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SILVAR President David Tonna and Diane Chandler hand a senior homeowner a complimentary RSVP (REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program) bag, which includes batteries, face mask to protect them from harsh chemicals, and a vial of life, so they can have their complete medical information ready in their home for emergency personnel to reference during an emergency.

SILVAR President David Tonna and Diane Chandler hand a senior homeowner a complimentary RSVP (REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program) bag, which includes batteries, face mask to protect them from harsh chemicals, and a vial of life, so they can have their complete medical information ready in their home for emergency personnel to reference during an emergency.

SILVAR members washed hundreds of windows, trimmed a multitude of bushes, replaced numerous smoke detectors and furnace filters and did other household tasks in over 120 senior homes this week as part of the association’s annual REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP).

Every year in May, SILVAR members visit the homes of seniors who are physically and financially challenged. Members help the elderly with simple household tasks, like replacing light bulbs, changing furnace filters, washing windows, turning over mattresses, changing smoke detector batteries and light yard work.

RSVP is a community outreach project launched by SILVAR in 2001 to assist seniors and the homebound in communities within the Association’s five districts of Menlo Park/Atherton, Palo Alto, Los Altos/Mountain View, Cupertino/Sunnyvale and Los Gatos/Saratoga. The program has expanded on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, with volunteers from neighboring REALTOR® associations helping seniors in their respective communities.

While the SILVAR RSVP volunteers trimmed bushes and weeded her yard, a Los Altos senior homeowner laughingly described herself as being “94 years old and experienced,” and still able to play poker. She expressed her gratitude for the assistance. With only a son living in San Diego, she has no help. She said she has been availing of the REALTOR® service program for the past two years.

“Oh, lordy, I think the program is just wonderful! It’s very fantastic,” she exclaimed.

In Mountain View, an 80-year-old senior resident who lives alone and has no children, said she has requested help from SILVAR REALTORS® for the past five years.

“It’s wonderful that they give up their time to help us. I used to do everything, but it’s the high things I can’t reach,” she said, as RSVP volunteers Jamie Carmichael dusted her home and cleaned her bathroom mirrors, and Stanley Ku trimmed her bushes.

One Saratoga senior homeowner who is riddled with arthritis said she was a volunteer in the community for many years. “Now I am getting it back,” she smiled.



Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®’ (SILVAR) REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP) will take place May 7 -11 this year. Volunteers are needed for this special community outreach program, which is dedicated to helping seniors in the communities where SILVAR members work and live.

This year, each district has set aside special days in the week of May 7 – 11 to help seniors in their community:
Cupertino/Sunnyvale District: Wednesday, May 9
Los Altos/Mountain View District: Wednesday, May 9
Los Gatos/Saratoga District: Thursday, May 10
Menlo Park/Atherton District: Wednesday, Thursday, May 9-10
Palo Alto District: Wednesday, Thursday, May 9-10
RSVP is a worthwhile project, and SILVAR REALTORS® and affiliates are encouraged to volunteer their time and skills to help the elderly and the homebound in their respective communities. During RSVP week, REALTORS® and affiliates visit the homes of seniors who are physically and financially challenged and provide free assistance with household tasks like replacing light bulbs, changing furnace filters, washing windows, turning over mattresses, changing smoke detector batteries and other similar household tasks.

RSVP has expanded on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, with volunteers from the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® and the Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS® joining SILVAR and the SAMCAR (San Mateo County Association of REALTORS®) members in this outreach project. The program now serves seniors and the homebound living as far north as Daly City and as far south as Santa Cruz.

“We are really proud that every year our members have stepped up to help the seniors in their community. Last year, a total of 247 volunteers from SILVAR helped 146 seniors in the association’s five districts. This year we hope to significantly increase the number of our REALTOR® and affiliate volunteers,” said Eileen Giorgi, SILVAR’s RSVP Committee Chair.

Volunteer now by clicking on the link below, completing the volunteer application and faxing it to SILVAR at (408) 200-0101. You may also call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100 and ask that an application be mailed to you.

The deadline to volunteer is Saturday, March 31.

Deadline for seniors to apply for this free service is Thursday, March 15.

