Senior housing units due for an upgrade

January 10, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Twenty one-room efficiency units owned by the Franklin County Housing Authority in Waynesboro and Chambersburg, Pa., are being expanded to meet the demands of the older and handicapped tenants who live in them, according to the authority's director.

Bonnie Zehler said 10 efficiency units in each complex are being renovated and expanded into one-bedroom apartments.

Half of the authority's 60-unit complex on Elder Avenue in Waynesboro are one-bedroom units and half are efficiency units, Zehler said last week. The same ratio is true for the authority's 100-unit complex in Chambersburg.

All of the units are on the first floor. Space for the one-room expansions comes from outside yards, she said.

"Most of our elderly tenants prefer the one-bedroom units over the efficiencies, which are single room with combined kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms," she said.


All of the bathrooms in the 20 units are being upgraded to meet handicapped accessibility regulations, she said.

The authority will spend about $375,000 in Waynesboro and $403,000 in Chambersburg, Zehler said.

The tenants in the units undergoing construction are being temporarily housed in vacant apartments in both complexes until the work is completed, she said. Construction is expected to be finished in April.

The Waynesboro complex was built in the late 1960s, Zehler said. The one in Chambersburg, on West Washington Street, was built in the early 1970s.

There is a waiting list for units in both communities, she said, including 22 people in Waynesboro and 36 in Chambersburg.

Rents are subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and are based on 30 percent of a tenant's income.

According to Zehler, a single person with an income not exceeding $16,650 is eligible for a unit in either complex. She said the average income of tenants is about $9,300 in Waynesboro and $8,800 in Chambersburg.

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