BAR HARBOR — The planned conversion of the former parish house at St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church into housing for young adults with disabilities is one step closer with the award of a $300,000 federal grant.
Renovation work on the parish house is likely to begin this spring thanks to the award, said Roberta Raymond of Local Solutions, the group that is spearheading the project. The building is to be divided into six apartments, an office, kitchen, dining area and community room. There also will be rooms to house two volunteers who will live at the house for a year at a time, according to Local Solutions press materials.
The nonprofit group is comprised largely of parents of young people with disabilities who have graduated from Mount Desert Island High School and want the option of keeping their adult children in the area in an assisted-living arrangement. They have been working towards that goal for four years.
“We are on our way,” Local Solutions board of directors President Dee Karnofsky said.
Community Housing of Maine applied for the grant, with the sponsorship of Camden National Bank. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston awarded the $300,000 Affordable Housing Program grant, Raymond said.
Community Housing of Maine is taking over ownership of the building and will raise the bulk of the funds for and oversee the renovations. Local Solutions continues to be engaged in grassroots fundraising for the project and will oversee the hiring of staff and management of the home.
“Our project in Bar Harbor will create an innovative and accessible housing model. It demonstrates an approach that can be replicated by other communities on our island and throughout Maine,” the group’s press release stated.
The intent of the home is to provide a lifelong home for the residents, where they can live independent lives to the extent that they are able, while being fully supported. Residents will receive assistance finding opportunities for employment, volunteering and recreation within the community. Local Solutions also hopes to provide a sense of belonging and a place where there are opportunities for socialization and friendships.
The house is to employ two full-time staff supported by the live-in volunteers. Six project-based Section 8 housing vouchers are being made available to support the individuals in the home. Residents also will pay rent, based on a percentage of their Social Security and income, according to Local Solutions.