Liberty House Revitalization: A Beacon of Hope for Special Needs Housing in Pennsylvania

Pennrose Kicks-off Liberty House Revitalization in PhoenixvilleSubmitted Image

PHOENIXVILLE, PA — The clock is turning back on Liberty House in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Once a wartime safe haven, now an affordable housing community – the site is poised to undergo a much-needed $11.7 million transformation.

Formed through a unique alliance between Pennrose, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, local government bodies, and project partner Human Services Inc., this initiative intends to breathe new life into the close-knit community. The plan not only revamps the physical building but also adds much-needed facilities for residents.

Built during the peak of World War II to serve as a military hospital, Liberty House hosts 48 aesthetic yet outdated apartments. But change is coming. The redevelopment will roll out 50 modern, accessible apartments, each equipped with cutting-edge, energy-efficient appliances, and robust onsite services.

Robin Wiessmann, Executive Director & CEO of Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, and a speaker at the launch ceremony, emphasized the significance of the project. The planned improvements go far beyond simple cosmetic changes – they represent a powerful commitment to sustainability, incorporating recycled materials and salvaged wood products.

The project also has an eye on the future, with a 60% increase in resident amenity areas. Residents can look forward to expanded supportive service spaces, lounges, shared laundry facilities, and a commercial kitchen providing three meals a day.

Jacob Fisher, regional vice president at Pennrose, reflected on the legacy of the housing project. “We are honored to continue the community’s long legacy and help preserve high-quality, supportive-rich affordable housing for an often underserved community,” he said.

Dolores Colligan, Director at Chester County Dept. of Community Development, echoed this sentiment. Her department has awarded the project over $4 million from federal resources. This initiative, she pointed out, aligns with the county’s commitment to affordable housing and reducing homelessness.

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The reform of Liberty House could not have come at a better time. According to The National Low Income Housing Coalition, there is a shortage of over 265,000 affordable rental homes in Pennsylvania. In Chester County alone, the waitlist for affordable housing exceeds 4,500 households.

The revitalization stands as a bastion of hope, meeting the growing demand for safe, affordable housing in the area. The modernization preserves a crucial community asset, particularly for individuals with mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the formerly homeless.

Liberty House has a rich history. Built in 1942 as a military hospital during World War II, it evolved into Valley Forge Military Hospital. After its closure in the 1970s, the building lay vacant for over a decade, before being converted into affordable housing in 1996.

Once the revitalization project is complete, Pennrose Management Company, known for its experience in managing well-appointed properties, will oversee the management, while Human Services Inc. will provide round-the-clock supportive services.

Marsha Blunt, the president of Pennrose Management Company, emphasized the importance of supportive services at Liberty House. The aim, she stated, is to provide services, programming, and resources that enhance the lives of residents and empower independent living.

The financing for the renovation comes from multiple sources, including a construction loan by Fulton Bank, Tax Credit Equity from RedStone Equity, and funding from local and state entities.

As Liberty House prepares for its overhaul, it stands as a testament to collaboration, community, and the commitment to care for the underserved. The project holds great promise for its residents and for the future of sustainable, affordable housing in Pennsylvania.

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