Mayor Announces Plan for Second Income-Based Senior Housing Project in Saline

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Mill Pond Manor opened in 1991 on the campus of the Saline Hospital to provide affordable housing for senior citizens.

During an interview with The Saline Post Mayor Brian Marl announced growing momentum for plans for a second affordable senior housing project in the City of Saline.

Marl made the announcement after months of discussions with EHM Senior Solutions CEO Tom Hoskinski and representatives from housing organizations in Washtenaw County.

"I have a commitment from (EHM Senior Solutions) to continue exploration and evaluation of the construction and development of a second Mill Pond Manor," Marl said.

The 47-unit Mill Pond Manor was opened at 460 Russell Street in 1990 on the Saline Hospital property. People aged 62 and up are eligible to live there. The federally-subsidized housing asks residents to pay up to 30 percent of their income as rent. The property is managed by Retirement Housing Foundation and co-sponsored by EHM Senior Solutions.

Marl said he has had conversations with Hosinski about the issue over the last six months. They recently spoke with Avalon Housing, a non-profit which manages 292 rental units on 25 properties in Washtenaw County, The Ypsilanti Housing Commission and the Washtenaw County Office Community and Economic Development.

"They are going to be following up with us with a list of contractors and entities who would be willing to support this or who may be interested in partnering on this project," Marl said.

EHM Senior Solutions, formerly known as Evangelical Homes of Michigan, operates Brecon Village and assisted living facility and other operations at the site of the former Saline hospital.

Marl said the city has talked about affordable housing for a number of years and that it's listed as a goal in the city's strategic plan.

The original Mill Pond Manor was conceived by Bill Lavery, former CEO of the Saline Hospital, then-Mayor Mark Hopper and assisted by US Rep. Bill Ford. Since opening in 1990, the demand for income-based senior housing as grown. Marl said Mill Pond Manor has maintained a 2-5 year waitlist.

"And I believe that demand is only going to increase in the ensuing years, especially if you look at the SEMCOG numbers and analysis as to how our senior population is going to grow in the next two to three decades," Marl said. "So, I think a second Mill Pond Manor is desperately needed."

Anecdotally, Marl said he couldn't count the number of times he's been asked about income-based senior housing in Saline.

"I couldn't even count the number of times couples or individuals have approached me to say, 'Mayor I want to stay in the community but I can't because staying in my single-family home into my 80s or 90s is not a viable option and I need something affordable.

This is my home. I want to stay in Saline," Marl said.

Marl said he anticipated the new housing would be located near the current building, on the EHM Senior Solutions campus.

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