State Grant awarded to Centre County for elderly housing program

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This picture taken June 28, 2021 in Plouguerneau, western France shows the dining room in the first lighthouse of the Ile Vierge which is now available for rent. – A bedroom at a height of 30 meters, 360 ° views or even Robinson’s life on a rocky island: after losing their guardian, lighthouses are reconverted to welcome lovers of the sea in search of unusual accommodation (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP) (Photo by FRED TANNEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

CENTRE COUNTY Pa. (WTAJ)– Centre county receives money from a state grant that will allow the county to implement a special and affordable housing program for the elderly.

Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO) is the name of the housing program. It changes zoning laws in order for an additional cottage that is attached as part of the main house or in the backyard and it also comes with its own entrance, kitchen and bath so elderly residents can still keep their independence. What this means is that any senior will be able to still live near their family but they still get their independence. Clearfield County was the first county to try the program and it was a success.

According to an article from the Centre Daily Times, a $500,000 state grant was awarded to five other counties other than Centre. These counties are Fayette County, Lackawanna County, Huntingdon County, Bedford County and Fulton County. Centre County was awarded about $85,000 of the state grant.

The county will be beginning with single home cottages which the host family will just have to pay for the utilities and the cottage resident will have to pay rent which is capped at 30% of their total income.

Centre County Commissioner, Michael Pipe, praises the new program by saying that community members normally seek options for help in taking care of their seniors.

“Often, there’s this sense that the only options are keeping them in their current home, which might be difficult to manage … or going to a new space that might be an assisted-living facility,” Pipe said. “And many people say, ‘I wish they could move in with me or be close to me, but it’s just not an option’ — and this is closing that gap.”

The belief is that the county’s first ECHO cottage will have a senior living in it by around this time next year.

If interested contact the Centre County Office of Aging at (814) 355-6716 and apply.

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