Crown Center changes financial eligibility rules, allowing residents with higher incomes

Crown Center for Senior Living residents relax after harvesting the community garden in June.  Photo courtesy Crown Center

BY ERIC BERGER, STAFF WRITER

The Crown Center for Senior Living has adjusted its financial requirements to allow people with higher incomes to live in the University City facility.

Seniors with an annual income of $59,100 for a one-person household and $67,500 for a two-person household are now eligible to live in the nonprofit facility, which provides low-income and subsidized housing and has a large number of Jewish residents. The previous income limits were $37,600 and $43,000, respectively.

Leaders of the organization made the change in August because they noticed gaps in senior housing between those that “were more affordable and those that were higher priced and much more expensive,” said Randi Schenberg, community relations director.

Crown Center already had a waiting list for residences before making the change, but Schenberg said the facility has a separate list for those who qualify for subsidized housing, so they will not be affected by the change. She said the waiting list for larger residences could, however, get longer. Crown Center, which had been known as the Delcrest and was founded by the National Council for Jewish Women in 1967, has 244 apartments, 167 of which are still designated for seniors with lower income. 

The organization has made other changes in recent years, including adding a new café, which offers kosher dairy food, a culinary studio and a community garden, as well as adding more live music and other programming for residents.

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The aim has been to provide residents with more options but also to make it a “community space” for seniors who live elsewhere, said Betsy Garland, a past president of the Crown Center. Garland, who has been on the board since 1995, sees changing the income requirements as part of that goal. 

 “We feel that we have a responsibility to the larger Jewish community,” said Garland.