On-Line Edition Thursday, May 18, 2017 Vol. 59 No. 20.
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Lilac royalty Lilac Queen Kyla Denwood and her escort Jack Skilton are pictured as they prepared to greet guests at Fridayʼs 58th annual Lilac Ball at The Carlisle in Lombard. The ball, hosted by the Lombard Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry, supports the Lilac Parade and the Lilac Princess program. Featured during the evening was a Lilac Court reception, a four-course dinner, raffles, auctions and dancing. Queen Kyla and the members of her Lilac Court will be guests of honor during the 63rd Lilac Parade “Who is YOUR Hero?” on Sunday, May 21. Photo by Steve Spoden
***** Out & About by Jane Charmelo *****
Keller Williams visits Lombard to 'renew, energize and donate'
This time of year folks in the Lilac Village are thinking purple, but at one house in Lombard, it was all about red. RED, that is, as in Renew, Energize and Donate, the slogan coined by Keller Williams Realty to signify a day in which brokers, agents and their real estate partners take time out of their workday to be of service to others. RED Day was launched in 2009, and is held on the second Thursday in May. Here in Lombard, staff from Keller Williams Realty Premiere Properties in Glen Ellyn spent the day working at Chase Place, one of two senior residences run by Senior Home Sharing (SHS), a Wheaton-based non-profit agency formed in 1981 to help meet the housing needs of low-income seniors. Keller Williams associate broker Deb Ritter explained that each year, the office finds an organization or agency to assist for RED Day, and around February, "I started asking around our office, 'Does anyone know of projects we could take on?'" Another agent, Rachael Real, mentioned Chase Place, and it was then a matter of recruiting volunteers to assist within interior and exterior projects at the eight-bedroom house, located across the street from Montini Catholic High School. Ritter related how it was not just employees of Keller Williams, but home inspectors, lenders, lawyers, vendors, and other groups and businesses with whom Keller Williams works "to see a [real estate] transaction come together," who volunteered to spend the day working at Chase Place. "We can't do it without them," Ritter commented. Outside, there was landscaping work, and digging a trench for drain tiles, while inside, walls were being painted, and new cabinet handles and light fixtures were being installed, as well as the installation of a downstairs shower. One of the Chase Place residents, Bill Kelly, also volunteered, saying he helped do prep work in anticipation of the volunteers' arrival. He said he enjoys doing some maintenance work around the house, but that's just the way it is at Chase Place. Ritter pointed out that the preparation helped a great deal, saying, "They went to a lot of effort to prepare for the day by taping walls, spackling and clearing out furniture so we could come in and get started painting right away." Courtney Long, executive director of Senior Home Sharing, explained that the house has eight bedrooms, one of which is occupied by the house manager. Right now the senior-home sharing residence is not only full, but there is a waiting list. Including Chase Place, SHS also has a home in Naperville, Long said. She is hopeful that SHS can acquire more housing with the same features: a house with multiple bedrooms where individuals can have their own bedroom. "We are looking to expand the model," the director said, and based on numbers provided by SHS, the need certainly exists. DuPage County saw nearly 68,000 senior households in 2013 alone, with 17 percent of those being senior renters. Nearly 60 percent are units that are 30 percent or more of the seniors' household income. Also in 2013, 5.2 percent of DuPage County seniors ages 65 and over were living at or below the federal poverty level, and another 6.4 percent had incomes between 100 percent and 149 percent of the federal poverty level, or $11,490 to $17,120 a year. SHS also points out that in a 2015 Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of an assisted living facility in the Chicago area was roughly $4,900 per month. Assisted living is private pay and the survey showed that the monthly base for assisted living in Illinois was higher than that of neighboring states, and more expensive than the national average. Long said the average cost at Chase Place per month, per resident, is about $1,100, including rent, utilities, freshly prepared meals and support services through the SHS social worker. "A lot of our residents live solely on Social Security," she said, and SHS is "the only shared housing option for seniors in the county." While Section 8 housing vouchers help pay for some of the residents, "We rely heavily on individual donations, community grants and foundation support" to help meet expenses, said the director. Besides the benefit of affordable housing for seniors, Long emphasized that having a place to call home has been shown to decrease depression and increase socialization. "Working with the residents and staff at Chase Place was a true pleasure from day one when we started planning this in late February or early March," Ritter commented after the event. "We quickly built strong rapport with them which made for a highly collaborative joint effort." "The end result of updated landscaping and interior improvements in one day was very successful, I thought," she added. "From what I've heard so far, this was a nice project for us because we were able to work all together at one site versus multiple sites with smaller teams of volunteers," the associate broker noted, and as a reminder of what RED stands for, "I think we checked all three boxes through enhancing Chase Place physically and improving relationships not only with colleagues at Keller Williams Premiere Properties but also the residents and staff at Chase Place. It was a great day!" Ritter said that after their work was done, volunteers gathered for pizza in Lombard "and enjoyed the downtime to sit and visit," adding that the RED Day planning committee is already looking ahead to next year's RED Day, to be held May 10, 2018. For more information about Senior Home Sharing, visit www.seniorhomesharing.org. For more information about Keller Williams Premiere Properties, visit http://kwglenellyn.yourkwoffice.com.