Rona Barrett Foundation: Community Donations Push Golden Inn & Village Project Halfway to Fundraising Goal

Rona Barrett Foundation: Community Donations Push Golden Inn & Village Project Halfway to Fundraising Goal

Noozhawk 2011

senior living noozhawk

By Kelly Kapaun for the Rona Barrett Foundation | Published on 02.12.2015 7:40 a.m.

With the support of the community, the Golden Inn & Village is off to an impressive start to become the first affordable senior housing and residential care “aging in place” facility in Santa Ynez Valley that is designed to serve the community’s most vulnerable residents.

The Rona Barrett Foundation is spearheading the GIV initiative and thanks its community partners and individual donors for donations so far toward a critical $800,000 funding goal.

Since the campaign launched in January, major donations have been received from the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation, the Central Coast Wine Classic Foundation and other local foundations, and donations from individuals all throughout the community.

As a condition of receiving the $23 million in tax credits needed to start building GIV, the Rona Barrett Foundation must raise the remaining $400,000 by Feb. 28. The tax credits also mean that for every $1 a supporter donates to the Campaign for the GIV, an estimated $23 will be returned as community dividends in the form of local jobs, local salaries and local expenditures for equipment, transportation and supplies.

“My heartfelt thanks and appreciation go to Rona Barrett and all of those who have been so critical to the success of the Golden Inn & Village project. This project will not only provide housing and vital support services to its community members but will go a long way to making our future brighter by helping so many seniors access quality, affordable retirement,” said Lois Capps, U.S. representative for California’s 24th Congressional District.

“Thanks to the generosity of community supporters, our senior loved ones will be able to create new friendships, build new futures and participate in meaningful activities within an affordable, dignified and familial setting,” said Rona Barrett, founder and president of the Rona Barrett Foundation.

The Golden Inn & Village is a mixed-use development in a neighborhood setting that will provide approximately 120 affordable units for low-income seniors to reside in a comfortable, supportive environment that meets their needs as they age and 27 affordable family units, some of which may be occupied by employees of the GIV. Services will range from independent to assisted living and memory care to hospice, with staff residing on premises and available 24 hours a day. The programs and services provided will be coordinated in collaboration with multiple community partners and include:

» 60 independent living units for low-income seniors

» 60 units of memory care/assisted living

» Senior Community Center (with extended hours for family visits and caregiver respite)

» 27 affordable family units, some of which may be occupied by employees of the GIV

» Supportive services such as Hospice coordinated with multiple partners

» Small shops (barber, beauty shop, and other services), staff offices, drought tolerant gardens, and walking paths

The Golden Inn & Village was conceived specifically to address the needs of our senior loved ones, parents, friends, neighbors and especially orphaned seniors — those who have no one left to care for them. It is for seniors who live within our area but, with resources dwindling, are forced to survive on little more than Social Security. Construction on the project is slated to begin in March. Click here for more information about or to donate to GIV.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing the Rona Barrett Foundation.

Rona Barrett: Opening Our Eyes to Invisible Seniors

Rona Barrett: Opening Our Eyes to Invisible Seniors


gray matters


By Rona Barrett | Published on 02.05.2015 2:25 p.m.

A lovely woman once lived an extraordinary well-to-do life. She and her husband had several children. Her husband passed away during the downturn in the economy. Because her husband’s money-managing skills were fairly deficient, after a few years she was forced to sell her home. Between her husband’s lingering doctor bills and helping her children, she no longer had anything left. Her only income became a Social Securitycheck that amounted to about $1,000 every month.

Then she began developing her own aging illnesses requiring expensive drugs to treat. Unfortunately, when she needed help, only one of her children was occasionally able to give her aid. Her other children lived out of state.

One day the lovely aging woman went to meet some friends, slipped, fell and broke her hip as she entered a restaurant. Her health did not improve as she had hoped. And what bothered her most was recognizing that her memory was failing ever so slightly.

Now, this lovely aging woman is an “invisible senior,” isolated, homebound, orphaned, alone for extended periods of time, and disconnected from family, community and available human/health services. And she doesn’t live “somewhere else.” She is part of our community. And she’s not alone.

It’s tough to estimate just how many there are, but it’s projected that we have 500-plus invisible seniors right here in our community.

Soon her mounting doctor bills, medication, rent on her small cottage, electricity, heat and food forced this lovely aging woman to realize she had to move.

But moving wasn’t that easy. There was no affordable place she could find. All of our local senior facilities were out of the question. That’s because, unfortunately, neitherMedicare nor Medi-Cal pays for assisted living. Her only option is — if some kind people cannot assist her with subsidizing the cost of her Social Security check and the cost of a facility that offers market-rate assisted living — she will probably be forced to go to a nursing home where Medicare and Medi-Cal will pay for her stay. But neither will pay indefinitely.

What she and our other invisible seniors need is for California to join several other states that have expanded their Medicaid budgets to assist those who find themselves in this dire situation.

There is a big disconnect in our health-care system when it would rather send a person to a nursing home costing as much as $30,000 a year rather than allocate Medicaid a few more dollars to assist seniors not yet ready for nursing home care. And it appears that with the senior explosion that has already begun, more and more invisible seniors will find themselves in this predicament.

Write to Supervisor Doreen Farr at [email protected]; contact our state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson or Assemblyman Das Williams at their websites; contact Rep. Lois Capps by clicking here; and Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Contact Gov. Jerry Brown by clicking here. Don’t forget President Barack Obama by clicking here.

Tell them now is the time to act if we want to house and care for our seniors with hope, common sense and the dignity they deserve.

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

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