By Rima Blair
About a year after Hurricane Sandy, a group of older adults formed West Village Houses’s (WVH) Neighbors Helping Neighbors to figure out who might need help in the event of a future flood/prolonged power outage. Soon, our mission
expanded to making our community of 420 low-rise, walk-up apartments a good place to grow old. We organized tai chi and pilates classes, celebrated our hard working staff, had a house plant clinic, and a book reading. Now, we are again focusing on accessibility. A younger neighbor, Gabrielle Broder, had a devastating accident last fall, has no muscle movement below her waist, and needs our help. We are holding a fundraiser/silent auction on Saturday, June 11th from 1pm-5pm in a pleasant outdoor courtyard with an entrance on Washington Street, between Barrow and Christopher Streets.
One unusual feature of WVH’s design is that our ground-floor apartments are below street level. Practically speaking, this means that almost all of our residents have to climb stairs to get to the sidewalk and street. Gabrielle lives with her mother, and chief caregiver, Pearl, in a ground-floor apartment. To provide Gabrielle with what she needs to have access, a full life, and to recover as much as possible, we are striving to offset the staggering costs a spinal cord injury survivor can face. For example, a lift through a front bedroom window to allow Gabrielle access to Bank Street will cost $50,000-$60,000. Replacing an uncomfortable rented hospital bed with a more comfortable one that rises so that Gabrielle can transfer from bed to wheelchair will cost $8,000-$10,000. Supplemental physical therapy to maximize her chance to regain the most function will cost about $300 a week. Medicaid does not cover the full cost of adaptive design, therapy, and home care. Currently, it covers two hours of great combined physical therapy and occupational therapy a week, not nearly enough to maximize recovery of function.
Village restaurants have been exceptionally generous: Piccolo Angolo, Malaparte, Nighthawks, Tavern on Jane, Aria, Cubbyhole Bar, La Ripaille, Philip Marie, Alexandra, and Gaetana, to date. Garber Hardware gave a window box complete with garden tools. We will auction a lunch or dinner for 4 at Dockers in East Quogue, NY, a docent-led tour of the High Line for six, a country house rental in Peekskill, NY, generous Trader Joe’s certificates, a vet visit at Greenwich Village Animal Hospital, Zoomies gift bags, decorative items from Kaas Glass Works, a deluxe picnic case, design services, and our list goes on and on.
During the benefit/silent auction, you can purchase scrumptious homebaked food and bid on appealing goods and services. Donated goods will be displayed indoors along with a slip describing their estimated value. People will bid on the slips and winners will be announced at the benefit at 4:30pm. If you cannot attend but would like to help, please contact email@example.com.
FOCUSING ON ACCESSIBILITY: WVH’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors is raising money to help Gabrielle Broder (above) who no longer has muscle movement below her waist. Photo courtesy of Pearl Broder.