Twenty years ago, Pearl Axelrod and Dorothy Robb saw a problem and set out to solve it. Pearl is a retired social worker and Dorothy was new to the area and living alone. They both volunteered at the Turner Geriatric Clinic and began to observe the difficulties encountered by seniors and their families seeking appropriate housing options.
Dorothy bought a large home and began to experiment with the concept of shared living. The lessons she learned from this experience served as a blueprint for our HomeShare program. Pearl lent her training and commitment, and soon the Housing Bureau for Seniors was founded.
HBS began offering services in 1983 with two programs -- HomeShare and Housing Counseling. In 1990 we added the Property Tax Foreclosure Prevention program and in 1995, we developed the Elderly Eviction Prevention program.
As we added new programs, our staff and clientele expanded. Staff in 1983 consisted of a part-time director, a part-time senior aide and 18 direct service volunteers assisting 110 clients. We now have a full-time director, four program coordinators, a part-time assistant to the director, a secretary and volunteers assisting more than 1,100 clients every year.
A major shift in financial support occurred in 1994 when HBS became an outreach program of the University of Michigan Health System, now Michigan Medicine. This support supplements grants from the city, county and federal governments, corporate and non-profit funding sources, and our annual fund raising appeal.
And now HBS is building an endowment fund to ensure the future stability of our programs.