Why is the Cores certification so valuable?

According to Stewards for Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) The Certified Organization for Resident Engagement & Services (CORES) Certification recognizes organizations that have developed a robust commitment, capacity, and competency in providing resident services coordination in affordable rental homes. The CORES Certification is inclusive of family, senior and supportive housing communities. The CORES Certification recognizes Communities Together Inc’s investment in and development of the tools necessary to implement a robust system of resident services coordination under the Third Party model. 

In addition:

  • Some state LIHT (low income housing tax credit) Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) applications provide credit for CORES certification.
  • CORES certification can help win funding and partnerships, including Fannie Mae™ Healthy Housing Rewards—Enhanced Resident Services™, a financial incentive for resident services.
  • A panel of anonymous peers from the resident engagement services sector makes the final determination whether to award certification.
  • The SAHF team works with other organizations to identify and promote “best practices” in the field of community and resident engagement. The certification gauges applicants’ ability to demonstrate that they use those “best practices.”

Communities Together Inc (CTI) provides resident engagement services for more than 7,600 residents living in 23 affordable and mixed income communities in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. We work together with residents, staff, owners, and managers to tailor a unique program for each community. Our “resident engagement” model promotes resident “buy-in”, participation, and stewardship in the community.


An important element in the management of senior independent living is the provision of activities that promote social interaction, wellness, and independence for residents as they age in place. We coordinate resident engagement for 8 affordable senior communities with 845 apartments for independent living. We actively engage our residents in determining which activities and services are offered at each site. We then work with both site management staff and residents to deliver on those plans. In this way, residents become engaged in planning, leading, volunteering for, and taking care of their communities. 

Members of our team survey residents to determine the types of services they need or desire. We customize services for each community based on surveys, conversations throughout the year, and comments from the site management teams and partners. We coordinate food and drug delivery services, local agency services, the provision of housekeeping services and personal care, the establishment of social programs, and much more.

Because the needs of seniors change as they age, our resident engagement coordinators also evaluate resident needs throughout the year. Communities Together matches the needs of residents with the available resources in the community and can also match available senior volunteers with the needs of their local community.

In conjunction with permanent on-site staff, our resident engagement coordinators work with residents both individually and in groups to provide them with the information required to access the full array of senior services available. They also prepare a guide of locally available resources provided to every resident for their own use.

As seniors aging in place inevitably lose the physical capabilities necessary to maintain their households independently. When this occurs, our resident engagement coordinators can assist them in selecting a part-time housekeeper to perform services on an affordable, contractual basis. These services are funded primarily by the resident, but resident engagement coordinators are able to present them with the most affordable options available. Some residents, who are for the most part able to live independently, nonetheless require personal assistance with some daily activities. Our resident engagement coordinators can assist them in finding a personal care provider and can assist income-eligible residents in applying for financial local and state governmental personal care assistance programs.

The following is a sampling (not comprehensive) of resident engagement programs and activities offered at the senior communities we serve:

  • Inter-generational Service Projects with Camp Fire Teens
  • Resident Appreciation Days
  • Neighbor Up Programs – brings residents together with site management team to build relationships, identify issues, and work constructively to address them
  • Community breakfasts with Community Leaders
  • Health and Wellness activities:
  • Age-appropriate fitness classes with Home Core Fitness
  • Healthy eating and cooking classes
  • Diabetes Education Class
  • Personal Medication Reconciliation Appointments
  • Blood Pressure monitoring
  • Health Fairs and vaccination clinics
  • Visiting Podiatrist
  • Food Programs
  • Internet connectivity training
  • Crafts, films, bingo, games, dancing, music, and other enriching fun
  • Holiday events and meals throughout the year


We provide resident engagement services for 15 affordable family communities with more than 2,640 households. Our family communities are diverse and include many different ethnic groups and cultures. Some communities have a high percentage of single parent households. The programs provided at our family communities vary widely in accordance with the needs of each community. We embrace the cultural diversity of our communities and work with the residents and staff to identify and provide needed services. We are able to expand our capabilities by partnering with other community service providers such as the Cultural Academy for Excellence (CAFE); Camp Fire, and Catholic Communities of Langley Park (CCLP) . The following is a sampling of resident engagement programs and activities offered at the multi-family sites we serve:

  • Neighbor Up programs to address community issues in concert with building management.
  • Social events to promote community fellowship
  • Resident Appreciation Day
  • Holiday Events
  • Back to School celebrations
  • Food service and food pantry
  • National Night Out: sponsored by the local Police Department
  • Community police outreach with advice regarding domestic violence, child support advice, DWI & DUI process, eviction process orientation and prevention, driving tickets, and more
  • Referrals for Mental Health counseling
  • Healthy eating classes
  • After school youth enrichment classes with CAFÉ (The Cultural Academy for Excellence), Camp Fire, and others
  • Camp Fire youth programs and summer camps
  • English as a Second Language classes
  • Immigration assistance and citizenship training
  • Entrepreneurship and small business training  
  • Saturday Morning Music Instruction (by the Cultural Academy for Excellence
  • Teen Outreach Program)
  • Educational Mentoring Programs
  • Educational tutoring