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Armstrong to seek housing funds for ADA improvements

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By Tim Karan
Friday, May 17, 2013, 3:41 a.m.

KITTANNING — County commissioners approved submitting an application for $100,000 to the state Department of Community & Economic Development to fund the Accessible Housing Grant Program during a meeting Thursday afternoon.

The program allows the county to make repairs and Americans with Disabilities Act improvements to the homes of low and moderate income residents with a permanent physical disability.

Carmen Johnson, assistant director of planning and development, said the county and planning commission will provide a match to the total amount sought.

“The county will be matching $90,000 and the Non Profit Housing Corp. is matching $10,000,” said Johnson. “We anticipate we'll be able to assist an estimated 12 to 15 households.”

The program will be open to both homeowners and renters and Johnson said the maximum assistance would be $10,500, but that it could increase on a case-by-case basis as necessary.

In other news, the commissioners officially designated May 2013 as Mental Health Awareness Month, in keeping with National Childrens Mental Health Awareness Day which was May 9.

Tammy Calderone, administrator of the Armstrong-Indiana Behavioral and Developmental Health Program, thanked the commissioners for their support.

“Because one in five individuals will be diagnosed with a mental disorder, it's important to point out this is a common occurrence,” she said. “There are a lot resources in Armstrong County that anyone with a mental health diagnosis can access.”

Calderone highlighted the Kittanning Empowerment Center along Market Street, which is provided services by the Alliance for Nonprofit Resources based in Butler. Marni Rettig, program director for the alliance, stressed that the center is a valuable local resource.

“It's a place for people with mental health needs where they can go to stay strong in their recovery, socialize, have a meal and participate in any type of educational events to really promote their physical, emotional and mental well-being,” said Rettig. “All you have to do is walk through the door to be welcomed by our volunteers there.”

The center is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a free spaghetti luncheon will be held from 12 to 3 p.m. on May 18.

The commissioners also approved two change orders totaling about $5,000 for the third phase of construction at the Belmont Complex in East Franklin. The change orders are for bleacher supports; support of a wall; removal of existing tile, flooring and deck; and more. The total project cost is now $1,377,907. “On a good note,” said Johnson. “There will be a future change order that we're going to be decreasing the cost by about $3,000.”

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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