Living Wisdom Village,
Elders Creating Community
To develop housing for an economically diverse population, within walking distance of the Crestone
commercial district, for people 55 and older who are able to live independently.
Living Wisdom Village - Elders Creating Community aspires to enhance the quality of life for seniors in a community where residents get support from each other and the greater community, their living environment allows them to meet their daily needs more easily, opportunities for social interaction are increased, and their life experiences and acquired skills can be shared more readily.
"Aging in Place" is the ability to live in one’s own home safely, comfortably, and independently, irrespective of age, ability level or income. Living in community helps seniors remain independent; walking to the post office, shopping and coffee shops is good exercise and supports increased social interaction. Living close to community helps prevent isolation, which is a cause for anxiety and fear. The opportunity to engage in communal meals with their peers supports eating more regularly with a varied diet. It is vitally important to us that our elders have the opportunity to live dignified and engaged lives, remaining physically and mentally active, ensuring they are visible and valued in society, and able to enjoy reciprocal relationships with peers, neighbors, and community members of all ages. It is necessary for elders to remain in community for as long as possible to maintain the diversity.
Living Wisdom Village (LWV) will be an affordable living community for those 55 and older located near to downtown Crestone. The need for this project became evident from findings of a Housing Market Study completed in 2016 which indicated a complete lack of senior independent-living facilities in Saguache County, and this market being severely undersupplied in the surrounding Alamosa, Chaffee, Mineral and Rio Grande counties (San Luis Valley).
This project aims to strengthen capacity while meeting the needs of our aging population, where seniors can maximize the quality of their lives in an environment that offers both privacy and community. It is structured to include a balanced range of income and demographic segments of the county. The ‘Village’ will house 15 – 35 seniors, consist of all rental units - including some Section 8 units, and will be governed by the residents. CPCH is dedicated to Living Wisdom Village being developed in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner.
HISTORY of Living Wisdom Village
As often happens in life, conditions change, challenges arise, and we begin to ponder and think about “the future”. In 2009, family illness called Barbara Hoeppner away from Crestone so that she might care for her father who had become very ill. During the month which she spent with her dad, her thoughts focused on aging, living alone and wondering how a caring community could provide options for seniors who wished to remain in this community among friends and neighbors.
Upon her return, Barbara wrote an article in the Crestone Eagle offering a get-together and conversation; twenty-three people gathered for that first meeting and a core group was formed to continue dialogue and planning.
In 2013 the Board hosted a community presentation of the Living Wisdom Village concept, which was attended by more than 70 residents. Numerous community-wide meetings have been held; survey’s have been conducted and focus groups helped the Board identify the needs, issues and desires of our senior population.
The Board is strongly influenced by the book Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, a surgeon, which examines the limitations and failures in how modern medicine for the aging often runs counter to what the aging desire. Being Mortal shows that the ultimate goal for the aging is not a good death, but a good life.
The founding premises of Elders Creating Community are:
That the processes of REFLECTION AND WISDOM-GLEANING that accompany aging – activities that nourish and enrich the life of the community with realization, depth and meaning – can be significantly enhanced by one’s physical and social environment.
That the goal that matters most to the elderly, i.e. QUALITY OF LIFE, is more important than safety and living longer. It is more important than living a controlled and supervised institutional existence, devoid of the things and people we care most about.
That the path of collaboration and partnership with others in all sectors – nonprofit, business, philanthropic, educational and government – offers the best potential for creating an INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY that can fulfill these objectives.
That “elderhood” is a time with potential for unparalleled inner growth having EVOLUTIONARY SIGNIFICANCE in this era of global transformation.
Click to access the individual files for the following:
1. 2016 Housing Market Study - full version
Frequently asked Questions
1. Q. Why is CPCH working to create Living Wisdom Village?
A. CPCH is a non-profit dedicated to creating affordable rental housing in Saguache County in an environmentally responsible manner. There is a complete lack of senior independent living facilities in Saguache County and this market is severely undersupplied in the San Luis Valley. For years the Crestone/Baca community has been losing its elders when they can no longer find safe and affordable housing here. CPCH intends to make affordable senior housing available.
2. Q. How much property is being purchased?
A. CPCH is purchasing 4.6 acres; the size of the land will provide options for expansion in the future. After searching for more than 2 years for suitable land for this project, this is the first parcel that has become available for purchase.
3. Q. How much is CPCH paying for the land?
A. That information is confidential until the purchase is completed.
4. Q. Why did CPCH choose this location?
A. The mission statement for Living Wisdom Village includes “within walking distance of the Crestone commercial district”; this property is less than a mile from downtown businesses.
5. Q. Will anyone be able to rent there?
A. Living Wisdom Village will be for seniors 55 and older. Living Wisdom Village began as a housing project for seniors by a group of passionate elder volunteers a few years ago. We are aware of the need for housing for younger people, which the County is working to address.
6. Q. What does “affordable” mean?
A. “Affordable” is determined by County income data. Living Wisdom Village will include some Section 8 units. As the project further unfolds CPCH will be able to provide estimated rental costs.
7. Q. How will you pay for this project?
A. Because CPCH is a non-profit, grant funds are available for construction of Living Wisdom Village. However, there are no foundations that pay for land purchase, which is why we are currently fundraising. A private donor has offered to triple every donation CPCH receives, up to $10,000, which means a $100 donation will be matched with $300, netting a total of $400, and a $5,000 donation will net a total of $20,000.
8. Q. What is an Enterprise Zone tax credit?
A. CPCH has received Enterprise Zone status through the state. Each person who donates a minimum of $100 and completes the tax credit application will receive a certificate from the state for a tax credit equal to 25% of their donation.
9. Q. When will construction beginn?
A. At this time it appears that construction will begin in 2021. As CPCH works through the grant process with foundations, the timeline for building will become clearer.
10. Q. Will there be market rate units available for rent?
A. This is being considered; CPCH doesn’t have this answer currently.
11. Q. How many people will this project provide housing for?
A. We are planning housing for 20 - 35 seniors. The Village will have studio, one and two-bedroom rental apartments and will include some Section 8 units.
12. Q. If I need help with my personal care, can I live there?
A. This development is being designed for people who can live independently. Our desire is that Villagers will help one another as possible. Caregivers from the larger community can be hired and home health care may be available through your insurance. Local care givers can offer additional assistance. Hospice care is available, when needed, from agencies in Alamosa and Salida.
13. Q. Can I have my pets with me? Will there be a dog park or fenced in yard?
A. At this time, the CPCH Board has not yet created any governing documents for the completed Village. At a minimum, service animals will be allowed.
Saguache County Government – the County Commissioners have provided nine sales tax grants thus far to assist with the costs involved in developing affordable senior housing in Saguache County. With these funds we have been able to contract for a Housing Market Study - completed in 2016, create a website, conduct community outreach events, conduct a survey on senior housing needs, and engage a Project Manager for the Living Wisdom Village project.
Adams State University (ASU), Business Department – ASU students have assisted our project with the creation of an on-line survey soliciting feedback on the needs for senior housing, and provided marketing ideas and materials for the promotion of this project.
Crestone/Baca Village – Volunteers provide services to community seniors and those with disabilities, such as transportation; cooking; home, vehicle and appliance maintenance and repair; and visitation.