Solving world’s problems over a cup of coffee
SILT – Joyce Kitchens and Ruby Stout spend many of their days, sitting around a table with a cup of coffee, cookies and muffins, solving the world’s problems.OK, maybe not all the world’s problems, but it’s a pastime they enjoy at the Silt Senior Housing complex.Kitchens, 76, has lived at the senior housing for nearly seven years and Stout, 91, for the past nine.”My son and his family needed a place to live, so I sold them my home and moved here,” Kitchens explained. “It’s great. If the hot water heater goes out, I don’t have to fix it. I don’t have to mow the lawn.”
Stout likes living at the complex because her daughter lives nearby.”I like it – it’s comfortable and it’s warm,” she said.Silt Senior Housing, at 701 Home Ave., was built in 1983 with money from the oil shale trust fund. The 20-unit apartment complex opened for operation in 1984. The building is operated and maintained by the town of Silt.”It’s run as a separate enterprise fund,” said Town Administrator Rick Aluise. “It functions on its own with its own revenues and expenditures.”Silt Senior Housing was built as a low-income housing facility for seniors. There are 16 one-bedroom and four studio units located on two levels with handicap access. Each unit has a small kitchen, living area, closets, cabinets, a bedroom and a handicapped-equipped bathroom. Coin-operated laundry facilities are located on each floor. A call box is in each apartment so residents can push a button to allow visitors into the secure building.
Residents must be at least 62 years of age, although those who are disabled and qualify for Social Security need only be 55. The rents are determined by a person’s monthly income. Basic cable television is provided for an additional $22 per month. For example, a person with a $500 monthly income would pay $166.75 per month. A person with a $1,000 monthly income would pay $308.75.”The average rent last year was about $250,” Aluise said. “But that may go up a little in the future.”Not that the housing makes money. For years it has operated in the red, prompting the town board last year to consider selling the property.”The board asked me to investigate it and then decided they didn’t want to sell it,” Aluise said. “They see it as an asset to the town. It’s a good thing to have and it’s a nice place.”For the past few years Silt Senior Housing has run at a 90 percent to 95 percent occupancy rate, said Aluise. There are currently four units empty.
The building itself is light and airy with lots of windows. The location is also convenient because it’s within walking distance to a restaurant, convenience store and other services.In the warm months, Kitchens and Stout like to sit outside on the outdoor patio and watch people go by.”We have our coffee and people-watch,” Stout said.”We have things we have to do, but if we get them done today, fine,” Kitchens shrugged with a smile. “If not, we’ll do it tomorrow – no big deal. We sit and solve the world’s problems and decide just how things ought to be done. We’ve got all the time in the world.”And that’s not a bad way to live.
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