HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Pennsylvania Department of Aging announced that a $500,000 grant has been awarded to expand the Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO) across the commonwealth.

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 living situation offers independence for the residents but also quick and easy access to family or friends should assistance be needed.

“Providing affordable housing, such as these elder cottages, to older adults gives them the opportunity to live in their communities among their family and friends while aging in place and maintaining their independence,” Secretary of Aging Robert Torres said, in a press release.

Cottages are granted to lower-income households who will pay no more than 30% of their monthly income to reside in the cottage. When the living needs of the resident change, the cottage will be relocated to the home of another host family.

In 2018, Clearfield County AAA became the first in Pennsylvania to provide an elder cottage. Today, Bedford, Centre and Huntingdon counties will have the opportunity to build five cottages in each county as part of the grant.

“The relief of feeling like a burden on one’s family is a huge weight off the shoulders of older adults. Living independently, together is the goal,” CEO of Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging, Inc., Kathie Gillespie said, in a press release.

To learn more about housing opportunities available for older adults, visit the Department of Aging’s website.

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