As we continue to expand our reach into every corner of Pennsylvania, we’ve contracted with a new Funding Assistance Coordinator (FAC), Brooke Schipporeit, whose focus will be spreading the word about PATF across Philadelphia. All of our FAC’s already work in related organizations across the state, and Brooke shared with us a little about the Self-Determination Housing Project of Pennsylvania, and its programs that serve people with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians:
What does it mean to have choice over where you call home? For me, it means having the freedom to choose where I start and end my day; where I spend time with my husband and dog; and where I host family and friends for dinners and game nights. It’s having all of these things in a home that is also affordable and accessible to me and my loved ones, and in a community that is safe and close to things I both need and enjoy doing.
The Self-Determination Housing Project of Pennsylvania (SDHP) is on a mission to make this possible for all people with disabilities and older adults throughout the Commonwealth by expanding affordable, accessible housing options that are integrated in the community. SDHP serves a wide range of the community, including people with disabilities, older adults, caregivers, groups and organizations, family members, advocates, public agencies, government officials, service providers, landlords and developers.
Because SDHP covers such a broad spectrum and geographical area, it has established four goals to help focus its work:
- Bridge the information gap between the housing and social service communities
- Promote state and local partnerships and coalitions that enable people with disabilities and older adults to choose and control their own housing
- Increase the stock of affordable, accessible, and integrated housing
- Expand access to public and private housing programs for people with disabilities and older adults
The two main programs at SDHP working towards these goals are the Pennsylvania Accessible Housing Program (PAHP) and the Regional Housing Coordinator (RHC) Program.
PAHP serves to provide an opportunity for low- to moderate-income persons – both renters and homeowners – with permanent disabilities and older adults to make their home more accessible via a grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). SDHP provides this comprehensive home modification program to all counties in Pennsylvania that are not already providing one to their residents directly.
The RHC program covers all 67 counties. There is one person serving as each region’s RHC. The role of an RHC is to be an information clearinghouse for topics related to housing, people with disabilities and older adults. The only caveat is that each RHC works at a systems level, meaning they only work with social service and housing professionals, not with people directly seeking housing or other supportive services. This allows RHCs to focus on bridging the information gap between the social service and housing systems and to cover a larger area.
More specifically, RHCs provide free presentations and trainings to housing and social service organizations, offer one-on-one information and referrals and technical assistance to providers, develop partnerships with a variety of agencies and coalitions, and advocate for the preservation and development of affordable and accessible housing. This is what my role is with SDHP in Philadelphia County. Adding the role of Funding Assistance Coordinator (FAC) for PATF to my work as an RHC will be a perfect fit, allowing me to provide more comprehensive information for those I work with, ultimately increasing my ability to help others achieve self-determination.
This year, SDHP is expanding its RHC program from 11 regions to 14 and was included in last year’s PA Department of Human Services Strategic Housing Plan. Just like at PATF, where we advocate for consumer choice when choosing assistive technology, at SDHP, we believe that people with disabilities and older adults are entitled to self-determination and control over where and with whom they live and will continue to passionately work for this mission to become a reality.
Curious how PATF can help Pennsylvanians pay for home modifications? Contact us so we can connect you with possible funding resources, or visit our programs page to learn more about our low-interest and 0% interest loan programs.