When Twan moved into her affordable unit at Marian Plaza in downtown Denver in March of 1991, she never imagined the joy and sense of community she would find there. 32 years later, she smiles with a flower in her hair as she is celebrated along with other residents, for a monumental anniversary of over 30 years of residence. This past month, Catholic Charities Housing staff put on an anniversary luncheon, to highlight Twan and other residents, who have been committed to keeping the spirit of community living after a pandemic.
Twan received a commemoration plaque and a small gift, as an acknowledgement of the investment she has made in the community. She felt recognized and appreciated for all the time and effort she had put into making this complex her home.
“(Marian Plaza) has been a huge blessing to me. I’ve learned so much from those who have gone before me, and from those friends who’ve lived with me for a decade,” shared Twan.
Marian Plaza and other Catholic Charities Housing complexes are some of the few affordable housing options available to seniors in Colorado these days. Census surveys have shown for more than a fifth of all Colorado renters, no matter their age, are unsure if they can make their next rent payment. And for seniors with less income, it is much more difficult to find complexes that will accept their applications. But for Twan
and thousands of other seniors that are residing out of Catholic Charities complexes, rent is affordable and manageable. This allows for independent living without worrying about making ends meet.
These celebratory anniversaries included five years of residency all the way to 30 years, and are special to the complex, as they not only signify a sense of security, but they also signify decades-long friendships and connection.
Another resident at the luncheon, John, shared that he had been in Denver for over 25 years and never thought he would have to worry about paying his basic bills. He is grateful to have recently moved into a nice unit with a fixed rent and shared moments like this with new friends he has made.
“It makes me feel safe knowing that there are people like me, that have lived a lot of their years here and will continue to,” shared John. “It’s a great comfort to me.”
The camaraderie and support of all the residents, some of whom may have otherwise experienced loneliness, is a heartwarming part of the human experience. As the luncheon went on, residents who attended, including Twan, made sure that those who were not able to come down for health or other reasons, had a plate of food delivered to them.
32 years ago, she reflects on the time she was in need of housing assistance. Sister Marie, former program coordinator at Marian Plaza, was somewhat of an angel to Twan, while Twan was battling lymphoma. Without a secure place to stay after remission, Sister Marie came to Twan after weeks of praying over her in the hospital and asked her to come tour Marian Plaza.
Twan is healthy and in her 70s now. She knows that as she continues to age, she may need more assistance, but for now, she’s happy to help some of her acquaintances if they need her. And she takes comfort in knowing that the community she’s become a part of will be there for her should she ever need support.