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Department of Aging: Elder Cottage Housing Program Receives $500,000 Expansion Grant


Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging (P4A), announced that a $500,000 grant has been awarded to expand the Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO) across the commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) award was provided by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), and will fund five cottages in the following counties/Area Agency on Aging (AAA) service areas:

  • Centre
  • Fayette
  • Lackawanna
  • Huntingdon/Bedford/Fulton

"Providing affordable housing, such as these elder cottages, to older adults gives them the opportunity to live in their communities among their family and friends while aging in place and maintaining their independence," said Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. "I would like to thank P4A for its ongoing partnership with the department to support this initiative. This program helps to provide a creative option to support seniors whose families may have been considering a long-term care placement for their loved ones."

In 2018, Clearfield County AAA became the first in Pennsylvania to provide an elder cottage. This initiative garnered national recognition from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, which presented the AAA with an n4a Aging Innovations Award.

"We cannot overestimate the impact and benefit provided when an individual has their own place called home. The relief of feeling like a burden on one's family is a huge weight off the shoulders of older adults. Living independently, together is the goal," said Kathie Gillespie, CEO, Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging, Inc.

Elder cottages are small, separate, manufactured residences for older adults that are temporarily placed in the side or backyard of a host family (relatives or close friends). The arrangement provides autonomy for its resident along with easy access to family or friends who can provide assistance. When living requirements of the resident change, the cottage will be relocated to the home of another host family. All seniors served are lower income and pay no more than 30% of their monthly incomes to reside in the cottage. The cottages will be made available through a local collaboration between the AAAs and a local housing partner. 

Learn more about the housing opportunities available for older adults through the Department of Aging here.




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