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RHF 50th Anniversary Event at Binnall House, Gardner, MA

Residents and employees of the Binnall House hosted a 50th anniversary celebration on Monday for the Retirement Housing Foundation, the group that manages the affordable housing facility.

Gardner — Residents and employees of the Binnall House hosted a 50th anniversary celebration on Monday for the Retirement Housing Foundation, the group that manages the affordable housing facility. “All of you are my family,” said Mary Burke, 100, who calls the Binnall House home. At the core of the Retirement Housing Foundation’s mission is providing affordable housing for the elderly, people with disabilities and limited income families. In New England, the Binnall House was one of the organization’s first facilities, said Dr. Laverne Joseph, the foundation’s president and CEO. The Binnall House opened in 1982 and provides Section 8 housing for the elderly and disabled.

The facility offers independent living with some services. Most of the housing the foundation provides is independent living, but the organization also offers assisted living units and skilled nursing beds throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, said Dr. Joseph. Affordable housing continues to be a major issue throughout the country, he said, especially as the population grows older and faces with a struggling economy. "Age doesn’t mean what it used to,” said Dr. Joseph.

The organization originated with two California Church of Christ clergymen and a layman, and it has maintained its relationship with the United Church of Christ. However, the group hires and houses people of any religion and background, said Dr. Joseph. “We are here because we believe God loves everyone. We have that responsibility and privilege, too, and one of the most basic expressions of love is having a safe, secure and affordable place to live,” he said. “Without that, health care is an illusion, and we are happy you are living with us.” The Binnall House has been excellent housing for residents of Gardner, said Mayor Mark Hawke, who was at the celebration. “It really is a community place,” he said. “It’s a great place to gather.”

sbonacci@thegardnernews.com



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