Housing Options

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging has several options to meet your housing needs

ECHO (Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity) Program

  • What is Echo Housing?

ECHO stands for Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity. Elder cottages are small, separate, manufactured residences that are temporarily placed in the side or rear yard of a host family for an older adult. When the ECHO cottage is no longer needed, it is relocated to the property of another host family.


  • What is the Need for ECHO Housing in Clearfield County?

While Pennsylvania has one of the highest percentages of elderly in the US, in 2014 Clearfield County exceeded the state averages ’s for both percent of population over 65 (17.9% compared to 15.7% in PA) and percent of population over 80 (8.5% compared to 7.7% in PA).This indicates a clear need for increased housing options for older persons in Clearfield County.  National AARP studies clearly indicate that most older adults desire to remain in their community and age in place, and locally the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging has been approached by a number of families who are looking for alternatives to placing their loved ones in institutions.


  • What are the Benefits of ECHO Housing?

ECHO cottages provide safety and autonomy for older adults along with easy access to family members who can provide assistance.Instead of having to travel far to pick up mom or dad for appointments or shopping, he/she is only steps away. Both the elder and the host family maintain their privacy and dignity. In addition to improving the health of the older resident, stress on family caregivers is reduced and family cohesiveness is preserved.Placing a temporary elder cottage near one’s home is also more cost effective and timely than making home modifications, which are expensive and can change the permanent character and use of the home.

ECHO housing is also much more affordable than nursing home care.

Finally, but not of least importance, access to an elder cottage can prevent premature institutionalization of an older adult.


  • Who are the Families and Individuals to be Served in Clearfield County?

ECHO targets adults 60 years and older with incomes below 50% of the area median income (AMI) who wish to age in place.They must be able to live independently either with or without services.


  • What is the definition of host family?

A host family must be related by blood or marriage to the older adult and certify that they agree to siting of the ECHO cottage on their property.


  • Who Will Produce the Cottage and what is their Experience with Manufactured Housing?

The ECHO cottage will be built by Champion Homes, Inc., a company that is the second largest modular homebuilder in North America. Champion has been a producer of factory-built manufactured homes, modular homes and mobile homes for 64 years. Champion uses "green construction" materials and methods to minimize negative environmental impact.      The company is certified by HUD as meeting Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.  In May 2017, Champion received a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) National Industry Design Award for Manufactured and Modular Housing in the category "New Manufactured Home Design (Small Home) 320-600 SF." This and the other MHI awards recognized Champion's outstanding products, customer service, creative solutions and state of-the-art-homes.  In the event of manufacturing delays beyond our control, an equivalent manufacturer that meets HUD standards will be used. 


  • How large is the Cottage and What Amenities does it have?

The cottage is 16X36 (572 square feet) with an open floor plan; one 12X13’ bedroom; a 15X10’ living/dining area; one wheelchair accessible bathroom with roll in shower and roll under sink; a kitchenette with refrigerator, cooktop, microwave; and a utility room with washer and dryer.


  • Who Will Own and Manage the Cottages?

Mature Resources Foundation (MRF) will maintain ownership of the cottages.They will execute a lease with the older occupant and a Letter of Agreement with the host family that details the rights and responsibilities of each party.MRF will be responsible for on-going maintenance and upkeep of the cottages including monthly inspections and needed repairs.If for some reason MRF can no longer maintain ownership in the future, the cottages will be transferred to another reputable and experienced nonprofit organization.


  • Who is Mature Resources Foundation, Inc.?

Mature Resources Foundation (MRF) was formed in 1992 as a nonprofit affiliate of the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging (CCAAA) to support the AAA's mission of providing comprehensive, high quality services to older residents of Clearfield County.In this role they


  • What is Mature Resource Foundation’s Experience in Owning and Managing Housing for Older Adults?

