The following article was written for Regional Housing Legal Services by Anabel Genevitz on July 9, 2015
Regional Housing Legal Services’ Deputy Director/Senior Attorney for Multi-Family Housing, Dina Schlossberg, and Staff Attorney, Bridget Coyne, are representing the Autism Housing Development Corporation of Pittsburgh (AHDCP) and ACTION-Housing, Inc. as they begin construction on their innovative new housing development, the Dave Wright Apartments. The building will take the place of Wright’s Seafood Inn in Heidelberg, Pennsylvania.
The development will be the first of its kind in the Commonwealth, with approximately half of the 42 units with a preference for adults living with autism. Supportive services provided by NHS Human Services will help enable its residents to achieve independent living and integration in the community.
According to Housing Choice in Allegheny County, a report on the availability and need for housing options for adults with disabilities, “there are twice as many people who have a disability in Allegheny County than there is non-elderly affordable/supportive housing.”
Nationally, 500,000 teens with autism will become adults within the next decade. Housing in Pennsylvania must consider the needs of individuals with a variety of disabilities as well as their desire to live independently and become a part of their communities. The Dave Wright Apartments could act as a model to serve this population.
In addition to brand new apartments, the development will feature a garden, quiet lounges, exercise rooms and easy access to Pittsburgh’s public transit system.
Construction of the Dave Wright Apartments will begin within the next few weeks, with expectation that it will be completed in a year. AHDCP estimates that they will begin accepting tenant applications in April of 2016. Check back for updates as the project progresses.