Lewisville and Coppell officials are exploring ways to meet seniors’ needs.

Many Lewisville seniors are struggling with rising rents and increased costs of essentials, said Nancy Sansom, advocacy group Lewisville Senior Living Challenges spokesperson.

“We like living here, but we can't afford it,” Sansom said. “We're constantly looking for subsidized rent assistance to help us pay the rent each month.”

Coppell City Council has been focused on a senior program called a “virtual village” that could include various things, such as help with chores.

“It is a great network to allow seniors to age in place and access benefits they would otherwise have access to in a physical development,” Coppell Director of Community Development Mindi Hurley said.

Two-minute impact

One option city staff have come up with would allow Coppell seniors to remain residents as they get older. Per the description in a 2023 active adult survey, an adult village could include activities, home assistance and in-home help, all provided by volunteers.

“It is truly trying creative solutions to provide one option for seniors in Coppell,” Hurley said.

Affordable senior housing continues to be a priority for Lewisville City Council and staff, Neighborhood Services Manager Ashleigh Feryan said.

A senior rental assistance program launched earlier this year. Feryan said city staff are also looking into more grant opportunities. One program, for example, would provide funding for accessory dwelling units.

“We’re always looking for grants,” she said.

The options

The Lewisville Senior Rental Assistance Grant Program launched in June. It is specifically for low- to moderate-income seniors who have received an increase in their apartment rent for the months remaining on that lease, according to program details. The program recently paused to allow city staff to process the high volume of applications, Feryan said.

“[The grant program] has been top of mind for city staff and council for a while,” Feryan said.

Applications are not anticipated to reopen due to insufficient funds.

While the grant program has closed, there are other options to receive assistance. For example, local nonprofit Span serves meals for seniors at Lewisville’s Thrive recreation center. Serve Lewisville, which opened in July and houses multiple nonprofits, has a monthly food pantry on-site and mental health resources.

“Having food at Serve Lewisville can hopefully help [seniors] reduce their grocery costs so that they can focus their funding on rent,” Feryan said.

The approach

Staff at the Coppell Senior and Community Center try to provide affordable access to information, classes and programs, said Calie Willis, recreation manager for Coppell Community Experiences, a city department.

“They can take their relationships they have here, and take them home and combat the isolation they have outside of here,” Willis said.

Coppell offers programs such as a property tax cap for seniors as well as reduced water and garbage rates.

The city has also formed the Future Oriented Approach to Residential Opportunities Board to study ongoing housing needs and recommendations for the city’s Vision 2040 plan.

Looking ahead

Hurley said a proposal for a virtual village will likely be made to Coppell council in early 2024. Program components have not yet been decided, but information gathered by the 2023 active adult survey will be used to justify programs.

Once a virtual village is established, Hurley said Coppell staff will be able to analyze the program’s needs and make adjustments.

“That’s when we’ll be able to look at the real needs of the virtual village and what the components will be,” Hurley said.

The Lewisville Senior Living Challenges organization meets with city officials regularly, Nancy Sansom said. The group is planning to advocate for the creation of a senior advisory board in Lewisville. Council-appointed members would advise on matters pertaining to seniors and their needs.

The group also supports seniors by providing transportation and picking up donated groceries, for example. One of their goals is to expand their services and help spread information on available resources, Sansom said.

“We want to help other local seniors,” she said.