Shirley Huffman – At Home on Grissom Lane

Shirley Huffman moved to Blacksburg, Virginia four years ago in search of a supportive senior community. She had been living in Radford, Virginia to be close to her daughter, but had a challenging time connecting with the people in her community. Shirley began looking for a new place to live in Blacksburg. She wanted to find a place where she could not only be a part of a community/neighborhood with others in a similar life stage, but also wanted to find a home where she would feel safe and comfortable.

Shirley was familiar with the college town, having attended Virginia Tech in 1968. She was a part of the first women’s class at the university. “I really enjoyed the experience,” remarked Shirley. “Things have changed quite a bit since I was a student.”

Finding a home that met her criteria was a challenge. Shirley is retired and lives on a fixed income. Although she has a Virginia State Housing Voucher to help her pay part of the rent, few places accept the voucher and, for those that do, she still had to be able to afford the amount the voucher does not cover. Shirley eventually found the perfect place: Grissom Lane Apartments, a community of four duplex cottages for residents aged 55 years and up. She added her name to the exceptionally long wait list with the owner, Community Housing Partners, and hoped that a place would become available. When the call came saying that there was a home for her, Shirley felt like she had won the lottery. “All I can say is, that it must have been meant to be,” she said.

Shirley loves her home in Grissom Lane. “It is close to Kroger, a couple of miles from the doctor’s office, and near Hobby Lobby,” she said. “I like not living next to students and living in a close-knit senior community.” Shirley likes Blacksburg and hopes that the town will invest in more housing options for people. “There is a great need in our community for places for people to live other than student housing or half-million-dollar homes,” she said. “Unless we change the way we think about Blacksburg and who we want to be, our community won’t change.”

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