Letter to the Editor: Nathan Edelson
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Letter to the Editor: Nathan Edelson

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An End to Jewish Independent Living?

I live in what was until recently a large Jewish-named, owned, and managed low-income independent living residence, Kavod Senior Life, in Denver, Colo., which accepts operating subsidies from HUD, the Housing and Urban Development Department of the Federal Government.

Two months ago, Kavod CEO Michael Klein signed a voluntary compliance agreement with James Whiteside, the Denver Director of HUD, to actively recruit new minority residents.

As part of this Agreement the category of Independent Living was eliminated for 375 studio and one-bedroom Kavod apartments, which can now be occupied by more than one person, including children, and will hereafter be called and considered simply generic multifamily affordable housing.

In addition, new resident screening requirements for these units have been significantly reduced, with persons with criminal convictions and evictions now eligible for admission.

One result of these changes will be that newly admitted residents, who no longer need to demonstrate that they can look after themselves as they did under the long-established independent-living paradigm, will tend to be sicker and less capable and will require additional expensive accommodation and care.

But HUD will not be providing any additional resources to meet these new residents’ needs. That will be the responsibility of the local Jewish Community, even though the admission of new Jewish Seniors to Kavod, for which there is already a long waiting list, will be significantly reduced.

So far, as I am aware, Kavod is the only HUD subsidized senior housing in the United States so far to be threatened with the withdrawal of Federal funds and Federal Court action if it does not comply with these new HUD Directives.

However, I see no reason why HUD will not try to impose similar measures on other Jewish owned and operated Senior residences throughout the Country, including The Jewish Tower and The Zaban Tower on Howell Mill Road in Atlanta.

I will be pleased to email the actual Agreement Kavod CEO Michael Klein signed with HUD to any reader who is in a position to evaluate it and help me determine whether there are grounds to take HUD to Court, to prevent it from destroying the independent living model for senior subsidized housing, Jewish and otherwise, which has worked so well in America for the past 50 years.

Nathan Edelson, Denver

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