In 2016 Mature Resources Foundation purchased three rental units. Each is similar in size and scope to the ECHO housing, and each is targeted to low-income older adults who wish to age in their own community.  Two of the rental units are duplexes and are fully occupied.  The third is a single-family house that MRF has renovated into a shared living residence. The two women who live there had previously resided in a long-term care facility. MRF is responsible for all tasks of ownership and management of these units including outreach/marketing, screening tenants, property management and coordination with CCAAA and other service providers.  MRF utilizes CCAAA’s bookkeeping and financial management staff for oversight of all aspects of proper accounting of assets, revenue and expenses.  This oversight includes legal transactions, regular financial reports to the MRF board of directors, and the annual filing of the tax return for the IRS.  In addition, the CCAAA maintains proper documentation and reports to grant funders for MRF.


  • What will Happen if the ECHO Occupant Needs Services such as Housekeeping or Assistance with Medical Needs?

The Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging will provide care management and supportive services to the individuals in the ECHO cottage as needed.


  • Who is the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging?

Incorporated in 1977, the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging’s mission is to provide a comprehensive array of the highest quality health and human services to older residents of Clearfield County.


  • What is their Role and Experience in Addressing the Needs of Seniors in Clearfield County?

CCAAA is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit agency that has on staff a wide array of knowledgeable professionals to provide resources and services to Clearfield County residents. CCAAA offers a wide variety of services to older adults including:


  • Older Adult Protective Services

  • ‚Äč

  • Home Delivered Meals

  • Caregiver Support

  • Health and Wellness

  • Centers for Active Living

  • Lifelong Learning Institute

  • APPRISE Insurance Counseling

  • SM@RT Dining

  • Information and Referral



  • How Will Host Families and Older Adults be Screened and Selected?

The Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging will identify older adults and host families who are interested in participating in the ECHO program.They will also screen prospective participants to ensure that they meet program eligibility requirements.




  • How Can a Township Ensure that Only Eligible Seniors and their Families Benefit from the Program?

A township may develop a Special Exception to their current zoning ordinance to regulate the siting and use of ECHO cottages.The Special Exception could be written to allow cottages specifically under the Clearfield County ECHO Program and how the process will proceed, enabling a Township to consider each case on its merits. The township can define the circumstances under which a property owner can place an elder cottage on his/her property. In addition, as long as it does not violate fair housing laws, a Township can limit occupancy to older adults, can define eligible host families, and can regulate setbacks, side yards, utilities, etc. The Special Exception can also be granted for a specified period of time (to be terminated when the eligible occupant vacates the premises), and/or to require periodic re-approvals.


  • What will be the Responsibilities of the Landowner or Host Family and how will they be Secured?

The landowner/host family will be responsible for maintaining the property and allowing Mature Resources Foundation to inspect the cottage on a quarterly basis; this is secured through the Letter of Agreement between Mature Resources Foundation and the landowner/host family.


  • What are the Responsibilities of the Older Adult Occupant and how will they be Ensured?

The older adult cottage occupant is responsible for providing the necessary information regarding income, for paying rent to the Mature Resources Foundation and for keeping the cottage in good condition.


  • How Much will the Occupant pay to lease the Cottage?

The older adult will lease the cottage from Mature Resources Foundation for 30% of his/her gross income.


  • Will income be re-certified annually?

Mature Resources Foundation will conduct annual income re-certifications and make adjustments as necessary to the rental amount.In addition, the older adult occupant will be required to submit information to Mature Resources Foundation at any time there is a change in his/her income.



  • What Happens when the Older Adult No Longer Needs to Live in the Cottage?

Once the ECHO cottage is no longer needed by the older adult and host family, the cottage is removed by MRF and placed with another host for their older adult.


  • What If The Host Family Is No Longer Able To Participate In The Program Due to a Change Of Circumstance?

MRF will take responsibility and will work with a CCAAA Care Manager to either seek another host family to accommodate the older adult or to find another suitable living situation for the individual.

Home Sharing

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The Meals on Wheels America logo and “Together, We Can Deliver™” are trademarks of Meals on Wheels America and are under license.

The Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging, Inc. is designated as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization by the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, the Area Agency on Aging is registered as a charitable organization with the Pennsylvania Department of State. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free within Pennsylvania 1-800-732-0999.Registration does not imply endorsement.  We are a United Way Member Agency.