German Village Gazette

Village Connections

Aging-in-place program's open house is Jan. 19

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Village Connections, the long-awaited aging-in-place program based in German Village, kicks off Jan. 19, when the organization officially starts accepting clients.

An open house will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. in the German Village Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St.

Katie White, executive director of the organization, said everyone is invited to attend -- potential members, volunteers, service providers and well-wishers.

"We're trying to get anyone and everyone to come, learn about the program and leave energized," White said.

White described it as a celebration atmosphere, complete with food and drinks.

She said there will be a brief presentation about the group's objectives and a nod to those who helped form the nonprofit organization.

Then, Village Connections will begin signing up interested clients, who must be a minimum of 50 years old to register.

The service district includes Downtown, German Village, Merion Village, Schumacher Place and the Brewery District.

Annual fees are $500 per individual and $750 for a two-person household. Subsidies are available for those who can demonstrate need, White said. Members who have difficulty paying the full amount can make monthly installments, White said.

Basic services covered by membership fees include transportation, health and wellness programs, light household tasks and social events, White said.

In turn, most village members will see an average value of $1,300 in services provided.

Each member will have a home assessment where the services are further explained. Members could have to pay for additional services -- such as snow removal or a new roof -- not covered by basic membership fees, White said. However, the contractors will offer special discounts for those duties, she said.

White said all current service providers have been vetted.

She noted Village Connections is not an emergency-care organization, meaning customers are asked to give providers at least up to two days' notice for a particular service.

Most villages across the U.S. on average get about a half-percent of qualified members in the assessment area to sign up in the first year, White said.

For Village Connections, that would be 24 members, or a half-percent of 4,843, according to the recent U.S. Census data, she said.

Village Connections hopes to more than double that by signing up at least 50 people in the first year, she said.

"A successful launch will inspire the community, which will help raise awareness about the services provided by Village Connections," White said.

"I also hope that community leaders in aging, board members and Village Connections volunteers will act as brand ambassadors in spreading the word about Village Connections."

For more information, call 614-226-6567 or visit the group's website at www.villageconnectionscolumbus.org.

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