Shelter seeks to add facilities for disabled residents

A new initiative in Waynesboro may provide additional shelter options for disabled residents in the Pennsylvania town. The additional rooms will be available to people who receive Social Security Disability payments, and they will be located in the New Hope Shelter on South Potomac.

The shelter currently serves the community by providing temporary housing options for homeless individuals. The group is seeking a grant in the amount of $400,000 from the HOME Investment Partnership, and leaders have enlisted help from the Franklin County Commissioners. That grant is administered through state offices.

New Hope administrators say that without the grant, they will not be able to provide a complete set of services to disabled individuals in need. The area lacks affordable housing options for disabled residents, they say, which makes the improvements to the center all the more important. According to HUD, Franklin County fair rent prices for one-bedroom apartments are about $520, which is a financial stretch for an individual receiving only about $670 in disability payments each month.

In addition to providing additional facilities options, the grant will allow for the employment of a part-time social worker who can provide financial and social services guidance for individuals occupying the proposed apartments. That person can help ensure that disabled individuals go to their medical appointments and pay their bills on time.

In addition, a freight elevator in the facility will be converted into a personnel elevator to accommodate disabled individuals.

Shelter officials estimate that if they obtain the grant, renovations may begin as early as the fall. Leaders with the organization say that the dearth of services for disabled individuals in the area is harmful to a vulnerable population, and New Hope wants to fill that void. Many people with disabilities are unable to stay in their own homes because of revenue issues, and New Hope will provide them with a better alternative, according to community leaders.

Source: The Record Herald, "Waynesboro's New Hope homeless shelter hopes to add apartments for the disabled," Denise Bonura, May 11, 2012

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