Be An Advocate: Rosanne Lofgren, Umbrella Works

Rosanne Lofgren, Umbrella Works Apartments

At HDC, we serve as roust public policy advocates at the local, state, and federal levels to strengthen housing policies, remove barriers, and advance systemic change. Part of this work involves giving HDC residents opportunity to advocate on behalf of policies and issues that affect their lives.

Recently, Lancaster-based HDC residents decided to express their opinion and publicly advocate for affordable housing in their backyard by either writing letters of support or making public comments to the Planning Commission for HDC’s 213 College Avenue development. We deeply appreciate these residents’ involvement and support because we know there are barriers to entry for participating in this process including finding transportation and sitting through many long meetings before approvals are made. It is important that elected officials and appointed volunteers hear from residents of affordable housing when they are making decisions that impact the number of affordable apartments available in Lancaster City for the future.

One resident who spoke in person at the meeting was Rosanne Lofgren of Umbrella Works Apartments in Lancaster. She shared some of her personal experience living in an HDC community for the last six years. She has been able to maintain her independence and lives a vibrant life in downtown Lancaster. 

Learn more about Rosanne in her own words below.

I have lived here for six years. I was living over Shivery Funeral Home in Paradise. I was walking with a walker, and one day I realized I needed something better for my condition. I had 17 steps to go up. That’s a problem when you’re slowly losing your mobility.

I was frustrated, and I thought I didn’t want to live in the city, but then I started to look at there was nowhere to move in Paradise.

So a friend called and said let me look on Craig’s List. She called me late at night and said I think I found you a sublet. Call the manager tomorrow, so I did that. The property manager, Lilly Torres, sent me an application. That Sunday I filled it out and I turned it in on Monday. At 3:30 p.m. that day I got a call to see if I wanted to look at the unit. I opened that door and I said, “This is mine.” I signed the papers and moved in on my 80th birthday.

I am in a disabled unit. All the cabinets are lowered. I have a walk-in shower. I liked how wide my front door and bedroom door are. I said wow, if I am in a wheelchair, I don’t need to have anyone putzing around. That takes care of that problem.

I like that the Lilly Torres always follows through. I like that everything is here if anything critical happens. I can still go get my mail. I can play bingo. I can do my laundry. When I have a maintenance problem, they’re here. What do I have to worry about?

I taught elementary education for 10 years and then became a nurse at 42. I published my first book in 2003, and that took off in 2004. I taught 4th grade for the Air Force.

I’m 86 years old, and I baffle people. I go up to Annie Baileys for dinner once or twice a week. I walk everywhere. I don’t have a car. I go to church. I’m busy all the time. People ask, how do you keep going? I’m a get up and go person. I don’t have a cleaning lady. I don’t have Meals on Wheels. That’s the way I like to go. I’m not eccentric. I’m unique.

  • Rosanne L.