FAQs

What is the “VILLAGE” concept?
“Village” organizations springing up rapidly and successfully in rural and urban areas. The concept is cited by experts as the wave of the future. The first one in Boston, known as Beacon Hill Village, has been in operation for nine years. There are now over 20 in Maryland and 140 nation-wide, with 120 more under development.

Reliance on friends and family can be stressful, uncertain, and guilt-inducing. Membership in a Village is lifestyle insurance, paying for that peace of mind that comes with the confidence that help can be available.

Early cost-benefit studies are showing that membership in a Village can save money for seniors and for taxpayers by making transportation and services more efficient , while lowering overall health care expenditures. Among the preliminary findings of a University of California at Berkeley study are benefits showing:

  • A reduction in falls, due to volunteer assistance available
  • More appropriate and effective use of health services, because of easier access to medical appointments and information
  • Decreased use of residential facilities, since members may remain stronger longer
  • Greater safety and security, in general
  • Greater confidence in members’ ability to live independently

Village membership can strengthen one’s contacts, which are crucial for learning, happiness, resilience, and longevity.  

What makes HomePorts different from other programs already available in the community?
HomePorts assists with the coordination of services in your own home, similar to those offered in a retirement community. Although a multitude of programs and services are available to Kent County seniors, HomePorts is the only non-profit organization in the area that thoroughly screens its vendors and offers a cadre of volunteers who focus on older adults, while providing consumer advocacy services to its members. Membership includes a comprehensive array of services that facilitate members’ ability to remain in the comfort and security of your own home.

Do you work with other agencies that provide similar services?
HomePorts is committed to networking with established organizations to the fullest extent possible. We realize the importance of constantly identifying unmet needs and finding ways to meet them – first by locating existing programs, and then by creating new services through extensive collaboration in the community.

If I am not satisfied with the HomePorts program, may I cancel whenever I want?
Yes. You may cancel your membership in HomePorts whenever you wish. Before doing so, we request that you call and tell us why you are dissatisfied with the HomePorts program.

What are the terms for HomePorts membership?
Membership is for a full year. The Executive Director visits each potential member to determine their unique needs.

How much does it cost to join HomePorts?
The annual fee is $350. Anyone over the age of 55 living in Kent County, Kingstown or Millington is eligible to join HomePorts. In 2015 a second membership category was added, that of Sustaining Member. Roughly half of our members do not need the services now but maintain a membership as an expression of support to ensure the long-term sustainability of HomePorts. This $350 fee is tax-deductible.

Financial assistance is provided to a maximum of 10% of the membership.

Do you share your mailing list with other agencies?
Never. Our list is kept private. We do, however, share our members’ names with other HomePorts members if permission has been given to do so.

What if I plan to be out of town for several weeks on vacation?
As part of your membership, HomePorts can provide weekly house checks during your absence. Please notify us so we can make arrangements prior to your departure.

How do you select vendors?
We obtain recommendations for local business persons and individuals from satisfied customers. We maintain referrals for the types of services our members request. Each prospective vendor is interviewed and background checks are conducted on those doing home care, financial services, and house cleaning. Each signs a written agreement.

What if the vendors I use are not on HomePorts’ list?
Feel free to continue using your favorite vendors, but if they are not listed as a vendor, we will not be involved in background checks, or consumer advocacy. If you give us your vendor recommendations, we will contact them to see if they are interested in applying to become a HomePorts vendor.

How are services arranged with the HomePorts vendors?
You should contact the vendors directly, following a referral from the Executive Director.

What if I have a problem with a vendor or the work that was done?
Call HomePorts to discuss the details of your concern. It is our job to ensure your satisfaction.

What if I need a service and HomePorts does not have a vendor listed who provides that service?
If the service you need is for home care, home repair, or maintenance, we will try to locate a recommended vendor for you to contact.

What types of volunteer opportunities does HomePorts offer?
Possible volunteer opportunities include, but are not limited to committee work, public relations, visitation/companionship, member transportation, or office assistance.

How do I become a HomePorts volunteer?
Call the HomePorts office and you will be provided with paperwork that includes an application form which is required of all volunteers as well as written procedures and guidelines. Once you are a HomePorts volunteer you will be contacted when a need is identified that matches your interests.

Is there any volunteer opportunity for assistance to low income Kent County residents?
Donations of $350 are sought to fund local seniors with limited incomes.

Do I have to commit to a certain number of hours or a regular schedule?
No, there is no minimum time requirement for HomePorts volunteers. All volunteers are encouraged to commit to the amount of time they feel they can manage.

What if I am already volunteering with another agency?
Great! If there is time to add HomePorts to your already busy schedule, we would love to have you as a part of the HomePorts volunteer team.