October 22, 2011

National Honor Goes to Local Affordable Housing Leader

South Burlington, Vt. — Cathedral Square’s executive director, Nancy Eldridge, recently received the highest honor awarded by LeadingAge for her dedication to coordinating housing and health care services for Vermont’s elderly population. LeadingAge, a national association of 5,600 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging, selected Eldridge from a highly accomplished list of nominees to receive the Award of Honor at its 50th Anniversary Celebration in Washington D. C. Eldridge was honored for exemplifying the creativity, compassion and leadership which results in a better world for seniors. Cathedral Square is an affordable housing developer and manager of 24 communities statewide, including South Burlington’s Grand Way Commons.

Eldridge was chosen for her tireless work to bring housing and service providers together to provide a more robust and focused approach to care coordination. Eldridge is the visionary behind the Support and Services at Home (SASH) program, which creates customized, at-home healthy aging plans and support coordination. SASH is a collaboration with myriad partners – from health care and housing providers to social service agencies. Working with the Blueprint for Health to reduce costs while improving the health and quality of life for Medicare beneficiaries of all ages in Vermont, Eldridge pioneered a system that will bring new support services to 112 nonprofit housing communities state-wide.

“We know that problems such as avoidable falls and nursing home stays, unmanaged chronic health conditions, excessive use of emergency room services and medication misuse can be approached in a better way. SASH tackles these issues head on,” says Eldridge. “We have great partners in this work, including the Visiting Nurse Association, PACE, Vermont Health Foundation, Fletcher Allen Health Care, the University of Vermont, Champlain Valley Agency on Aging, HowardCenter, and many others. It is a program that has something to offer everyone, from preventive services to support of complex conditions.”

The demographics of Vermont’s aging population show a rapid growth rate in the number of people 65 years and older. Projections for 2030 show the senior population increasing 149% in the decades between 2000 and 2030. Cathedral Square is acutely aware of Vermont’s elderly population and the need to plan for and provide housing services to this growing segment of the population. Under Eldridge’s leadership, most of Vermont’s nonprofit housing providers have committed to providing the care coordination and services that will help keep seniors healthy and safe at home.

Eldridge has been the executive director of Cathedral Square Corporation for the past twelve years and has been active in LeadingAge policy work at a national level, as well as in her state and region. She chaired its Affordable Housing Finance Cabinet, served on the House of Delegates, served as an active member of the Northern New England Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, and is the current president of LeadingAge Vermont. A leader in many statewide and regional initiatives related to aging and affordable housing, she also serves on the board of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont.

Cathedral Square’s mission is Healthy Homes, Caring Communities, Positive Aging. For more information on the SASH program or housing opportunities, call (802) 863-2224 or visit their website: www.cathedralsquare.org