Partnering with the Community
Residents of our communities benefit from the combined efforts of our Community Managers and corporate staff along with on-site Resident Services Coordinator where available, provided by HUD’s Multi-Family Housing Service Coordinator program since 2003. The coordinators working in our senior properties assist residents with their individual social services needs and partner with local organizations to provide services and programming for the community as a whole. At multiple properties, we also provide a comprehensive Community Resource Center with program descriptions and contact information for local organizations. Our service coordination efforts result in increased access to food resources, educational opportunities, social events and healthcare support. These outreach efforts include scheduling presentations related to credit counseling, community college registrations and local job training. Chisom’s efforts would not be successful without the dedicated support of our local partners along with our dedicated site staff.
Chisom understands that many residents of affordable housing experience food insecurity. This is an issue that not only affects physical health but also threatens a family’s emotional wellbeing, a child’s performance in school and an infant's brain development. We strive to improve access to nutritional meals.
One of Chisom’s goals is to see every child we serve pursue higher education. Children that grow up in affordable housing and graduate from college have been proven less likely to return to affordable housing later in life.
Chisom recognizes that financial limitations can impact residents' access to health care. Chisom encourages residents to live their healthiest lives through preventive programs designed to address general wellness and chronic conditions that can be worsened by the stress of living in poverty.
In addition to the social issues faced by low-income families, our senior residents have distinct needs such as lack of mobility, legal assistance and social activities. Our Community Managers and Service Coordinators work closely with residents to address these issues.
- Most, if not all, of Chisom’s youngest residents receive free or reduced meals through their local school district during the school year. In the summer, parents face the challenge of providing extra meals for their children on a limited budget. To bridge that gap, Chisom works with sponsors to create USDA Summer Food Service Program sites in our communities. We can serve up to 250+ free meals per day to children and individuals with disabilities throughout the summer.
- The Pines at Garden City, Kalmia Apartments, Rio Hondo Apartments and Colleten Heights all have on-site food pantries where residents can receive fresh produce and canned goods at no cost to them. All food is purchased by Chisom from America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, Golden Harvest Food Bank, Food Bank of Rio Grande Valley and Low Country Food Bank, respectively.
- In Louisville, KY, we have partnered with the Dare to Care Food Bank to provide monthly commodity boxes to our senior residents.
- Our residents learn how to prepare healthy food for their families at programs like the Cooking Matters Class at Portland Plaza.
- Catholic Charities partnered with our Community Manager to provide Cooking Classes at Metropolitan Gardens in Reno, NV.
- At Colleton Heights, families participate in Mommy & Me Cooking Class where generations can cook together.
- Hosea Helps distributed groceries to more than 75 families at a Community Outreach Event at Oakland City Apartments.
- Chisom is thankful for organizations like the Donna Rotary Club in Donna, TX and Christian Heritage Church in Graniteville, SC that have been graciously providing holiday meals for residents at Donna Village and Kalmia Apartments for years. Following their lead, Chisom began organizing annual holiday meals, food basket giveaways and children’s toy drives for other communities in 2016.
- Every February, Chisom celebrates National Children’s Dental Health Month at several properties by organizing activities that teach children how to take proper care of their teeth. Donations from local dentists help us distribute care packages with toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss.
- During the fall season, Chisom partners with Walgreens and local pharmacies to provide free flu clinics at multiple properties.
- Our senior properties provide free on-site health screenings in the form of blood pressure screenings, diabetes education and vaccination clinics throughout the year.
- At Yadkin House, Chisom installed a very popular treadmill in February 2016. Our senior residents enjoy this treadmill because many of them have physical difficulty leaving the property, particularly in bad weather, but want to stay active.
- The local YMCA provided a Silver Sneakers exercise program on-site at Yadkin House. Residents could participate in exercise classes designed for seniors and led by an experienced trainer at either no cost or for $1.00 per class.
- We are proud to work closely with Soccer in the Streets in Atlanta, GA to encourage our children living at Oakland City Apartments to join their free soccer program. Their young coaches are trained to use soccer as a medium to teach life skills and inspire youth to pursue higher education.
- Chisom continuously looks for opportunities to support resident-lead activities. At Oakland City Apartments, a resident mom leads a kickball and crafts program every summer for 20 children.
Chisom recognizes higher education as a pathway out of poverty. Children that grow up in affordable housing and graduate from college are less likely to return to affordable housing later in life. Ensuring our children have access to afterschool programs that emphasize STEM education is especially important to us because of the estimated 9 million STEM jobs coming to the US by the year 2022.
In 2016, Chisom successfully launched a pilot after-school program in partnership with the Doc B Cares’ STREAM Academy in Atlanta, GA.
- Our partnership provided 20 children from Oakland City Apartments with afterschool programming for three days a week.
- Doc B Cares included tutoring, arts and crafts, soccer, STEM learning and a hearty dinner, all staffed with retired teachers and local professionals.
- Children also had the chance to learn technical coding and robotics with Doc B Cares!
The success of the Doc B Cares pilot resulted in our partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta. During the 2016-2017 school year, through the generosity of J4 Development, Chisom is sponsoring the membership and transportation of over 40 children to attend the Club. At The Club they have an opportunity to participate in STEM activities, robotics, basketball, dance and multi-cultural educational experiences.
Children in affordable housing are more prone to experiencing educational setbacks during the summer months. Chisom aims to combat that loss by engaging our young residents in summer camps and learning experiences. At several properties, we have partnered with local libraries to provide on-site lending libraries and reading hours during the summer where library staff read with our younger children. Chisom has also installed community technology centers where residents have free access to the internet. These centers allow children to complete their internet-based homework, adults to apply for jobs and seniors to improve their technology skills.
Active Seniors and Persons with Disabilities
- Many seniors do not commute due to costs hindering their ability to own a personal vehicle and lack of knowledge about public transportation. Chisom has partnered with local transportation services to provide informative outreach events and distribute coupons for bus services. In the past, Rowan County Transit has provided transportation for several seniors, including those in wheelchairs, to a ‘Stump ‘n Stew’ event where residents met candidates for local office and had lunch.
- Chisom is dedicated to finding innovative ways to keep our seniors as active as possible. At Yadkin House, our residents that are unable to stand for extended periods enjoy bowling on the Wii in the community room. At Cypress Cathedral, residents participate in low-impact Tai Chi classes.
- Seniors with low-income often have difficulty acquiring legal assistance to write their wills. We are very thankful for law firms that provide free legal services and education at our communities.
- To combat isolation, we offer Bingo, movie nights, ice cream socials, crafting events, Bible studies and holiday parties for our seniors.