In 2008, when the Landis Homes Board began a long-range planning effort, it started by listening carefully to many persons throughout the Lancaster community. One of the important things we heard was an increasing concern for those who either choose not to come to a retirement community, or who do not have the resources to make that an option. This was one impetus leading to the creation of Landis Communities in 2011 and its goals of keeping Landis Homes strong and vital, providing new more affordable living options, providing services at home, and developing creative partnerships in support of these broad objectives.
Landis Communities is committed to responding to the growing needs in this area. Increasingly this is a subject of conversation throughout the county since by 2040 the Lancaster County Planning Commission expects the population over age 85 to double and the population over age 65 to go from 14% to 22% of the total population.
Landis Communities is responding in several ways. November 10, 2015 saw the opening of Mountain View Terrace, New Holland. This is a collaborative effort between Landis Communities affiliate Welsh Mountain Home and HDC MidAtlantic, one of the area’s largest providers of affordable housing. It marks Landis Communities first entry into this area of growing importance. Funding for the project included $1 million from the Lancaster County Housing & Redevelopment Authorities, and approximately $6 million from Low Income Housing Tax Credits through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. Reflecting the need in this area, nearly all of the apartments are full with a waiting list for some layouts.
More information can be found online at www.welshmountainhome.org/mountain-view-terrace/.
(Participating in the ribbon cutting for Mountain View Terrace are, left to right, Larry Zook, Landis Communities President/CEO; Eva Bering, Landis Communities VP of Operations; Matthew Sternberg, Executive Director of Lancaster County Housing & Redevelopment Authorities; Brian Hudson, PHFA Executive Director/CEO; Andrew Maines, Welsh Mountain Home Executive Director and Mike Carper, President/CEO of HDC MidAtlantic)
Landis Communities is also participating in the newly formed Coalition for Sustainable Housing (C4SH). This group includes folks from the building industry, nonprofit, business and planning sectors. Expect to hear more as we collaborate on new ideas and replicate successful efforts designed to enhance sustainable housing in the area.
We are also reshaping the Leadership Team to reflect the importance of this effort. Currently Landis Communities is seeking a Vice President of Community Initiatives. This person will implement and expand the vision of Landis Communities in the areas of community services for those who desire to remain independent in their home with support services, and work at further development of alternative affordable housing options. This team member will carry on many of the duties Daryl Peifer managed so well as Vice President of Business Development before his retirement in December.
I am reminded of former resident Grace Wenger who in 1994 authored a history of the first thirty years at Landis Homes, and ended the book with these prophetic words:
This service [Adult Day Services] to non-residents is one small step in a new direction, reaching beyond our own campus to give Christ-centered care to retirees in the larger community. As staff, board and residents discover new ways of sharing compassionate service, they may see, thirty years from now, the fulfillment of one man’s vision: ‘a Landis Homes Community without walls.’
With your support and encouragement this vision is becoming reality. As always, we welcome your thoughts and prayers as we move forward. Please be in touch if you questions or comments.