Moving quickly, Georgetown Village will accept members within the year

A month ago, the Georgetown Village was just a concept. Organizer Sharon Lockwood, her handful of boardmembers, and her supporters at the Citizens Association of Georgetown knew that they wanted to create a progam which, when fully-fledged, would provide services that allow elderly residents to stay in their Georgetown homes longer, but the idea was very preliminary.

Since then, they've come a long way, Lockwood said, and after recently holding a second community-wide meeting to discuss the project, she is forecasting that the Georgetown Village will start seeking members within the year—perhaps as soon as the end of August. They now know for sure that the Village, once it is up and running, will include Burleith, and they are ready to get serious about finding ways to provide the services members will need.

Making the difference are the two dozen or so volunteers Lockwood now has working with her on her advisory board, board of directors, and four fully-staffed committees—the fundraising committee, the volunteer committee, the services committee, and the membership and marketing committee. "With our committees, our next steps will be finding out what services people will want by visiting neighborhood meetings and talking to residents. Membership and marketing will soon be signing people up if they're ready to be members. We'll be looking for volunteers," to provide most of the services, Lockwood said.

For its part, the community seems ready to be involved. Twenty-six households have agreed to hold informal gatherings—wine and cheese-type affairs—to spread the word about the Village and gather information about what services the Village should include. At the latest meeting, Georgetown University's Associate Vice President for External Relations Linda Greenan, a neighborhood resident, said that the University was looking for ways to help the Village.

The Village project also has a logo, a tagline—"Neighbors helping neighbors"—and a website that is under development. Following a third meeting in late August, Lockwood said, the Village will start fundraising in earnest and begin to look for members. They are also looking for a donated work space.

Much is still up in the air. "We don't know what the membership fees are going to be yet," Lockwood said. "They vary widely. We're going to have to see what our expenses are. It works differently for every single village." Most villages have a sliding scale based on ability to pay.

Which services will be provided is still up to members, but for guidance, there are already several villages in the District, from Dupont to the Pallisades to Northwest D.C. The Capitol Hill Village was the first "village" in the District.  (See AARP video describing the Capitol Hill Village.) Its members can request services from computer issues to transportation for last-minute grocery runs to mattress flippings. Capitol Hill Village members who make less than $40,000 a year, or live in households with an income of less than $50,000 a year, can  make special arrangements with the Capitol Hill Village.

D.C. villages are part of what Lockwood said is a rising movement in several cities that helps residents avoid having to move to assisted-living communities or retirement homes. Notably,  the Village concept has taken hold in affluent communities, like Beacon Hill in Boston and now Georgetown. Last week, Lockwood told The Examiner that the character of Georgetown, where she now resides, is why she wants to stay.

"I love Georgetown. I want to stay. Where else do you have the better restaurants?" she said to The Examiner. "Everybody wants to stay in their home. Nobody wants to be shipped off."

0 Comments For This Article

Shawn -

Very interesting to see the "villages" concept come to life. I think many elderly residents would prefer to stay in their existing homes rather than move into assisted living or other senior housing options. If the community can put together such a "village" that provides the services needed by the residents, then this is a great idea. Good luck to those in Georgetown Village.