Crawford Manor Residents, Zionsville Electeds Deliver Petition, Call on “Faith-based Nonprofit” Landlord BHI to Protect Low-Income Senior Housing
May 24, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE
Indianapolis, IN– In February, “faith-based nonprofit” landlord BHI Senior Living notified 100 residents of Crawford Manor, a HUD-subsidized housing complex in Zionsville, that they would need to move out of their homes in the next year. Crawford Manor was built 40 years ago as a part of a HUD-subsidized contract to provide housing for the lowest income and most vulnerable seniors. Crawford Manor is home to a diverse community, including many disabled and Mandarin-speaking residents, many of whom have lived there for decades, and do not wish to leave. Over the years, BHI made a conscious decision to aggressively expand and develop new, more expensive properties rather than maintain their existing property for low-income seniors.
In response, Crawford Manor residents sent a letter to BHI in March signed by over half of the residents requesting a meeting with BHI to discuss their concerns and solutions.
Sharon Thomas, a 73-year old resident who’s called Crawford Manor home for over 10 years, is worried about the physical, financial, and emotional barriers to finding a home and moving as low-income seniors. “A year sounds like a long time, but it’s not a long time in a housing crisis. We have to find a low income apartment to be able to pay rent. I’ve applied to different places, but they have a year or two waiting list or longer.” Thomas said. “The worry and stress about finding a place, packing and moving, and the costs is really distressing.”
When BHI failed to respond to residents’ written concerns and request for a meeting, their call for support was heard by the community: Crawford Manor residents circulated a petition which has garnered more than 1,000 individual and organizational signatures. On Tuesday, May 23rd Crawford Manor residents, caregivers, concerned community members, faith leaders, State Senator J.D. Ford, and State Representative Becky Cash joined together at BHI’s headquarters to deliver the petition as well as another letter signed by over 30 residents requesting a meeting.
“We need a meeting to try to address solutions to our problems. We have a lot of seniors that are hurting and trying to accommodate what has been put on us,” Crawford Manor resident David Willis said in delivering the community petition and resident letter. “We really want some dialogue, but we’re not getting it.“
Crawford Manor residents have requested that CEO John Dattilo respond to their meeting request by Tuesday, May 31st.
At a press conference which followed, Crawford Manor residents, loved ones, clergy, and state legislators Representative Becky Cash (R) and Senator J.D. Ford (D) gathered to share their stories and call on BHI Senior Living to meet and work with residents.
Senator J.D. Ford said, “[The residents] deserve to be treated with honesty and integrity. It was mentioned that the residents wrote a letter, and it was ignored. Representative Cash and I wrote a letter, and we got an instant phone call,” demonstrating BHI’s willingness to coordinate with powerful people but not with those directly impacted.
“The residents in this community deserve stability, and this includes being able to stay with the community that supports them,” Representative Cash said. “Many of these residents come from multiple different ethnic communities. Some of them don’t even speak English… Simply telling residents to move and that we’ll help you find that doesn’t necessarily work for our Asian population but also for ethnic communities that really rely on each other.”
Across race and place families in Indiana, Hoosiers, especially low-income and disabled seniors, are struggling to stay housed because a handful of corporate developers and even some “nonprofits” like BHI rig the rules to jack up rents, build only for the wealthiest few, and hoard even more profits for themselves. The wait-lists for HUD housing in Indianapolis are often 1.5-3 years long, and low-income seniors are amongst the most cost-burdened in Indiana.
“I don’t want to see anyone go through what we are having to go through,” Sharon Thomas said. “We are her today because we are losing our homes. We are asking for solutions to help to find safe housing or housing options, so we do not wind up on the street.”
Crawford Manor residents await a response from BHI by Tuesday, May 23rd to schedule a meeting. Residents will continue to work with elected officials, HUD, and community members to call on BHI to work with residents on solutions.
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