RuralEdge Celebrates 10 Years of SASH and its Expansion to Canaan
SAINT JOHNSBURY—As many older Vermonters and those with disabilities know, living independently at home is not as easy as it seems. The Support and Services at Home (SASH) Program, founded and developed by the Cathedral Square Corporation in Burlington, has been assisting these individuals across the State of Vermont for 10 years. RuralEdge, as one of the six original designated regional housing organizations charged with bringing the program to different regions of the state, has operated this life-changing program from the beginning.
The idea is simple: by using state Medicare dollars in a targeted way to provide service coordination and preventive nursing care to individuals, allowing them to live independently safely, it avoids people going to higher care facilities prematurely, which creates less strain on the healthcare system and saves the state money. To do this, SASH partners with local housing agencies, like RuralEdge, to administer this program to their residents and those in the wider community. RuralEdge serves 490 individuals across the Northeast Kingdom and Eastern Orange County, both in their housing portfolio and in the surrounding communities.
The SASH Program prides itself on its community orientation. “Our staff become part of the community, they often see people every day to answer questions or refer them to other available resources” said Gary Chester, Director of the RuralEdge SASH Program. “Over the past 10 years, RuralEdge SASH is considered more of a neighbor than a program.”
RuralEdge sees the SASH Program as integral to its mission and has been seeking ways to expand its geographical reach, especially to rural Essex County. Thanks to the generosity of the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, RuralEdge received funding to bring SASH to Canaan for the next two years.
This funding allows for greater collaboration between community partners in one of the most rural parts of the state. “SASH routinely invites partnering agencies to meet and discuss cases, upcoming events, and change in programming,” said Chester. “Once again, SASH will maintain office space in Canaan, and will invite supporting agencies to meet and discuss the needs of the community and focus on its needs.”
RuralEdge is currently hiring for a SASH Coordinator and Wellness Nurse for Canaan and expects to be present in the community by the end of the summer.