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Town to apply for grant money for housing

Richard D. L. Fulton

(5/12) The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted at their May 4 meeting to apply for a grant that will, if approved, would be turned over to the developers of an affordable housing project in town.

The proposed project is being developed by Homes for America in a portion of the Saint Joseph's Provincial House, 333 South Seton Avenue, a building that historically once served as the headquarters of the Daughters of Charity’s Southeast Province (also called the Emmitsburg Province).

Homes for America, based in Annapolis, is a non-profit organization that "specializes in developing and preserving housing for low and moderate income households and special needs populations."

Kathy Ebner, developer and homeownership manager for Homes for America, asked the town Board of commissioners to approve having the town apply for a grant which would then be turned over to the non-profit for use in continuing to develop the senior housing project at the Provincial House.

Ebner asked the board to allow town staff to apply for a (Community Development Block Grant) in the amount of $100,000. The board granted a request made last year by the non-profit for grant money to go towards the project.

The developer and homeownership manager told the board at their May 4 meeting that the conversion of a wing of the Provincial House into senior housing should be completed by spring 2014.

The proposal calls for the creation of 31 one-bedroom units, with rents based on 30 percent of the rental applicant incomes, and 12 two-bedroom units, with a rent of $700 to $740 a month.

The rentals would be age-restricted to Age 62 or older, and the housing would be managed by a third party once the project is completed, she said.

Ebner stated closing of the financing to pay for the project is expected to occur in November, and that construction is expected to take place over a 12-month period following the financial closing.

The board voted unanimously to approve the grant application, with Commissioner Tim O'Donnell recusing himself from the vote due to his wife’s association with the Daughters.

The Southeast Province was officially reorganized in 2011 and consolidated with the provinces headquartered in Albany, New York, Evansville, Indiana, and Saint Louis, Missouri, with the consolidated headquarters located in Saint Louis.

With only 50 or less members of the Daughters remaining at the Emmitsburg campus, a decision was made by the Saint Joseph's Provincial House administration to allow a non-profit entity to renovate a portion of the building into affordable housing for seniors.

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