Vergie Seymore is a determined woman, and if she can not get something accomplished one way, she will figure out another.
That is exactly what happened with her new project–Club Carson (Community Assisted Retired Seniors Optimum Needs). It was an idea inspired by the NBC sitcom, “Golden Girls” (1985-1992), and the many times people asked her if she knew of any place for women younger than 60, who do not need care, but cannot afford to live alone?
In the past, Seymore’s answer was almost always no. Occasionally she would take a woman into the residential care facility she operated, but the Carson resident knew that was a temporary solution at best.
The permanent solution she decided was to create a “Leisure World-like” complex offering shared living at affordable prices. But Seymore’s initial attempt to build Club Carson did not work out. Undaunted, the geriatric specialist turned to Plan B.
“I used my retirement money to buy a house. The house I bought cost $490,000 . . . I put down $30,000. Then the Lord started opening doors,” explained Seymore. “People started calling. ‘I have a bed . . . A dresser . . . A dinner set.’ And I was able to furnish this entire house on contributions, said the long-time Carson senior advocate.
The Gardena house Seymore’s non-profit affordable housing agency purchased is a three bedroom home plus a self-contained one-bedroom attached unit for a manager.
Each woman will have her own bedroom and share the kitchen and other facilities.
“Right now, I don’t have any state or federal funding, so I have to charge each woman enough rent to pay the mortgage,” Seymore said.
She is applying for grants, and when she gets them, Seymore said she intends to reduce the $800 monthly rent. Currently the amount includes all utilities and transportation for shopping.
While she is waiting for various grants to go through, Seymore said her house is about to receive a mini make-over from Home Depot.
“I just called them, and asked if they had any type of government program where they could help me paint and re-stucco the exterior,” said the Carson commissioner. They did not, but after describing what she was trying to do, the company volunteered to help, and now on July 17 beginning at 2 p.m. a crew of 50 to 60 volunteers from Home Depot will come out for a board-cutting ceremony, and then begin sprucing up the structure.
Among the planned renovations are a new garage door; interior and exterior painting; fixing the patio including installing furniture that will seat six; putting in a new garden; changing the trimming around windows; and replacing faucets and pipes in the main bathroom.
The goal of Club Carson is to establish a series of such shared-living homes around the South Bay community targeting retired or working women, who cannot afford to or just do not want to live alone.
For more information on the project or to make a donation, contact Seymore at (310) 323-0676 or write 16912 S. Belforest Drive Carson, CA 90746.