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Completion Date of Clarion Township Tiny Houses Uncertain

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 @ 12:03 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

Tiny homeCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – The Clarion Center for Community Resources had hoped the three tiny homes being built on Greenville Pike would be ready by May or June, but the Coronavirus could delay completion of the project.

“We were hoping for the end of May for them to be ready for people to move in, but with the current situation, I’m not sure that they’ll be ready by then,” said Valerie Snyder, of Clarion Center for Community Resources (CCR).

“This is the first set of tiny homes that we’ve done. From what I understand, it’s the only one in the state so far.”

CCR is working with the Clarion County Housing Authority and will share the management of the tiny houses regarding monthly and annual inspections. CCR will provide case management, as needed, for the people living there.

No applications are being accepted at this time, but requirements for who will be accepted are in the works. The Housing Authority will also help with determining who should go into the units, and one of the requirements is a mental health diagnosis for all applicants.

“OMHSAS (Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services) is helping fund this, and they’re very excited to see the outcomes.”

“OMHSAS is the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; they gave approval for the project. The funding came from Health Choices savings which we refer to as “Reinvestment Funds.” Community Care Behavioral Health Organization assigns unspent Medicaid (MA) dollars to projects developed at the Behavioral Health Alliance of Rural PA (BHARP) that support the well-being of individuals covered by MA insurance (Health Choices). That is the reason occupants of the Micro Homes MUST be enrolled in medical assistance in order to reside there.

“Our focus, from the origination of the proposal, is to serve MA covered lives, with MH issues. We can’t use the homes to house forensic consumers unless they meet the three criteria above and are not sex or meth offenders (HUD guideline).”

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, all employees are working remotely.

“We are just meeting with people via telephone, and we’re still connecting them with everything they need.”

CCR does crisis and mental health services.

“We are the Base Service Unit for Clarion County and also do early intervention and intellectual disabilities case management. We also do the case management for forensics and people coming out of the psychiatric hospitals. So, we’re doing all of that through telecommunication.

“If someone’s in jail and has a mental health diagnosis, and they’re about to be released, the case manager sets up all their mental health appointments, their medications, and a housing plan so that when they get released, they have a plan in place.”

The 10′ 3.5″ by 28′ 4.25″ tiny houses are being built by Nonprofit Development Corporation, Inc., of Butler.

Each tiny house will have a porch and will be a total of 292 square feet in size. Each tiny house will have two 10′ by 20′ parking spaces. Plans also include a new 18-foot wide gravel alley proposed to serve the development with access from Grand Avenue Extension at 553 Greenville Pike in Clarion.

Christopher Lunn, of Nonprofit Development, Inc., of Butler, said in an earlier interview, “We’re sort of aiming at people with housing needs who may be homeless, people who may have intellectual disabilities, or people with mental health needs. Those are the people who we will primarily be focusing on.”

“They would be living independently there, and no supervision will be needed,” Lunn added. “These people would be higher functioning and probably more on the lower-income scale and need affordable housing.

“This is the first time we will be doing a project like this. We partnered with the Butler County Vo-Tech, and we built a prototype of a tiny home. We give them a project to do every year, and it was good that we built that prototype—because we realized that we needed to make it a little bigger scale so it’s a little more comfortable to live in. This is the first time that we’re going to be putting it into an application, and we hope we will be able to spread this not only just in Clarion County but also surrounding counties.”

Nonprofit Development Corporation also has another sister company in Butler, Community Builders Group.

“Community Builders is our construction piece and is a licensed general contractor doing work for low-income individuals and nonprofits. CCR is a partner organization and Mike Robb and I run both, but they have separate boards of directors and separate missions.”

Nonprofit Development Corporation (NDC) supports individuals, nonprofit organizations, and government entities to obtain technical assistance, affordable space, supported employment, and funding opportunities.

The mission of Center for Community Resources is to make a positive difference in everyday lives by connecting people to a network of supports and services essential for actively learning, working, and living in the community.

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