WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA 9) --- Tap! Tap! Tap! With a sponge brush, Eloise Wallace spreads blue paint across her white canvass.
Wallace, 87, participates in the art program inside the Lisner-Louise-Dickson Hurt Home. The home provides the District's moderate to low-income elderly with a place to live and thrive.
"Well it's a beautiful home. It's clean and they've got a lot of workers. Everybody's so nice! I told them they're my second family."
Two years ago Wallace moved into the senior living center after she broke her leg and needed constant medical care.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 8,439 District residents, who are 65 years old or older, live in poverty as of 2011. These seniors need medical and social support, but they cannot afford the care.
The home gives the elderly residents access to quality care at an affordable rate. Wallace says she lives off of her late husband's social security checks.
"Residents who live here are able to pay what they can on a monthly basis. On average, the daily income for residents, at least in our community residential facility and our assistant living, ranges between 40 to 50 dollars per day," said L. Ward Orem, CEO of the home.
The home provides three levels of care: community residential facility, assistant living, and a nursing facility. Residents arrive at the home from a variety of ways: a hospital discharge, referrals from social workers, homeless shelters or family and friends. On rare occasions, they refer themselves.
"Often cases, they've been medically neglected, psychosocially neglected, and have really lived sort of hand to mouth," Orem explains. "Our job is to empower folk to be as happy as they can, as long as they are here with us."
In addition to the art program, the home offers residents a variety of activities including disco day, bingo and ice cream socials.
Wallace says her adult children and grandchildren often visit, and they see she is doing great.
"My daughter told me she was worried about me 'cause she didn't think I would be happy here.And whenshe found out, she said she's happy too."
The Lisner-Louise-Dickson-Hurt Home provides housing for up to 116 residents.
The non-profit center operates on medicare, medicaid and through private donations. The home was founded with an endowment left by Abraham and Laura Lisner in 1939.
Through the years, the home has thrived with the financial help from three major foundations dedicated to the elderly. These foundations are now a part of the official name of the home.
NOTE:Gannett Foundationhas provided a grant to the Lisner-Louise-Dickson-Hurt Home.
Written/Produced by:Elizabeth Jia