2020: The beginning of a year of great significance to Federation Housing. Fifty years ago in August 1970, Federation Housing Inc. was created to meet the growing need of affordable housing for seniors. Under the pioneering leadership of Founding Executive Director Ephraim F. Goldstein, with the support of the Federation of Jewish Agencies (FJA), coupled with a generous contribution by the Tabas family, FHI opened its first apartment community in the Bells Corner section of Northeast Philadelphia at 2101 Strahle Street in 1974. The Samuel Tabas Apartments with 322 apartment units was quickly filled and has housed thousands upon thousands of needy seniors ever since.
As a community, we at Federation Housing had planned on celebrating this momentous occasion with a variety of commemorative events including resident, staff and Board gatherings and community outreach activities. With the onset of COVID 19 and the need to practice social distancing and to adhere to CDC guidelines, these celebrations and group gatherings have been postponed.
Although COVID 19 has brought disappointment and uncertainty into the world and directly to our apartment communities, Federation Housing has responded with great strength and efficiency as we constantly adjust to our communities’ “new now”. At the onset of this pandemic, Federation Housing rapidly took action and closed all community spaces at each of our 11 properties in an effort to reduce mingling and congregating. Our facilities team has been working tirelessly to clean and disinfect our properties each day. Office staff remain available daily, both on-site and remotely, to assist residents in accessing needed services and addressing resident concerns. Most importantly, we have continued to offer our subsidized Meal Program, our most essential activity, in each of our homes where we are seeing great demand in the need for food security. To comply with CDC guidelines for social distancing our community dining rooms remain closed. To make the meal available to everyone in need, we have waived the $1 per meal participation fee. With residents making less trips to area markets we have seen a significant increase in the number of meals served as well as the number of residents participating. Currently, we are providing over 4,200 meals to over 350 un-duplicated residents each month across our communities.
If nothing else, this pandemic has reinforced not only how strong Federation Housing is but more importantly how flexible we continue to be in meeting the needs of low-income seniors in our region. Our deepest thanks go to our dedicated board members, long-standing partner foundations, and community friends of Federation Housing, whose generous donations and support have enabled us to continue to provide these quality programs and services to our over 1,500 elderly agency wide.
As we look back and reflect on FH’s accomplishments over the past fifty years, we can be proud of the impact we make each and every day on the lives of those we proudly serve. The demand for quality, affordable housing and related services has never been greater and we remain committed to serving those less fortunate today and in the future.
We welcome your on-going partnerships and support as we fulfill our goals of creating new homes for low and moderate income seniors, help our seniors to remain in their homes and ensure that our residents have access to a wide variety of health and wellness programs and services. We also look forward to the time when we will be able to gather again as a community to celebrate Federation Housing’s legacy of service to the community.
Wishing you and your families sustained good health,
Executive Vice President