Arlington’s Culpepper Garden senior living community gets $2 million federal grant

Daffodils at Culpepper Garden senior living center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 3/13/24) A senior living community in Arlington is set to receive significant new support from the federal government.

Congress passed an appropriations bill last week that, among other things, allocated $2 million to Culpepper Garden, Arlington’s sole low-income senior retirement community. It’s home to 365 seniors aged 62 and older.

The funds, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will finance numerous upgrades to the 350-unit facility at 4435 N. Pershing Drive in Buckingham.

“The federal funding will help Culpepper Garden take up a housing revitalization project that will make much-need updates to its Independent Living and Assisted Living wings,” according to a press release. “The updates will include a host of renovations to apartments, installing new elevators and walkways, and more to improve quality of living and accessibility for residents.”

Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner helped secure funding for the facility.

“It’s critical for seniors’ quality of life that they have safe and affordable housing,” they said in a press release. “We’re proud to have secured federal funding to make important renovations that will improve accessibility and safety for seniors in Arlington County.”

Culpepper Garden was the first assisted living facility in the U.S. to receive federal rent subsidies from HUD, the press release notes.

The funds come at a crucial time when many Arlington residents, especially seniors, struggle to afford the cost of living, including housing, says Culpepper Garden President Marta Hill Gray.

The current waitlist for the facility is two years, “indicating a growing need for affordable housing as America’s aging population continues to swell,” per the release.

“We are immensely grateful to our leaders in Congress for recognizing the growing need for affordable housing for at-risk older adults,” Gray said in a statement. “We know that stable and quality housing leads to better health outcomes for older adults, and these earmarks will go directly towards improving our facilities and our residents’ quality of life.”

In addition to housing, Culpepper Garden is also home to an extensive garden with more than 30,000 daffodils and numerous native Virginia plants.