By Lori Lovely
Seniors in the greater Peoria area who are considering leaving their homes for something smaller and more convenient have many options. In fact, one property management company alone offers several options. Robert Cottingham Property Management Company has been overseeing residential property for more than 36 years and currently operates 24 properties in four counties. “Our properties are managed with a focus on client satisfaction and a commitment to quality,” says Robert Cottingham, owner.
Ranging from cozy apartments and duplexes to communities for senior living, their properties fall under the federally subsidized housing category, a government-sponsored economic assistance program to alleviate the burden of housing costs for people with low to moderate incomes.
“We believe that low-income housing should not be low-quality housing,” says Louise Warren, property manager. Their income-based housing options feature extensive amenities.
As part of the program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development helps property owners offer reduced rent to tenants at a rate commensurate with their income. Certain criteria must be met in order to qualify for the program. There are income limits and residents must be 62 or older, or require the features of a mobility-accessible apartment. The program also benefits those with developmental disabilities.
Making the choice
Housing costs are often the biggest line-item in a person’s budget. Seniors who are retired, disabled, or have other financial limitations can have difficulty finding adequate housing. For those in such circumstances, opting for income-based housing may be a good alternative.
There can be other reasons to choose from the RCPM properties. Although leaving the family home can be an emotional change, downsizing can ease the burden on seniors living alone, relieving them of many of the duties of a homeowner.
“It can be difficult taking care of a house,” Warren points out. “We offer 24/7 maintenance to make life easier and more comfortable. There are no worries about having to mow the grass or shovel the snow, and if something in the apartment needs repair, all the resident has to do is make a phone call.”
It’s important to look into RCPM properties before the senior’s situation becomes dire because Warren says there can be a wait list for some properties and units are rented on a “first available” basis. With many long-term residents — some as many as 20 years — it’s easy to understand if inventory is in short supply.
RCPM’s apartments feature an array of amenities such as full kitchens and bathrooms, individually operated heating and air conditioning, and emergency alarm systems. Some apartments have patios or balconies. Some apartments include accessibility features designed with resident safety and convenience in mind.
“Many of our residents have access to onsite laundry facilities, a library with lots of books and puzzles, a gift shop, and a grocery store,” Warren continues. “They also have the opportunity to enjoy social gatherings such as Bingo, birthday parties, exercise, and fun-filled day trips.”
Many of the properties also offer the convenience of bus transportation to medical appointments and the grocery store.
“We do what we can to make our residents feel at home,” Warren concludes. “I often hear relatives of the residents say they have peace of mind knowing their family member is living in a safe and comfortable environment.”
Six years ago, Norma Sturch returned to the Peoria area. After a brief stay with her son, she began an online search for a place of her own. When the search turned up B’nai B’rith Covenant Apartments, Phase II, she knew she’d found it.
“It’s the right size for one person,” Sturch says. That doesn’t mean it’s small. She is delighted to have a big kitchen with full-size appliances because she likes to fix most of her meals at home, although she does have the option of eating breakfast and dinner in the dining room or, for a small fee, having meals delivered to her.
Choosing an apartment on the first floor put her close to the laundry room. A big window overlooks what she fondly calls the backyard, where she can “watch the critters” and enjoy the sunshine streaming in. Weather permitting, she enjoys watching the fish pond from the picturesque gazebo on the grounds.
There is added convenience in the facility’s location, which puts Sturch within walking distance of her church and the library. The library will also deliver large-print books to B’nai B’rith, which can be read in what she calls the fireplace room.
“We strive to make [our residents] feel comfortable in a friendly home-like environment,” says Francine Martin, site manager. “We offer a community room and cozy fireplace room for visiting and activities.”
Sturch doesn’t have to leave the grounds for social activities. She’s part of a group that meets for coffee in the community room, and she sometimes attends social activities in Phase I — the high-rise. Residents of the “low-rise,” what she calls Phase II, can take advantage of all the amenities of the sister property, Phase I, including the gift shop and beauty salon.
“We have monthly activities for residents to enjoy getting together for food and fellowship,” Martin says. If they choose to, residents can help plan the activities.
The facility provides free transportation for doctor appointments and to the grocery store, but with a bus stop right outside, Sturch often takes that to go downtown or to other destinations.
Moving to B’nai B’rith was “one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made,” Sturch says. “The staff is friendly and helpful, I have a lot of options, and I’m comfortable here.”
Warren says most of the residents at all their properties feel the same way — that they have found safe, comfortable, affordable homes where they can remain independent without the burden of having to take care of a house. Moving can be a tough decision, but Cottingham offers a large variety of housing options to make almost everyone feel at home.
For more information,call 309-673-6744 or 309-673-2252, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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