$230,000 Grant Will Help Displaced Pennsylvania Seniors

On July 15, 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging (DOA), partnering with the Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging (P4A), announced a $230,000 grant awarded to the Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO) project expansion statewide.

According to the Pennsylvania DOA, the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Agency (PHFA) will fund two cottages. One of these is the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging (AAA) service area as well as the Wayne County AAA service area.

ECHO’s expansion will be partly funded by the grant, which will relieve some of the pressure of rising manufacturing costs following the pandemic. This will affect the following counties:

  • Centre
  • Clearfield
  • Fayette
  • Huntingdon/Bedford/Fulton
  • Lackawanna
  • Union/Snyder
  • Westmoreland

“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.”

These elder cottages are quaint, separate, pre-manufactured homes for displaced older adults. These are to be placed on the side of the backyard of a related family member, providing much-needed housing. Although this program does not give the elderly resident their own plot, it gives full autonomy to the host family member to place the small living structure wherever they please. At the point where living requirements may change, the cottage can be relocated to another home or host family. Any seniors served are in the lower income percentile and pay no more than 30% of their monthly income to live in their cottage. The cottages are made available through a collaborative effort, between the AAA and local housing partners, according to Pennsylvania DOA.

“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.

According to Pennsylvania DOA, in 2018, the first cottages provided by the AAA were in Clearfield County. National attention and recognition from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), now known as USAging was brought due to this initiative.

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