survey (PEW) noting that there has been a significant uptick in foster care because of parent opiate addiction, we might see that change reflected in new intentional communities.

To help with the “next steps” for the new inquirers we are going to try two approaches. First, if possible, we are going to spend some effort in “pairing” potential site interest together. Second we are going to spend efforts suggesting affordable housing developers in a potential site’s region. We think that bringing a quality “dreamer” (not using the word pejoratively) and a “bricks and mortar/finance” person may help get more projects into the strategic planning stages and breaking ground sooner. In a year or so, we will know whether that idea works or needs further tweaking.

Another Look at Outcomes for Seniors Living in Generations of Hope Inspired Communities

Over the years there have been many “evaluations, reviews, and performance based reviews” of the Hope Meadows site.(1) The idea of another evaluation of seniors at Generations of Hope Inspired Communities may seem redundant but as the number of sites increase and the number of seniors living in these communities increases the concept of a targeted evaluation with external comparisons has some appeal.

There are now about 250 seniors living at Generations of Hope inspired communities (Hope Meadows, Genesis, Treehouse Foundation, Bridge Meadows, and New Life Village). When the next round of developments are completed (Bastion, Beaverton, Generations-Bridge Meadows Aging out youth), and Osprey) are completed that number will grow to around 500. Of course, there are even more in the pipeline (Ohana, Many Lights, Sweetgrass, Elkhart, Waterbury) and with other sites that number will certainly increase. As was noted in the last newsletter, there are even more sites on the drawing boards in nine other states.

While Generations of Hope inspired communities often focus on the vulnerable populations, one of the most “boomer interesting” questions is the “aging well” assessment of the seniors that live in these intentional communities. Generations of Hope wants to see an equal focus -in evaluation terms- on the vulnerable population and on seniors. We thought it might be on some interest to share one component of a concept of measurable indicators of “aging well.”

Over the last couple of years a number of articles have appeared about seniors and the impact of isolation. Although not always articulated in Generations of Hope communities material, we have always felt that the mitigation of social isolation was one of the major advantages of living in our communities. So below is a list of factors and their measurability.

  1. Social isolation and loneliness are associated with a higher risk of mortality in seniors (52 years and older) (see Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
  2. Volunteering can reduce social isolation and loneliness in seniors. (AARP)
  3. Loneliness causes high blood pressure (see Psychology and Aging 2010)
  4. Lonely people are more likely to engage in unhealthy behavior (poor diet, lack of physical activity and smoking. (see English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA))
  5. Seniors who “feel” lonely and isolated are more likely to report also having poor physical and/or mental health (see National Social Life, Health and Aging Project.)
  6. Loneliness is linked to poor cognitive performance and risk of dementia (peanut butter test?) University of Chicago Dr. John Cacioppo
  7. Loneliness can be contagious.
  8. Loneliness in seniors is a major risk factor for depression.
  9. Isolated seniors are more likely to need long-term care.
  10. Social isolation in seniors is linked to long-term illness (some of these are chronic lung disease, arthritis, impaired mobility, and depression. (PNAS)
  11. Isolated Seniors are more pessimistic about the future. The National Council on Aging, reports socially isolated seniors are more likely to predict their quality of life will get worse over the next 5-10 years.
  12. Loss of a spouse is a major risk factor for loneliness and isolation.
  13. Transportation availability can prevent social isolation. (AARP)
  14. Physical activity programs and educational classes reduce senior isolation (see Health Quality Ontario)

Next Steps: One in six seniors living alone faces physical, cultural, and/or geographical barriers that isolate them from receiving benefits and services that can improve their economic security and their ability to live health, independent lives. For the most part, within Generation of Hope communities,  the indicators are very measurable as well as very comparable. When Generations of Hope has inspired communities of say 500 seniors, we will approach Universities, NIH, and others to develop a rigorous evaluation comparing â€œaging in place” programs and aging in place with no program. As Generations of Hope intentional neighboring communities are designed to address isolation we expect impact should be easy to discern. See also :Work done by David Hopping (on the website- Evaluating Intentional Neighboring) and The Generations of Hope Community model” Opportunities and Challenges for Evaluation (March 2013)

President’s Notes

There is a fascinating article about the largest number of intentional neighboring communities in the world.   Started in the late 1930’s, there are 100 schools and villages on four continents with a total population of about 3,750. The Camphill movement at 75 years of age is detailed both as planned and as it is today. The Camphill communities in the U.S.,England and Scotland are under pressure to adhere to new regulations professionalizing staff and moving persons with developmental disabilities away from a farm setting and into the community. The article by Daniel McKanan, appeared in Communal Studies Volume 36. Yes a very obscure journal!  If you would like a copy of the article please let me know.

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