Perspectives: Putnam Howe Village in Belpre is a senior housing option

Residents of Belpre’s Putnam Howe Village seem pretty satisfied with their single-bedroom apartments at the 50-unit senior housing complex on Belrock Avenue.

“All of the apartments have one bedroom, bath, kitchen and living room, and it’s very clean,” said Charlene Bell, 88, who’s lived at Putnam Howe Village for 24 years.

She said the complex provides independent living for seniors who are age 62 or older.

“The apartments stay pretty full, and recently we seem to have a lot of single men renting units,” Bell added. “But there are also at least two married couples living in the building.”

Bernice Burd, 89, is a more recent tenant at Putnam Howe Village.

“I moved here a year ago in November,” she said. “I like it because you don’t have to worry about the furnace going out or shoveling snow off the sidewalks. I have a beautiful room and plenty of storage space, too.”

Both women noted the facility also has an activity room where tenants can gather to talk, read or play games.

“We also have birthday parties every month,” Burd said.

Bell said the facilities also receive regular recertification inspections.

“It’s a safe and clean building,” she said.

Geraldine Goodwin, 70, moved into Putnam Howe Village in August 2007.

Every room of her apartment is filled with a variety of angel figurines and pictures depicting guardian angels.

“It just gives me some inner peace to have them around,” she said. “I may be 70, but I don’t feel like 70.”

Goodwin enjoys her independence and has the freedom to come and go as she pleases at Putnam Howe Village.

“I’m a widow. and moved in here shortly after my husband died,” she said. “I liked the cleanliness and the way the apartments are laid out. And if anything happens that needs maintenance, they take care of it right away.”

Built in 1982, Putnam Howe Village provides Section 8 subsidized housing for seniors who are single or married couples.

“All of our apartments are one-bedroom, so we can only take single people or couples,” said Lisa Cooper, senior manager of the complex.

She said the facility is owned and operated by Columbus-based National Church Residences, and undergoes regular audits and inspections to ensure the complex meets standards set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Cooper said the Management and Occupancy Review is conducted at least once a year.

“The state HUD office comes in and looks at all of our files to make sure we’re maintaining proper records for our residents and complying with HUD regulations,” she said.

HUD also conducts annual physical inspections of the facilities through its Real Estate Assessment Center or REAC program.

“REAC looks at the building structure-they make sure our sprinkler system is up to code, that doors shut properly for safety reasons, or that the sinks and showers work,” Cooper said. “And they make sure that we can take care of any maintenance problems that may occur.”

She said the inspections are not easy to pass, but Putnam Howe Village received a 99 out of 100 possible points on its most recent physical inspection.

In addition to a maintenance man who’s on call 24/7, the apartment complex has a service coordinator, Deeanna Grim, who assists residents with a wide variety of services, from planning monthly birthday parties and other social activities to coordinating visits from home health aides.

“We have home health care nurses who can come in and help with medication or wound care, and we can even bring in a portable x-ray unit if needed,” Grim said.