Salem Manor was among several United Church Homes communities that applied for the funds that are generated from UCH donors who contribute to UCH housing communities.
CTN is a nonprofit transportation provider for children, people with disabilities and many organizations in Fort Wayne and Allen County. CTN replaced a previous transportation provider that no longer could provide weekly transportation to residents due to budget cuts.
Gina Erhardt, Salem Manor manager, said CTN agreed to transport residents in an 8-passenger van to a grocery store once per week at an affordable hourly rate.
“It means everything. For some of them, it’s the only day of the week they get out. It gives them more independence and makes them feel like they are living their normal lives,” Erhardt said.
CTN was established in 2000 by local funders and nonprofit organizations as an alternative transportation providers that compliments the mass transportation system in Fort Wayne, said Becky Weimerskirch, executive director of CTN.
Weimerskirch said CTN drivers provide door-to-door transportation to a grocery store and other locations and can remain with passengers throughout their trip if necessary. The cost for Salem Manor is $42 for an hour-long trip.
Claire Locker, who has lived at Salem Manor for 11 years, said she relies on transportation providers like CTN to get to the grocery store because she doesn’t have family who can take her places.
“I need to get things. I need to get food for myself and my pets. I don’t know what I would do without it,” Locker said. “I tried to take a city bus, but it was very difficult because I use a walker. Walking to a bus stop would be very hard,” Locker said.
Robin Peconge, a service coordinator at Salem Manor, said the United Church Homes grant and the CTN contract were godsends.
Peconge said some residents were “panic-stricken” when they learned the previous provider no longer could transport them.
“I crossed my fingers and I got the Wishing Well Award,” Peconge said. “CTN gave us a great deal. It really is a win-win.”
Weimerskirch said CTN officials were happy they could help Salem Manor and their residents.
“There was no discussion if we were going to do it. It was how are we going to do this. Access to transportation is essential for their ability to remain independent,” Weimerskirch said.
About United Church Homes: United Church Homes has been “Celebrating the Spirit” of seniors for more than a century. The nonprofit, faith-based organization is one of the largest providers of senior living, with more than 1,500 dedicated staff serving 4,500 residents of all faiths in 70 senior living communities throughout 14 states and two Native American nations. UCH is in covenant with the United Church of Christ and welcomes residents of all faiths.
Contact: United Church Homes Communications Department, 740-382-4885.