HDC communities provide safe, affordable housing options to individuals in communities across our three-state footprint. However, it is the people who choose to live there that make the communities thrive. The people who decide to be HDC residents are diverse, coming from every walk of life. The community they create together with their neighbors is unique. Ruoff Tower in Lancaster, PA has a very active and engaged group of neighbors. That’s a big reason why HDC resident Don Keller and his wife love living there.
“Sometimes I feel like we should move back to California or somewhere it’s warm, so I don’t have as much pain to deal with, but my wife and I both feel the same way,” he said. “The people we live here with, we’ve become such good friends. We joke we’d only go if we could take them all with us.”
Learn more about Don in his own words here.
My wife and I have lived at Ruoff Tower since July 2013. I have to give most of the credit for finding this apartment to my wife. I had a horrible accident in December 2012 where I broke my back and neck. I was in the hospital for two and a half weeks and came close to dying.
The results of that were physical, but also financial. I had just turned 65, and my wife had set it up that I could get Medicare, which started on December 1. Otherwise, that experience would have been a lot worse. Medicare took care of a lot, but 20 percent of the costs were not covered. When I retired, I got a lump sum $20,000, but all of that went to bills. Not a lot of money to a lot of people, but it would have made a big difference to how we live.
My wife started looking at places like Ruoff. We qualified and she got us on the list here and some other places. Before this, we lived in Willow Street. I used to take the bus with my bike to get around in the city. Once I biked over here to see where we were on the list. There was a guy sitting on the benches outside. Ed Richards was a long-time resident. I asked, “Do you live here?” He said, “Yes.” I asked if he could tell me what it was like. I couldn’t have talked to a better person. He knew everything about Ruoff. He said how great it was, and we found out that was true.
The location is ideal. I can walk to the market, to the Y, and to the bus station. We don’t have a car, so the location really adds to our lifestyle. I love to walk. After my accident, it’s good for me to walk daily.
I thought this would be a good place for us to get into and eventually we got the call in July. When I came here, I wasn’t doing very well, but now it’s been more than eight years and I’m doing much better, however, I’m still in chronic pain.
It’s nice that I don’t have to worry about a lawn here. I don’t have to worry about shoveling snow.
I still remember walking in here and thinking everyone was very friendly. They really are. It’s a wonderful group of people who live here. And the people who work here, they’re wonderful as well. They do their job and they’re great.
I don’t know that I expected we’d become so close to people so quickly. Being here, it challenges you because you become close with people, and they pass away. That’s a given since this building is mostly seniors. It’s going to happen, but it’s still hard to deal with. That’s a challenge.
When Emmalee started here, I was taking care of the snack machine – ordering the product, stocking, collecting the money. One day, I was at the machine, Emmalee came out of her office, and we started talking. I told her, one thing I could really use is to talk to a counselor. My insurance didn’t cover it and I couldn’t afford it. She said, “Give me a minute.” She gave me a woman’s name and number. She knew that sometimes she would take people on a pro bono basis. She told me to call her and that she could help me. I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” It was really beautiful. It’s been six years since I started with her and her husband. I still have sessions over the phone. I’ll always be grateful for that.
Because of the pain I’m in, the winters are getting harder to deal with. I’m originally from California, but I’ve been here more than 30 years. Sometimes I feel like we should move back to California or somewhere it’s warm so I don’t have as much pain to deal with, but my wife and I both feel the same way. The people we live here with, we’ve become such good friends. We joke we’d only go if we could take them all with us. That’s a huge factor for us staying here. The Ruoff family. You can’t put a price on that.