Opinion: Princeton Community Housing needs to keep seniors safe

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Roughly 200 low-income seniors and residents with disabilities live in housing along Elm Road operated by Princeton Community Housing (PCH). Due to age, disability or illness, all are very vulnerable and at high risk of complications should they contract COVID.

My mom is one of them. She and many of her friends have taken every precaution to stay safe. They have skipped holidays and other gatherings. The senior programming they love has been moved to full remote activities – all to keep them safe. They leave only for essential activities, like a visit to the doctor.

Recently, families of residents were notified by PCH of plans close an elevator in one of the buildings. I understand that the elevator is in working order, and no one has suggested it is dangerous. The closure of the elevator is for “upgrades.”

This plan will force the second floor residents of both buildings – and their guests – to share a very small, poorly-ventilated elevator located in one building, then, use upstairs hallways to get to their apartments. This ill-timed plan will effectively double the number of people using a small elevator and a single building entrance during a pandemic. It reflects a disregard for the safety of very vulnerable residents. Best practice in congregate settings with seniors would keep all residents in cohorts, not increase co-mingling at this time.

If PCH were to “take every precaution to protect our residents” as they have claimed, there would be a decision to postpone these upgrades until the pandemic was managed.

This effort is ill-timed and puts vulnerable seniors at increased risk.

Brenda Considine