Housing for Individuals with Disabilities

Jewish Residential Services (JRS) has exciting news about two types of housing for individuals with disabilities. The first is that JRS and Verland are planning to create another Community Living Arrangement (CLA) or group home in or around the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Like the Solomon and Sarah Goldberg House, the new group home will be licensed to serve individuals who require round-the-clock care because of significant intellectual and physical disabilities. The assumption is that residents will live there permanently, as long as their needs can continue to be met.

Verland will employ all of the staff providing direct care, taking care of the grounds, etc. The home is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but employees do not live there.

Jewish Residential Services will be involved in making sure residents are included in the fabric of the community by assisting with staff training related to Jewish culture, facilitating linkages with the Jewish Community Center and other Squirrel Hill organizations, and continuing to work closely with Verland’s leadership.

Generally, residents of group homes licensed for this level of care have a PA Consolidated Waiver which is designed to help individuals with intellectual disabilities access a variety of services, including housing, to support community living.

Residents of the new group home do not need to be Jewish but the home celebrates Jewish culture, however, with a kosher kitchen, Shabbat dinners, and observance of Jewish holidays, so it is important for residents to be comfortable in this environment.

Interested parties can contact Alison Karabin, Project Manager for Young Adults in Transition at Jewish Residential Services, at akarabin@jrspgh.org o r 412.325.0039 ext. 103.

The second area of housing news is that JRS and ACTION-Housing are moving forward with plans to construct Krause Commons, a 6 story building, located at a long-vacant and deteriorated Poli’s site at the gateway to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  A new, larger Howard Levin Clubhouse (to be renamed the Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse) and new JRS offices will comprise the first two floors of the building with 33 units of affordable housing filling the top floors.  Half of the apartment units will be designated specifically for individuals with disabilities.  The remainder will be open to people with or without disabilities with limited incomes, especially targeting those working in lower wage jobs located in Squirrel Hill, Oakland, or other nearby areas.

Over the past 15 years JRS and ACTION have partnered to develop two very successful smaller HUD-811 projects in the neighborhood, providing safe, affordable housing and support services to a total of 22 individuals with disabilities.  For those 22 spaces there is a large waiting list, a testament to the need for additional affordable housing for people with disabilities in the community.  ACTION-Housing will take the lead in overseeing development for the entire building project and in providing facilities management once it is completed. JRS will provide a variety of ongoing supportive services and community inclusion opportunities for the residents of the rental units in addition to the work we do on the first two floors of the building.  This project has garnered broad community support and promises to enrich the lives of both those it serves directly and the neighborhood as a whole.

The project team made up of representatives from ACTION-Housing, JRS, FortyEighty Architecture, Iams Engineering, and Mosites Construction. Groundbreaking is targeted for early May 2017 and construction should be completed in July or August of 2018.

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