The Value of Home
Nancy Eldridge has always valued home. Growing up in Concord Massachusetts, she could not reconcile the beautiful homes of Concord and the homes where prisoners at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Concord grew up in. Intending to focus on prison reform in college, she became interested in social justice issues related to housing and community development. After receiving her bachelors degree in Urban Studies, she joined VISTA and was placed in Los Angeles County where she worked on renters rights. She obtained her masters in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University and went on to serve as Executive Director of the Equity Transfer Assistance Program in Brookline Massachusetts where renters threatened with displacement due to the end of rent control were given the option of purchasing their apartment as a limited equity condominium. This led Eldridge to creating the Limited Equity Cooperative Program in Cambridge Massachusetts.
Integrating Home, Health, and Social Services
Relocating to Vermont with her husband Mark in the 1980s, Nancy continued her mission of systems change as Director of Housing for the state, and then as Director of Government Relations for the Vermont State Medical Society. This experience gave her an appreciation for the caring, smart, reform-minded physicians of Vermont and led to her role as Director of the Office of Primary Care at the University of Vermont College of Medicine where she established the Area Health Education Centers program statewide. Then a unique opportunity presented itself, to serve as CEO of Cathedral Square Corporation (CSC), the largest housing nonprofit serving seniors and individuals with disabilities. She was CSC’s CEO for 16 years and founded the Support And Services at Home (SASH) model, a true integration of housing, health and social services. SASH serves residents at 140 publicly assisted housing communities and seniors living in the surrounding community. It is not a program or one-time intervention, it is a system.
Eldridge has been driven by personal experience. Her father spent the last 4 years of his life in a nursing home asking her when she would bring him home. Her sister has MS and in her early 60’s moved to a nursing home where she will likely spend the rest of her life sharing a room with revolving strangers. And recently, at the age of 97 her independent quick-witted mother had a medical event. Suddenly her goal to pass away in her mahogany bed at home was taken away. A community-based system of supports would allow many more people to age with dignity at home or in their community.
Eldridge is dedicated to expanding SASH in Vermont – including an expansion to families – and to replication in all 50 states. Since her early days growing up in Concord, Eldridge has recognized home and community as a place for empowerment. Now her goal is to use housing as a platform for the well-being of seniors and beyond.
Nancy Eldridge – CEO
Support And Services at Home (SASH) uses housing as a platform to improve health and reduce costs through a coordinated place-based approach that provides older residents, and persons with special needs, the supports needed to allow them to remain at home rather than requiring costly post-acute and institutional care. A dedicated two-person team works with primary care practices, hospitals and social service agencies to ensure that individuals
residing in a designated housing site are afforded access to and utilize key health and social supports. A person-centered approach, uniform assessment, shared care plan, centralized database and use of evidence-based practices empowers participants to age how and where they choose.