Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging (P4A), announced that a $230,000 grant has been awarded for the expansion of the Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO) project across the commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) award was provided by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) and will fund two cottages: one in the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging (AAA) service area and the other in the Wayne County AAA service area.
A portion of the grant will go toward right-sizing the ECHO expansion budgets for existing projects that were adversely affected by increasing manufacturing costs due to COVID-19 in the following counties/AAA service areas:
"The need for affordable housing is increasing and is a primary concern of older adults. Providing options like these elder cottages gives seniors 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. The ECHO program offers a creative alternative to support seniors whose families may have been considering a long-term care placement for their loved ones."
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.
"P4A is committed to increasing safe and affordable housing opportunities for older adults in Pennsylvania. We are very thankful for our Area Agency on Aging and Housing partners that help us make this opportunity a reality. These partnerships are what makes it possible to enhance accessible and adaptable housing for older adults to enable them to live independently in their communities," said Rebecca May-Cole, executive director of P4A.
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 (n4a), now known as USAging.
Learn more about the housing opportunities available for older adults on the Department of Aging's website.
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