Skip to content
Apartment Search

News & Views

Pennrose Celebrates Revitalization Kickoff at Liberty House

May 21, 2024


Liberty House Revitalization Kickoff

This initiative will upgrade the outdated 1942-built, 48-unit community into 50 modern, affordable apartments with robust on-site amenities and tailored supportive services.

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Schuylkill Township, Chester County Department of Community Development, Housing Authority of Chester County, and project partner Human Services Inc. today launched the revitalization of Liberty House, an affordable housing community for individuals with special needs in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The $11.7 million initiative will upgrade the outdated 1942-built, 48-unit community into 50 modern, affordable apartments with robust on-site amenities and tailored supportive services.

Speakers at the ceremony included: Robin Wiessmann, Executive Director & CEO, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency; Josh Maxwell, Commissioner, Chester County; Marian D. Moskowitz, Commissioner, Chester County; Eric M. Roe, Commissioner, Chester County; Paul Diggs, Executive Director, Housing Authority of Chester County; Brandon Benn, Mental Health Housing Coordinator, Chester County Department of Mental Health/Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities; Mary Rose Worthington, Former CEO, Human Services, Inc.; Jeanne Fields, Vice President, Fulton Bank; Dominic Ponsolle, Current Resident; and Mark H. Dambly, CEO, Pennrose, LLC.

Plans for the redevelopment will renovate the 36,284 sq ft, two-story building with significant capital improvements, including replacing outdated mechanical systems, re-glazing windows, replacing appliances with energy efficient models, bringing units up to current accessibility code, creating a common space elevator, and making repairs to the building’s exterior façade. Additionally, two one-bedroom apartments previously set aside for staff will be updated for resident use, increasing the building’s unit count by two. Best practices for sustainability will also be utilized, including incorporating recycled materials and salvaged wood products.

The redevelopment will also increase resident amenity areas by almost 60% to expand upon on-site supportive services. In addition to supportive services space, residents also have access to several other on-site amenities, such as a spacious community room, resident lounges, shared laundry facilities, covered patio, and a commercial kitchen offering three meals a day.

“Liberty House began as a military hospital designed to care for some of the nation’s most in-need during World War II,” said Jacob Fisher, regional vice president at Pennrose. “We are honored to continue the community’s long legacy and help preserve high-quality, supportive-rich affordable housing for an often underserved community.”

“The Chester County Dept. of Community Development is proud to play a significant role in the redevelopment of Liberty House by awarding the project $4,407,022 from a variety of federal resources,” said Dolores Colligan, director at Chester County Dept. of Community Development. “This activity supports the county’s goals of supporting affordable housing activities and supporting efforts to prevent and end homelessness, as well as the priority need of services and housing for vulnerable populations. By funding the preservation and rehabilitation efforts of Liberty House, Chester County is showing a continued commitment to addressing a universal need of safe, affordable housing for all.”

In Pennsylvania, The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates there is a shortage of more than 265,000 affordable rental homes, and in Chester County, the waitlist for affordable housing is over 4,500 households. The Liberty House revitalization will deliver critical functional and aesthetic improvements to preserve a much-needed affordable housing asset for individuals with mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the formerly homeless in an area experiencing a rapid increase in the cost of living.

The original building was constructed in 1942 as a military hospital at the height of World War II, eventually growing into Valley Forge Military Hospital, one of the largest military hospitals spanning 100 buildings across 180 acres. Following the closure of the hospital in the mid-1970s, the original Liberty House building sat vacant for more than a decade, and was eventually adapted into affordable housing in 1996 by Liberty House Associates, L.P. and Human Services Inc. (HSI), with the financial support of Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), the Housing Authority of the County of Chester (HACC), and the County of Chester.

Once complete, the project will be managed by Pennrose Management Company (PMC) with 24/7 supportive services provided by HSI.

“The delivery of tailored supportive services has long been a critical component of Liberty House,” said Marsha Blunt, president of Pennrose Management Company. “We are excited to work closely with HSI to provide services, programming, and resources that improve the lives of residents and support their ability to live independently.”

Financing for the Liberty House revitalization includes a construction loan provided by Fulton Bank, Tax Credit Equity from RedStone Equity, and financing from Chester County Department of Community Development, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, FHLB Pittsburgh AHP, and Human Services Inc.