Jewish Tower Wins National Recognition for Quality

Jewish Tower Wins National Recognition for Quality

The Jewish Tower in Buckhead wins national award from affordable housing association.

For over 40 years The Jewish Tower has been serving the Atlanta community.
For over 40 years The Jewish Tower has been serving the Atlanta community.

The National Affordable Housing Management Association has named The Jewish Tower in Buckhead, a Community of Quality. This honor is for the largest residence in the portfolio of the Jewish HomeLife Network and is in recognition of the facility meeting the highest rental standards for safe, affordable senior housing. The executive director of The Jewish Tower, Lee Pratt, believes the award speaks to the work that has been accomplished for more than 40 years of service to the community.

“It’s a recognition of the efforts we have made over the years. It’s a unique honor for an Atlanta community. We’re the only community of this type that has this recognition here,” said Pratt.

The recognition, according to Jewish HomeLife’s marketing manager, Shari Bayer, is one that’s shared by everyone at the organization, which has facilities in Alpharetta and Dunwoody. “Why this certification is so nice is that it’s really a validation of what we’ve been doing the last couple of years particularly at The Jewish Tower, since it has become part of the Jewish HomeLife network. Lee and her team have worked so hard to help all their residents and have gone the extra mile,” she said.

The Jewish Tower in Buckhead wins national award from affordable housing association.

Funding for The Jewish Tower comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. According to Kris Cook, the executive director of the National Affordable Housing Management Association, the award is limited to a very small number of affordable housing communities. “The Jewish Tower is among the select few that have achieved the very highest standard of excellence in property management and in the provision of services to lower-income families. These services enable residents to attain high levels of self-sufficiency and success in their lives and for their families,” she said.

The award is particularly significant, since it comes during the midst of nearly two years of difficult times for senior living communities across the country. According to the Nonpartisan and Objective Research Center at University of Chicago, since the early months of 2020 — 33% of the independent living communities in the United States have lost residents to the COVID pandemic, yet twice that number of communities have come away relatively unscathed.

“While COVID-19 has been devastating for older adults, a majority of properties avoided any resident deaths,” said Caroline Pearson, senior vice president of health care strategy and lead researcher at NORC. “Death rates in senior housing increased in settings of care that serve the most vulnerable residents, based on age, health status, and caregiving needs. Healthier, more active residents in independent living had comparable mortality to those living in private homes.”

The Jewish Tower’s success in keeping residents safe may be partially the result of the resources that are available through The William Breman Jewish Home, an assisted living community that is adjacent to the building. Over the years the two communities have developed important relationships with medical experts within and outside the Jewish community. According to Pratt, the executive director, during the initial months of the pandemic many HUD supported facilities were unable to quickly gather medical resources. “None of the other HUD buildings, to my knowledge, had the kind of support we had, and we’re not only grateful for it, but we believe it saved lives and allowed us to do things other buildings were not able to. I think that was an important part of giving people peace of mind at a time when it was very much needed. For us to know that we could lean on professional medical staff and scientists from the CDC in Atlanta to get answers to questions that were urgent and important was priceless,” she said.

Lee Pratt, left, executive director, serves lunch at an appreciation luncheon for staff of The Jewish Tower,

As the facility looks ahead to the New Year, Pratt is particularly concerned about not just the physical well-being of residents, but the psychological challenges they face. She believes that the COVID vaccine earlier this year and the booster shots that all the residents have recently received will give hope to them. While they are still wary of the dangers the pandemic poses, she is particularly concerned about keeping them connected to others. Pratt stated, “We’re offering a variety of activities that they can do and still feel safe and not feel isolated. We’ve noticed over the last few months that the feeling of isolation has probably been almost as bad as the fear of the pandemic because it has a real impact on people. So, we’re trying to keep that balance of people staying healthy both physically and mentally.”

The award to The Jewish Tower will be presented at the annual meeting of the National Affordable Housing Management Association in Washington, D.C. in March 2022.

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