opinions on SHAG housing (or other senior-friendly options)?

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    Hi all.

    I find myself looking for affordable senior housing for one of my parents. I’ve searched these forums and elsewhere online, and haven’t found much.

    I’d love to hear from folks with direct experience with SHAG housing and/or other affordable senior or senior-friendly options. Does not need to be in West Seattle — anything within about an hour drive is fair game. Rent needs to be around $800/mo or less.




    I won’t say precisely what my connection with SHAG was, but I was aware of some problems experienced by a tenant there.

    Manager was difficult to deal with, and way too sharing in regard to his religious beliefs.

    Smoking was allowed in the building. With one neighbor stewing menudo overnight, and numerous chain smokers with nothing to do but watch TV and smoke, the stench was overwhelming at times. Kind of like slightly more upscale public housing.



    I would also like to hear feedback about SHAG



    My in-laws have been in SHAG housing, up north, for two years. Here’s a summary:

    * The management, as in many apartment buildings, sets the tone for the building. They have had basic management problems but only so far as social “favorites” and such. I can imagine running a place with a lot of older people, many of which have never lived in an apartment building, could be rather difficult. SHAG should hire more professional managers with no personal relationship to the tenants.

    * There is absolutely no smoking in the building at all, nor on patios/decks. Smokers have to go to a smoking zone near the garage door. This is strictly enforced.

    * The buildings allow small pets which is great.

    * The building my in-laws are in is kept clean and orderly. It’s a secured entry building but people can get in, slipping through front door but I don’t think there have been any problems in the two years that I know of.

    * The rental rates are good, the apartments small, but the utilities are where a huge savings is.

    * There is little storage capacity. If moving from a house it will be a major adjustment.

    * There’s lots of social stuff to do – my MIL is rarely in the apartment. There’s a van that makes regular trips/sightseeing tours, which MIL uses a lot.

    * Complaints from in-laws: gossip just like high school, people not cleaning up after pets just like in WS, living in a non-preferred area (but close to medical facilities), a smallish kitchen, no back yard.

    * Things they like: affordable on their income, no yard/house upkeep, things to do, people to see, affordable parking, new apartment building.

    * FIL is contemplating moving (away from so many old people…go figure) to a new apartment building down the street, but MIL doesn’t want to move. I suspect the utilities and rent will be much higher (not to mention parking costs) and they will end up staying in SHAG.



    I work in the affordable housing field (not SHAG) and I would like to reiterate what Al said when it comes to utilities. Typically, in buildings funded by low income housing tax credits (not SHA public housing) the Owner pays all water/sewer/garbage. In the PNW, these utility costs are FAR more expensive than electricity, especially in newly built “tight” buildings. So, there is an enormous savings there for tenants who live in buildings where Owners absorb this cost, such as SHAG buildings.

    This also means that people are pretty disconnected from the cost of their use (i.e. never feel the financial impact of two showers a day) which is a whole other issue.



    I have no inside information, but I did do some pick-up and delivery for awhile at Arrowhead Gardens, SHAG housing just off Roxbury and I’ve toured the place a couple of times. I found it to be clean and roomy with lots of stuff for the residents to do. There are decks with container gardens, pool tables, lobbies in each building with chairs and fireplaces, a place to watch movies with really comfy overstuffed chairs, regular transportation to shopping areas and they allow small pets. I was impressed with the place and the residents I met seemed happy. There are also daily events offsite to participate in if residents were interested, like bowling and library visits and I think I heard that there were cars that residents could use for small trips if they were OK’d to drive.



    I used to live in Olympia (approx. 1.25 hour drive) and they have a relatively new set of Shag apartments called the Boardwalk. They are located in a very easy access area.

    The senior center is only 1-1/2 blocks away and a farmers market about the same. A nice library is in the area as well as shopping galore, the YMCA, theater, nice restaurants and a wonderful view of the State Capitol/inlet from the park. Lots of places to walk or picnic and as an added plus, the transit system is easy to use. There is also the Bayview Thriftway just a few blocks away and if your parent likes coffee, down the street about 1 block past the FM is the “OH! Sooo Good!” Batdorf & Bronson Tasting Room.

    I spoke with one of the residents (1 year) and she really enjoys living there.

    Here is the info for the website:


    I am also including a “Things to do in 2013” calendar for Thurston County. Everything is pretty close and easy to get to.


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