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    HUD grant aids independent elderly

    Creekside Manor I is one of the homes in the region that will be able to hire someone to help line up transportation, housekeeping and other services.

    By LISA GREENE

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 20, 2000


    CLEARWATER -- When Dorothy Cox couldn't get her insurance policy changed, Donna Kimball came to the rescue.

    Kimball is the service coordinator at Clear Bay Terrace, the home for the elderly where Cox lives. Kimball stepped in, made all the calls and solved Cox's problem.

    "I was going out of my mind trying to get it straightened out," Cox said. "Donna is a wonderful person."

    The 55 residents at another Clearwater retirement home are about to get their own Donna Kimball, thanks to a grant announced this week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    The $144,000 grant to Creekside Manor I will allow the home to hire someone to help residents find housekeeping, transportation and other services.

    "This will keep them living independently as long as possible," said Brenda Zopp.

    Zopp is community administrator at Creekside Manor, a retirement home with 55 apartments for low-income elderly people run by Florida Volunteers of America.

    Zopp said many of Creekside's residents need help with the basics in life. Getting to doctors' appointments and finding a trustworthy housekeeper can be difficult.

    "It's the little things," she said. "They're not that big a deal. But it affects their state of mind and their outlook when they can't do it."

    Ultimately, she said, being able to handle daily tasks can make the difference in whether an older person can live alone or must go to a nursing home. That's where a service coordinator comes in.

    The coordinator knows where to find services, can do needed paperwork and advises residents. Zopp said Creekside decided to apply for the grant after seeing how much help the coordinators have been at other Volunteers of America facilities, including Clear Bay.

    The grant to Creekside was part of $29.3-million in grants for service coordinators that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced. The grants are supposed to provide help for more than 35,000 low-income elderly or disabled people who live in federally supported housing.

    Florida received a total of $1.46-million in housing grants. Other facilities receiving grants in west central Florida are Bethany Towers, $111,000, South Pasadena; Kings Arms Apartments, $117,000, Tampa; and Episcopal Catholic Apartments, $117,000, Winter Haven.

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