A Comprehensive Approach to Housing Stability for Seniors

By Carol Sainthilaire, Executive Director, The Waterfront Project, Inc.

As the Executive Director of The Waterfront Project, Inc., I am continually reminded of the critical need for comprehensive services to ensure housing stability for our community’s seniors. The alarming rise in homelessness among older adults necessitates not just attention but immediate action. Drawing parallels with successful initiatives like those in Multnomah County, Oregon, it becomes evident that a multi-faceted approach is essential in addressing the complexities of senior housing stability.

Strengthening Our Services Through Support

We are thrilled to announce that The Waterfront Project has recently received significant funding to bolster our efforts. A $50,000 grant from The IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey will specifically support the provision of free legal services to seniors, enabling us to address a broad range of legal issues that can impact their housing stability. Additionally, a generous $7,000 grant from the Taub Foundation will enhance our outreach efforts, helping us connect with more seniors in need of our services. These grants are not just funds; they are lifelines that will enable us to extend our reach and deepen our impact.

Integrating Services to Enhance Stability

The Multnomah County Aging, Disability and Veteran Services Division’s innovative programs provide a blueprint for how targeted services can prevent homelessness and support aging in place. Their efforts align closely with the array of services we offer at The Waterfront Project, particularly our crisis and housing counseling initiatives designed to help tenants remain in their homes.

A Closer Look at Effective Services

The Multnomah case study showcases several critical services that resonate with our work at The Waterfront Project:

  • Resource Navigator Services: Similar to Multnomah’s program funded by Medicaid, we help consumers navigate the often-overwhelming process of securing housing. This includes assistance in finding suitable housing, completing rental applications, and advocating with landlords. Our goal is to remove barriers that our clients face, facilitating a smoother transition into stable housing.
  • Eviction Diversion Programs: Recognizing that financial hardships can quickly lead to housing instability, our safety net program mirrors that of Multnomah’s, providing crucial support for unpaid utility bills, and rent. This proactive financial assistance helps prevent the spiral into homelessness that many at-risk seniors face.

The Importance of Collaboration

Our efforts at The Waterfront Project are strengthened by collaborations with local healthcare providers, housing authorities, and community organizations. By aligning our services with broader community and state initiatives, we enhance our capacity to address the multifaceted nature of homelessness among seniors.


The urgency to act is now. As we learn from successful models across the country, it’s clear that a comprehensive, integrated service approach is vital in preventing homelessness and promoting stability among our aging population. At The Waterfront Project, we are committed to adapting and implementing these proven strategies, ensuring that our seniors have the support they need to remain in their homes with dignity and security.

Together, we can create a future where every senior has a stable place to call home.

Carol Sainthilaire’s op-ed emphasizes the role of integrated and specialized services in maintaining housing stability for seniors, highlighting how The Waterfront Project, Inc.’s programs align with and are inspired by successful models like those in Multnomah County. The addition of recent grants underscores the community and legal support available to seniors through WFP’s dedicated efforts.