For questions about RSVP, please contact SILVAR at (408) 200-0100.

Helpful, cheerful, professional, efficient, friendly, courteous, respectful – these are just some of the many words senior homeowners used to describe this year’s RSVP (REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program) volunteers. They were also called “angels” and “little elves” by some of the scores of seniors who sent in their feedback and wrote lengthy comments expressing their deep appreciation for the helping hands they received during RSVP Week in May.

“I’m 85 with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) breathing problems, so I can do less at this time. It is so nice to have four happy people come and do chores that are hard for you. Thank you,” wrote a Mountain View senior homeowner.

One Saratoga senior wrote, “I am delighted! It was lots of fun to be visited by such an outstanding and friendly team and to have such expert help with chores that I have been unable to do. Many thanks! This is a wonderful gift for you to give. I appreciate you!”

Another senior wrote, “Your volunteers were truly dedicated to helping people. In my case, two cataract operations left me without glasses and I really needed their kind help. Thank you so much.”

“We were very pleased with the work. The woman and man who came were very nice and professional. Thank you all so much. We really appreciate your help!” wrote a Los Gatos couple.

A Palo Alto senior wrote, “It’s such a treat to have met these lovely people and to bask in the luxury of the great things they did for me. I am so impressed and pleased.”

Another Palo Alto resident wrote, “Year after year they have helped a ‘loner.’” “I have nothing but high praises for the three young people that filled our request to the fullest,” wrote a senior from Sunnyvale.

Still another homeowner wrote, “I like this program and talking with young people. It gives me the feeling of being cared for and about.”

“It’s wonderful to know that there are caring people out there. Thanks so much for your kindness,” a Los Altos senior conveyed his thanks.

A Menlo Park senior citzen’s thank you card read, “The yard looks so much better – hope my daughter will now be able to keep it under control. Many thanks!”

A big thank you to the 247 volunteers from SILVAR who helped 146 senior households this year, RSVP Chair David Barca, SILVAR RSVP Chair Eileen Giorgi, and RSVP District Chairs Chris Isaacson (Menlo Park/Atherton District), Jeff Beltramo (Palo Alto District), David Kim and Suzanne O’Brien (Los Altos/Mountain View District), Sue Bose (Cupertino/Sunnyvale District) and Rick White (Los Gatos/Saratoga District).

“It takes so little to make our seniors happy. They are so appreciative and grateful to our volunteers,” said Giorgi. “I want to personally thank all the volunteers who took the time to help them this year. Thanks, too, to our RSVP district chairs who worked long hours to make sure the program ran smoothly in their district.”


On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to continue to opt-in to Proposition 90. Thank you to all SILVAR members who answered SILVAR’s Call to Action and to the many SILVAR members who attended the lengthy board meeting on Tuesday afternoon and voiced their concerns directly to our supervisors.

Under Proposition 60 and 110, if a seller or spouse is over age 55 or if a seller of any age is disabled when their original residence is sold, the seller may transfer the base year value of their home to a replacement primary residence of equal or lesser value within the same county, provided certain conditions are fulfilled. Proposition 90 extended this benefit to seniors and the disabled who move to counties that adopted Proposition 90 rules.

County Assessor Larry Stone wanted the supervisors to eliminate Proposition 90 as a way to increase revenue, but SILVAR REALTORS® and members of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® persuaded the county supervisors to oppose this proposal. On Tuesday, SILVAR members reminded the supervisors of the benefits of Proposition 90; many recounted personal experiences with seniors and disabled clients who benefited from the measure, and who otherwise would not have been able to move to the county had the proposition not been in place. Our members told the supervisors their clients were able to move closer to family, medical services and jobs. Otherwise, they would have been locked-in to their previous residences due to the significant property tax increase incurred in moving.

REALTORS® noted Proposition 90 is a “two-way street” because it creates opportunities for the original properties to be reassessed at a higher rate, while providing a significant benefit in improving the quality of life for homeowners. They also said seniors and the disabled from other counties “have diversified our county and enriched our quality of life.”

