Rob* spent his career shaping young minds as an elementary school educator. He can tell you story after story of children he helped build confidence in the classroom and he fondly remembers being the teacher kids turned to when they needed support or guidance. Now he’s 76, retired and living alone in his home in Chesapeake. His retirement income helps with the basics, but isn’t enough for routine maintenance around the house, which in younger years he used to perform himself. As he’s aged, his home has too, but he’s ignored it not knowing what to do.
To get out of the house and interact with others, Rob started volunteering with Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia as part of their Senior Companion Program. He learned of the program from a counselor he met while getting assistance applying for benefits. Through his volunteerism, Rob earns a small stipend to supplement his retirement income which usually helps him make ends meet but provides no cushion for emergencies.
One day while talking with one of the staff at Senior Services, Rob shared that he’d been living without hot water for several weeks. Apparently, the flooring under his hot water heater had decayed and the unit had to be disconnected for safety reasons. He couldn’t afford to have the floor fixed, so he was “making do.”
Thanks to rapid response grant funding from United Way, Senior Services was able to get Rob’s flooring repaired and his hot water restored. The funds improved the safety of Rob’s home and ultimately prevented him from becoming homeless.
The COVID-19 rapid response grants, a collective effort of United Way of South Hampton Roads and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, provided an anchor of stability and hope for seniors facing uncertainty in the wake of the COVID pandemic. Through the work of Senior Services, we have assisted seniors to remain safe in their homes during the pandemic and significantly improved their quality of life.
*Name changed to protect privacy