What is a Senior Village?
Senior villages are neighborhood-based membership organizations of paid staff, volunteers, and vendors supporting residents who wish to age in place.
Senior villages typically offer services to area residents aged 62 or older to allow them to remain in their homes for as long as they wish and are physically and mentally able. These services go from the mundane (putting out trash receptacles) to the professional (providing referrals for tax or financial advice). Senior villages rely on volunteers to provide many of these services including basic handyman help, rides and assistance with shopping and medical appointments, health and fitness counseling, and social events. Vendors referred by neighbors are available for home maintenance and modification, home health care, housekeeping, and other needs. There are currently 12 senior villages in the District, including the nearby Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom/West End, and Georgetown Villages.
A senior village is not a substitute for professional home or health care. Villages are limited in services they can provide for those with physical or cognitive limitations, however pre-membership conversations can be scheduled with potential members and a friend or loved one who can provide support to ensure the new member's expectations align with what our staff and volunteers are able to provide. Waterfront Village staff is always available to speak with members of the general public about home care and private case management services which may be more appropriate for high-needs individuals.
About Waterfront Village
The effort to bring a senior village to the Southwest Waterfront began in 2013 when the Waterfront Gateway Neighborhood Association (WGNA), the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D, and the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA) held an informational community meeting which drew several hundred interested residents. In October 2015, the WGNA Board voted to act as the facilitating organization to work with the District of Columbia Office on Aging to establish a senior village. Seeing that the residents south of M Street, S.E., were not within a senior village service area, the scope was expanded to include the Navy Yard and the project rebranded to the more inclusive Waterfront Village.
In January 2016, WGNA began soliciting email addresses of interested parties and collecting survey results to gauge interest pending further discussions with DCOA. By the end of May, the Waterfront Village's initial Board of Directors had been formed, its bylaws approved, federal 501(c)(3) non-profit status secured, and it was incorporated in the District of Columbia as a public charity. In June, a comprehensive Community Assessment Survey was launched to determine the initial services to be offered by the village. In July, the survey concluded and, from the results, the Board approved the member benefits and dues structure. A business plan and operating budget were produced in August, and the website launched.
Participation information, including membership fees and fundraising goals, were made available in September and the Events Calendar was launched. Informational public meetings to residents associations and congregations began in October, and the Member Services Center offering telephone and email support launched in November 2016, and Volunteer orientations began in December. A gala Launch Celebration to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the senior village movement was held February 13, 2017, at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, 555 Water Street, S.W. including a town hall moderated by Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells.
As of September 2019, Waterfront Village has grown to 125 member households representing nearly 170 individuals, a team of 31 volunteers, and a staff that includes a full-time Executive Director, a part-time Registrar and Events Manager, and a fundraising consultant. Major initiatives for 2018 are expanding outreach to the Navy Yard, launching a subsidized dues option for moderate and low income households, and developing a planned giving (Legacy Society) program. See "Annual Reports" on our Home page for more information.
Those interested in a senior village in the Southwest Waterfront and the Navy Yard can sign up for a complimentary 60-day Prospective Membership from the Member Sign-Up option on the menu bar above, by calling 202-656-1834, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
WGNA would like to express its appreciation to the District of Columbia Office on Aging, the Foggy Bottom/West End and Georgetown Villages for their support and mentoring; to Felicia Couts, Claire Boozer Cruse, Stephanie Eicher, Carol Hedgpeth, and Kelly Matoney for their pro bono professional services; to Atul Bohla of Masala Art and Maryna Mascriando of Station 4 for hosting fundraisers; to Doris Wu and Andrea Zimmerman for their donation of offices supplies, and to The JBG Companies , Friends of Southwest DC, and The Wharf for their underwriting of our start-up expenses.