WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Adequate public and private housing to meet the needs of area seniors is always a hot topic. But with the case of an evicted senior who suddenly needed housing, it’s become even hotter and prompted a movement to protect others in a similar situation.
Bill Daniels of Wilkes-Barre is frustrated about the case of a man he can no longer call his neighbor. That former neighbor who is 70 was forced to give up his high rise apartment late last year for multiple violations of his lease. “We can’t fault them (management) for following their regulations in the best of their interests however we’re trying to change those regulations.”
Mr. Daniels showed me his former neighbor’s eviction notice dated November 29th which ordered that man to vacate his apartment December 15th. Mr. Daniels said the timing couldn’t have been worse because his neighbor was in the hospital at the time, adding that “Elders are losing the respect and dignity that they have in other countries that they used to have in this country.”
Mr. Daniels thinks seniors with health or financial complications need more time, so he and about a half-dozen others recently formed what’s called “Elder Alliance” to fight for a change in the law. The first act of Daniels’ fledgling group was to draft this letter, a call to action, and send it to state and federal lawmakers as well as the local media.
I visited Area Agency on Aging Luzerne & Wyoming Counties to find out what it does when a senior is forced to give up their apartment or home. “We would assign a care manager to the case, to the situation and see what we can do,” said Annette Grella who is the agency’s Director of Social Services.
Ms. Grella told me her agency often encounters elder residents losing their housing because of lease violations or financial difficulties. In such cases, she says time is of the essence. “If there’s some kind of a reason that we can stave off the eviction we would try to do that but we have to be notified early on.”
And now because of Mr. Daniels’ group, a fight to buy senior evictees more time. Mr. Daniels’ former neighbor ended up finding other housing thanks to Area Agency On Aging. You can contact Elder Alliance at PO Box 2793, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701 or by calling 570-825-8772. To contact Area Agency on Aging Luzerne & Wyoming Counties, click here or call 570-822-1158 and ask for the Intake Department.