WSW: Seeking Senior Housing That's Affordable, Healthy And Secure

Jun 7, 2018

In the 1980’s the Washington Square Senior Housing Co-Op was having trouble filling vacancies. The General Manager of CSI Support and Development Nancy Evans says there was an over-saturation of affordable senior housing in Kalamazoo then. But times have changed.


CSI, the non-profit organization that runs Washington Square recently announced that they will be investing $300,000 for upgrades, with a longer-term investment of $6-million over five years. Nancy Evans of CSI and Heritage Community of Kalamazoo CEO Jay Prince joined WMUK’s Gordon Evans to discuss challenges for providing quality affordable housing for seniors.

The renovations at Washington Square will also bring a name change. The co-op will be known as City View in the Square. Evans says while making so many changes to building, it seemed like a good time for a name change. She says the co-op did not have a great reputation in community. Evans says because of vacancy issues in the 80’s the Department of Housing and Urban Development allowed the co-op to bring in underage residents. She says seniors started moving out, and that changed the flavor of building. Evans says the tenant selection has moved back to seniors. She says suggestions for a new name came from residents of the co-op.

The glut of senior housing no longer exists, and CSI, along with Heritage Community of Kalamazoo are trying to make sure that seniors have a place to live. Heritage CEO Jay Princes says there are more seniors every day as baby boomers move into their retirement years. He says it’s important to find affordable places to live, and services for the home. Prince that includes technology dedicated to “smart homes.”

Evans describes now as the perfect time for investment in the Washington Square and Edison area. She says the neighborhood is enjoying a resurgence and CSI wants to be part of that. Evans that includes fixing up the building up to make sure it fits into the community. She says there will be security upgrades.

Prince says “for those that have a heart for senior living this is our time.” He says the baby boom generation has influenced thinking about many aspects of life, and retirement will be no different. Prince says longer life spans present another challenge. He says it’s become common to see people living independently past the age of 100. Prince says that what he calls the “GI generation” were savers. He says the next group is thinking about how we can retire in style.

Evans says many baby boomers don’t have savings or a pension. She says as the goal is to provide them with an affordable place to live that is healthy and secure.