Village of Hope

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging CEO Kathleen Gillespie holds a rendering of the Village of Hope, a project designed for those living with dementia or seniors raising young people. The location for the project has recently changed.

CLEARFIELD — The site for the Village of Hope, a multi-generational haven for those living with dementia or seniors raising young people, has changed.

The project was originally set to be in Lecontes Mills. However, the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging shifted their sights to another location, according to CEO Kathleen Gillespie.

The old Girard/Goshen Elementary School building, which was part of the original site along with 23 surrounding acres, was torn down. An adjacent property owner leased their land for solar, and the CCAAA followed suit with their acres. The agency is now looking at another site.

“We are in the process of acquiring an additional property that has all of the infrastructure already in place for 43 units,” said Gillespie. “We’re going to be closing on that in the next 60 days, and we plan to begin the first 10 houses in the spring.”

The location of the site will remain undisclosed until details are finalized. However, it is more accessible than the prior site, located on a major route, Gillespie noted.

Village of Hope is a multi-ability, multi-generational, inclusive, co-housing (MAGIC) designed to address community needs. The facility design utilizes sensory stimulation and smart technology to support those living with dementia.

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The project also targets seniors raising children with disabilities. “The goal of the Village of Hope is to create an intentional, extended family so that they have a sense of community when their parents pass away,” said Gillespie.

It also exists for grandparents raising grandchildren, which is becoming more common. Gillespie noted most cases involve substance use disorders where the parent dies or is incarcerated.

The project’s housing has evolved, Gillespie noted. “Initially, the housing was going to be 3-D printed houses,” she said. “While our goal remains to ensure that each one of the houses are smart houses, they will likely end up being manufactured.”

The change in building process is due to costs, particularly with the pandemic’s recent impact on the supply chain. Gillespie noted the greatest obstacle for the project is securing funding.

“The greatest challenge has been, up to this point, funding in order to keep the rents affordable,” Gillespie said. “Our mission is to serve those in greatest need and lowest socio-economic status.”

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