The annual housing award: Recognizes Successful Initiatives Honors Leadership & Dedication in Increasing Housing Opportunities Showcases Models of Excellence Encourages Additional supportive Housing Developments in Pennsylvania Supportive housing is: Housing that connects and coordinates with available, flexible and responsive services in the community. Housing that offers accessibility features for individuals who need them. Affordable to the eligible target population. Permanent, not transitional. Safe and secure. This year, we received 17 nominations for this award. Each of those nominees – individuals and organizations – demonstrated excellence in their efforts to expand supportive housing opportunities in Pennsylvania and we applaud their efforts and encourage them to continue to make these opportunities available statewide. However, only one individual or organization could be awarded the 2010 Supportive Housing Award. This year’s awardee, in the words of Mayor Kirk Wilson, Mayor of the Borough of Carlisle, is “the epitome of a true community leader and professional – compassionate, honest, and forward-thinking.” So, before we introduce the awardee, let’s tell you a little more about one of their supportive housing developments…
Situated in downtown Carlisle at 13 South Hanover Street, the Molly Pitcher Hotel opened its doors on July 1, 1919. Named after the brave water-carrying woman during the Revolutionary War who was awarded an annuity by the Pennsylvania Assembly for her service in 1822, the Molly Pitcher Hotel was the place where Carlisle’s elite socialized. “The Molly” was famous for dinners, banquets, dances, and the privileged. It was a place of elegance. Like many cities and towns, Carlisle’s downtown area began to lose its retail base by the late 1960s due to the outlying malls and shopping centers on the eastern and southern fringes of the community. During the 1960s, the hotel rooms were made into more permanent living settings for its residents. Most of its new residents had experienced difficulty in paying for their housing in the community as well as food, clothing, and other needs. Over time, the increase in human services programs provided some assistance to residents of “The Molly,” but the once-touted grand hotel had become a dilapidated structure that was now known for frequent police stops. Additionally, its poor interior conditions resulted in some residents turning to the streets of downtown Carlisle for shelter. However, in January 2004, “The Molly” was purchased by the Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities. The visionary leadership and the dedicated staff at CCHRA worked to restore the structure; provide housing to its residents; and, in the spirit of Molly Pitcher, provide services to its residents. The Molly Pitcher Hotel Senior Apartments opened in December 2007. Some of this project’s accomplishments include: Approximately 50 former residents were successfully relocated into permanent affordable housing. During the relocation of residents, $3 million in funding was secured for the acquisition and renovation of the structure. A supportive services plan was developed to ensure that residents had an individualized care management plan. The structure is now safe, and it stands as an example if healthy community living for residents.
And, this is the Molly Pitcher Hotel as it appears today.
It is with great pleasure that we present the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 2010 Supportive Housing Award to Mr. Christopher Gulotta, executive director of the Cumberland County Housing & Redevelopment Authorities. (clap)
Not only has Mr. Gulotta spearheaded the Molly Pitcher Hotel project, but he has transformed the Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities’ activities during his tenure there. Other supportive housing opportunities that have been developed in Cumberland County under Mr. Gulotta’s leadership include, but aren’t limited to: The Enola Chapel Apartments for individuals who are homeless and have a mental health disability The Bretheren House Apartments for persons with Mental Health, developmental or intellectual disabilities The One West Penn Apartments for persons with mobility impairments The Two West Penn Apartments for persons with a disability The Sherman’s Ridge Apartments for seniors The Mountain View Apartments for persons with a disability The Valley Ridge Apartments for persons with a disability The American House Apartments for persons with a disability The Chestnut Commons Apartments for seniors
Please join us in recognizing Mr. Christopher Gulotta for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 2010 Supportive Housing Award. (clap)