Courtesy of Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.
BY P.J. REILLY
Community Basics has cleared the last financial hurdle to constructing an $11.1 million apartment building in Marietta.
The three-story, 56-unit building will provide housing for people age 62 and older with low to moderate incomes.
Ten units will be set aside for homeless seniors as part of Community Basics’ commitment to Lancaster County’s 10-year plan to end homelessness.
“What we have seen is that once people experiencing homelessness get permanent housing, their lives stabilize,” said Ken Smith, executive director of the nonprofit housing developer.
Community Basics’ plans for Marietta Senior Apartments at 601 E. Market St. have been in the works for more than two years.
Owned by Marietta Market Street LLC, the 1.4-acre property was formerly home to a foundry run by Penncast Corp.
Smith said Community Basics looks for projects in “urban growth areas around Lancaster County that are underserved. This fits that criteria.”
Funding for the project is being provided by Fulton Bank, Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment Authority and Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
It was the recent approval of federal tax credits from PHFA that represented the last piece of Community Basics’ funding puzzle for the project, Smith said.
With those credits secured, Smith said he hopes to begin construction on the 19,000-square-foot building in October.
If that happens, the project should be finished in fall 2012.
The project, which has been approved by Marietta Borough officials, calls for 42 one-bedroom and 14 two-bedroom units, which are slated to be heated and cooled by a geothermal system.
Additional amenities planned include on-site parking, a community room and laundry facilities.
Besides the age restriction, potential residents also must meet income requirements.
Smith said residents must earn no more than 60 percent of the state’s median income.
According to federal guidelines, that’s about $30,000 for one person or $39,000 for a couple.
Reserving 10 units in the building for homeless people mirrors other Community Basics projects across the county.
Smith said he will work with local social-service agencies to find homeless seniors to move into the building.
Once they’re in, they’ll work with Tabor Community Services to make sure they are receiving all the state and federal benefits to which they might be entitled.
Community Basics has some money set aside to assist with rent for those tenants, but Smith said they will be expected to contribute.
Scott Martin, chairman of Lancaster County Board of Commissioners, praised Community Basics for helping the county meet its goal of having at least 100 housing units set aside for the homeless by 2018.
“With these 10 units, we’ve got more than half our goal met already,” he said.
And having such housing available in outlying areas is critical.
“Homelessness is a countywide problem,” Martin said. “When we can regionally get permanent housing throughout the county, it helps us serve people in the communities where they live.”