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Home for the Holidays in Jessup

JESSUP — Housing officials cut the ribbon Friday on the first new low-income housing development in Lackawanna County in more than 30 years.

Two years ago, residents in the development needed to move to make way for the construction. Many of those residents are now back in their new homes.

Robert Hares and his wife haven’t really been home in two years. They, and about 70 other families were asked to move in 2011 to make way for new low-income apartments on the land in Jessup.

The Lackawanna County Housing Authority finished up the re-development project this week.

At times, Hares said, he doubted he would ever come back. So Friday’s grand opening was something special.

“I thought for sure they were going to sell the property to someone around here because it was just leveled and dirt, but then the buildings started going up and they just went up so rapidly,” Hares said.

Residents, new and old, could start moving in to the apartments in September. All 76 units are now complete and completely rented. This is the first new project for the Housing Authority in more that 30 years.

“This really adds to the stock of affordable housing in this county. We haven’t had something like this since the early 80’s. {That} was the last time we built,” said Lackawanna County Housing Authority Director James Dartt.

The developers of the project decided to give a nod to its home borough and renamed the streets after Jessup’s famous running saints: Ubaldo, Anthony, and George.

Borough leaders undoubtedly didn’t object.

New residents like their new address too, for more than one reason.

Brett Odzana and his family moved in to their new apartment in October. He was attracted to the development because it’s handicapped accessible. He’s never lived in an apartment that’s worked so well with his wheelchair.

“A lot easier for me, I’m able to reach stuff here and the bathroom is much easier. I can move around, chase my little three year old,” Odzana said.

The project cost $14 million. But, for Odzana, the new home and new lease on life in priceless.


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