Mount Carmel, PA (9th Congressional District)
Freedom Court is located in Mount Carmel Borough, Northumberland County and is in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Coal Region. Mount Carmel Borough has experienced years of declining industry and increased blight along with an aged population that necessitated a unique project design to meet the challenges of limited resources while embracing strong community engagement.
The project was conceptualized when a local business owner donated his resources to clear and prepare the site for construction after it had sat vacant and overgrown for decades. The half-acre lot was once a 1940’s war garden which provided food to the community residents during war rationing.
Support from local and state partnerships to advance the affordable low-income housing included Mount Carmel Borough, Northumberland County, Housing Development Corporation of Northumberland County, Housing Authority of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) and PA Department of Community & Economic Development (PA DCED), Center for Community and Housing Development.
The affordable rental housing constructed in 2019-2020 created five units of one-bedroom senior apartments with a military veteran’s preference. The project design of Freedom Court meets the mobility needs of seniors featuring 700 sq ft garden-style apartments with zero step entrances. As of today, all units are occupied by senior veterans.
The concept of a specialized project design and re-use has been transformative and obtained community support for its success. The program design will serve as a model for future affordable rental housing throughout the local communities.
HOME Program Manager
Center for Community & Housing Development
Pennsylvania Department of Economic and Community Development