Greg Kruk

Sandy Township Solicitor Greg Kruk discusses the Elder Cottage proposal at Monday's special meeting of the supervisors. 

DuBOIS — Questions were asked and answered at Monday’s Sandy Township Supervisors’ meeting to discuss a proposed Elder Cottage.

In September, the supervisors received a zoning amendment request the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc. for a proposed Elder Cottage for temporary senior living.

The AAA, along with its subsidiary Mature Resources Foundation, has applied and received two grants – one from the Clearfield Affordable Trust Act and another from the Pennsylvania Fair Housing Act, CCAAA Director of Business Development Julie Fenton told the supervisors at a previous meeting. The total amount of both grants is $65,000 to be used to build an Elder Cottage.

CCAAA Director of Business Development Julie Fenton said the grant requires that the Elder Cottage be purchased or built and placed by the end of June 2018. The amount of the grant money will pay for one cottage.

“We continue to look for different avenues to apply for different grant monies,” Fenton said. “Currently we are looking at the Clearfield Affordable Housing Grant application. That would be additional monies to put aside for removal, for repairs, for setting up the cottage.”

“I also understand it’s a program that would enable somebody who meets certain qualifications to live in this facility?” township Solicitor Greg Kruk said. “And it would be owned by your subsidiary?” Fenton said it would be.

“The person suggested is 62 years of age or older. That doesn’t mean with any type of handicapped or disability, just 62 or older?” Kruk said.

“It’s not necessarily for somebody that could afford to purchase something themselves. It’s more for an affordable housing program,” Fenton said. “Affordable housing in Clearfield County is a great need.”

Fenton said the Elder Cottage would be mostly for individuals that would likely end up in a skilled nursing facility or an assisted living and the families would prefer, as well as the individuals prefer, to live in a community that they have been accustomed to as opposed to an institution.

Fenton said there is currently no Elder Cottage program in Pennsylvania.

David Ball, of Accessible Homes For You, speaking via speaker phone, said his company designs the process, the homes, the plans and work through the process to explain it to people.

Ball said he looks at this as somewhat of a pilot situation to see how it works.

“We know how it will work with the product and the process that we have. If it works this way, you are not the only people who build these homes. The process works and other people could certainly do it. I think it would be a good idea to let us establish this and see that it works,” Ball said.

The person who lives in the Elder Cottage signs a residential lease agreement and if their income level would change, the are asked to report it, said Fenton.

Ball said the cottages are installed and removed on a fairly regular basis once the elderly person is no longer using the home.

The township is considering having it as a special exception rather than a conditional use.

Girard Township in Clearfield County is also being considered as a possible location for the Elder Cottage, Fenton said.

“They don’t have zoning regulations,” Fenton said. However, “the family member that I’m working with here (Sandy Township), he is very excited about placing their loved one in the township. That’s what brought you to us first. This is a very new concept in Pennsylvania and in the United States. It is so new that we have advertised and tried to explain. Even family members are reluctant. These are questions that family members have asked us as well. What happens when the person dies. Who is responsible for it. What if they end up going into the nursing home. What about a lease. These aren’t questions that aren’t coming from the township but individuals. It’s a new process for all of us but I think overall it will be very beneficial to our aging population.”

No decisions were made by the supervisors.

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