SCRANTON -- NeighborWorks NEPA and US Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) announced the award of a $1 million grant from the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to expand Aging in Place services in Lackawanna and Wayne Counties.
Awarded as part of HUDS’s Older Adult Home Modification Program, the grant will fund safety upgrades and home improvement projects in 225 homes to meet the needs of low-income elderly homeowners in the two counties.
“Seniors across the nation have made their desire to live in their own homes resoundingly clear, which is why the work that NeighborWorks does is so vital,” said Sen. Casey. “These dollars will go directly to seniors who need services and supports such as safety adjustments, home repairs and accessibility modifications that will allow them to live safely and with dignity.”
During a press conference Sept. 27, Jesse Ergott, Neighborworks NEPA President & CEO, thanked the local foundations and philanthropic supporters who helped the agency build the capacity to focus on Aging in Place needs among seniors. The program served 400 Lackawanna County residents in four years.
Ergott said the $1 million in HUD funding “will allow us to double down on our efforts in Lackawanna County and expand into Wayne County. Overall, the grant is expected to serve at least 200 additional seniors, and more if the funding can leverage additional resources.
Wayne County Area on Agency on Aging Director Mary Ursich said the program will help seniors who need ramps to access services and bathroom modifications to help with bathing. The program will also provide jobs for local contractors.
Yolanda Brown, Lead & Healthy Homes Program Division Director at HUD, said, “[The program] provides funding to assess the needs of low-income, elderly homeowners and make home modifications that are responsive to their needs.” She said the work made possible by these funds help to make activities of daily living, like eating, cooking and moving around the home, easier and extend the opportunity to safely age in place.
Sen. Casey said, “I look forward to seeing the benefits that will reach Northeastern Pennsylvania seniors as a result of this grant, and I will continue to advocate for a historic federal investment in home and community-based services.”
“We are most thankful for the support of Senator Casey and the US Department of Housing & Urban Development in supporting our Aging in Place program with this significant investment,” Ergott said of the award. “Being able to reach more older adults in Lackawanna County, together with the expansion of Aging in Place services in Wayne County, will make a profound impact for the good of older adults in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”
Since its inception in 2015, the Aging in Place program of NeighborWorks NEPA has provided homeowners aged 60 and older with services that focus on assisting them to continue living safely and with dignity in their home and community. Services provided as part of the Aging in Place program include critical safety modifications, home repairs, senior isolation prevention, financial coaching and more.
Wayne County residents seeking Aging in Place services can call the Wayne County Area Agency on Aging at 570-253-4262.