Facility Provides Housing to Seniors With Disabilities

by ARLnow.com February 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm 3,370 11 Comments

A new county facility recently opened to provide housing and care to low-income seniors with intellectual disabilities.

The Mary Marshall Assisted Living Residence first opened in November after $8.2 million in renovations. Officials held an open house this morning to show off the facility. Located at 2000 5th Street S. near Fort Myer, the residence boasts 52 apartments for adults 55 or older who meet low income criteria and who have a mental illness, or an intellectual or developmental disability.

The facility’s open house is coming at a time when Virginia is planning to close four of its five large state facilities for the mentally disabled, in favor of smaller, community-based residences (like Mary Marshall).

“We know smaller, community-based settings are the best places for people with intellectual disabilities and people with mental illness to receive the care they need,” said Mike King, president of Volunteers of America, a national faith-based nonprofit that’s helping Arlington County run the residence. “Mary Marshall is one of the first facilities of its kind in the United States, and we hope it will become a model of care for the growing number of seniors living with these kinds of disabilities.”

“Improved care has helped [intellectually disabled seniors] live longer, healthier lives than they could in the past,” noted Volunteers of America spokesman David Burch. “Today, as they’ve reached old age, these people now face their existing disabilities plus new issues, like limited mobility and vision, resulting from aging.”

Potential residents will be referred to Mary Marshall by the Arlington County Department of Human Services.

  • Good Grief

    Sad that this is the first of this kind, good work VOA!

  • North Pershing Drive

    Old people are often very mean.

    • Sam

      Often because younger people are disrepectful and rude to them.

    • thecharlesriver

      I’ve noticed that people in general, especially in this area, tend to very mean.

  • BoredHouseWife

    Thank goodness. Nursing home/ assisted living care is very vexpensive

  • Warren

    Have you seen my baseball?

  • susan

    If Arlington County could convert 3 more large older apartment buildings to domicile use for the indigent it would take at least 50% of Arlington’s homeless off Arlington’s streets.

    • Zoning Victim

      I did a lot of reading on homelessness in the not so distant past because of the prevalence of discussions about the topic on this board. Research on the topic of how best to handle the homeless is woefully inadequate considering how long we’ve been dealing with the problem, but of the places that are studying the problem and on the forefront of implementing ideas that put the latest findings in place, they’ve found that having homeless housing in large complexes like this is actually a bad idea. It’s more expensive, it labels everyone in the building as homeless, it creates a situation where homeless people predominantly intermix with other homeless people instead of the general public, it causes homeless people to have to move when they get back on their feet (an expensive endeavor) and it hurts the neighborhoods they are put in because of the stigma associated with the homeless.

      This project differs from the studies I read because they were not dealing with the same problem (housing for the elderly with intellectual disabilities), but the conclusion was that the best and least expensive way to help the general homeless population was with what I’ll call a unit here and unit there approach. Under that approach, the government finds suitable units all around the area in separate apartment buildings for these people and has a sliding scale where the people get less and less assistance as their financial situation improves. Once they no longer need assistance, they are free to stay put in the place where they and their kids have established relationships with their neighbors.


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