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New Housing Director at Allen Terrace Enjoys Working with Seniors

The new housing director who manages the Allen Terrace senior apartment complex on High Street started her new job just before a cold snap of single-digit temperatures, and got to know the residents more quickly since no one wanted to venture outside.

“The residents were so welcoming and glad to see me. I felt like a celebrity,” said Tracey Emmanuel. “They are so engaging and positive. They like living here and it shows.”

Emmanuel started the job right before the holidays, when getting the budget together was a high priority, along with property maintenance. She had to deal with several urgent maintenance issues and rose to the challenge. “It’s different every single day,” she said.

She plans to seek out more grant money to keep up with the continuous improvement needed at the building. The revenue comes primarily through the affordable rents. The building also has a capital fund that earns interest.

Her role is strictly housing, yet it’s the people who make the job most exciting. “It’s a population that I get along with well. My former office was in senior complex, and I got to know the seniors who lived there.

“Allen Terrace has a pool table, library, technology center and a beauty salon,” she noted. The residents like to have those amenities in-house. There are also plenty of cozy seating arrangements where residents can gather with each other and with their families when they visit.

The Residents’ Council keeps seniors engaged and interacting with others by planning games, friendly competitions, movies and parties. The residents also enjoy programs put on by Senior Services, a part of Northville Parks and Recreation Dept.

Emmanuel meets monthly with the Residents’ Council, a week before meeting with the Housing Commission, so she can share concerns and kudos with the commission that oversees the budget needs, maintenance and capital improvements at Allen Terrace.

While most residents are pleasant, there are times of discord and dissent. “When issues come up with resident complaints, I have to find the positive in the situation. I let them know that I’m listening, and will work with them to solve the problem. There are rules for safe living in a community setting that we abide by. Respect is the #1 goal. It helps residents maintain their dignity.”

Emmanuel plans to explore the assisted living centers and long-term care facilities in and around the Northville community to enable residents who can no longer live in an apartment independently to move to a facility that offers assistance with personal care and health matters.

“I have a lot to learn about seniors and their needs. Everybody wants to age in place, but you can’t necessarily do that in an apartment community designed for independent living,” said Emmanuel, who plans to become certified in senior housing.

“Because Northville is a compact community with a lot of walkable streets and businesses, the residents can get around pretty easily,” she said. “It helps that there is a Kroger’s on Center Street.”

Prior to coming to Northville, Emmanuel was a property manager of single-family housing for the City of Livonia’s Community Development. She served in the U.S. Army for four years in the mid 1980s. Her experience combined with a B.A. degree in Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University made her an ideal candidate for the job, most recently held by Sherry Necelis, who retired.

Emmanuel and her husband, Mike, live in Livonia; they have three daughters in their 20s.



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