Stone questioned the supervisors’ hesitance in what he saw as “an obvious source of revenue” for the county, but our REALTORS® indicated the increase his office projects would be an estimated $150,000 at best, which would not be realized until 2013. They said the slight increase could not justify the intangible benefits the proposition gives seniors and persons with disabilities who wish to move to the county.

Supervisor Liz Kniss said the county made the decision to opt in Proposition 90 20 years ago and it should stay as an opted-in county.

Supervisor Ken Yeager said after listening to the real life examples presented by the REALTORS®, he felt “there is value to it (Proposition 90) at the personal level. We supported it then, we should support it now.”

While noting the assessor made a credible argument that increasing revenue was important for the county, upon hearing the many stories of people who have benefited from the proposition, Supervisor Mike Wasserman said, “It doesn’t feel right to take this away from the people who could use it. In the big picture, it just doesn’t feel right.”

Supervisor Dave Cortese indicated Proposition 90 creates a flexibility for seniors and persons with disabilities. “We should leave the flexibility for folks for now,” said Cortese.

The supervisors voted 5-0 to keep Proposition 90 in Santa Clara County.

The Call to Action was a team effort by SILVAR members and a victory for seniors and persons with disabilities who have moved to or plan to move to Santa Clara County. SILVAR thanks everyone who took part in this effort and the board of supervisors, who took into consideration the impact rescinding Proposition 90 would have on a group of people who have very little clout in the political arena.

Every year in May, as part of the REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP), SILVAR REALTORS® and affiliates assist seniors and the homebound with household tasks they can no longer perform on their own. The program, which was started by members in 2001 and launched by SILVAR as an official community outreach project in 2002, has expanded to include volunteers from the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS®, the Fresno Association of REALTORS®, and Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® and Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS®.

RSVP is now on its 10th year, and this week – May 16-20, volunteers helped seniors in SILVAR’s five districts with simple chores like washing windows, installing smoke detector batteries, flipping mattresses, light vacuuming, dusting, replacing light bulbs, changing furnace filters and trimming bushes. Many seniors expressed their gratitude for the work done by the RSVP volunteers.

Gloria from Los Altos, who is 81 years old and lives alone, was especially thrilled. It was the first time she availed of the free service and she was nearly in tears as a couple of RSVP volunteers proceeded to dust her furniture and vacuum and sweep her floors, while the other volunteers washed her windows and trimmed the bushes outside her home.

“Thank you, thank you,” a 91-year-old Sunnyvale senior resident repeatedly told the RSVP volunteers after they had flipped her mattress and washed her windows.

Peggy, 63, is a Mountain View resident who is homebound and confined to wheelchair. She has poliomyelitis (post polio syndrome) and other complications. After surgery, she learned new living skills at Valley Medical Center and was eager to manage on her own. Her closest relative is a sister who lives out of state. The REALTORS® moved furniture and boxes away from all passageways so she could maneuver her wheelchair around her home and function independently.

“I can’t thank them enough for doing this. This has been my family’s home since 1959. I live alone, but I can’t think of any other place where I would rather live. This is my home,” Peggy exclaimed.

In Los Gatos, 73-year-old Barbara, who is bedridden, was grateful that volunteers cleaned her refrigerator and stove, dusted and vacuumed her floors. “I think it’s wonderful that there are people like you that can help people like us who cannot move around anymore,” she exclaimed.

Palo Alto resident Chris, who is 80, just had hip surgery. So she welcomed the help from the REALTORS® who washed windows, fixed a door knob, picked up the clutter and moved items she didn’t need to her garage. Dave, another Palo Alto resident in his 80s, still talks about how much he appreciated the REALTORS® who went out of their way to install a hand rail in his shower stall a couple of years ago. “I am so grateful to them. I used to do a lot of things, but it’s all too much for me now,” he remarked.

An elderly Saratoga couple in their late 80s lamented that all their kids lived out of state. They manage, but welcomed help washing their windows and flipping their mattress. “It’s a wonderful thing that you do for the community. It’s very necessary for us,” they said.

At the end of the week, SILVAR members felt it was all worthwhile. For many volunteers it’s an eye-opening experience and “humbling.” They’re glad they can help out and make a difference in the lives of the seniors and the homebound in their community.


March 2023


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