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    By Michelle Kealey

    Staff Writer

    AGAWAM The Greater Springfield Senior Services, Inc. and the Agawam Housing Authority are offering tours and an open house at the Danahy Schoolhouse congregate housing facility next week.

    The housing facility, which has recently been redecorated, is a shared living environment in which residents have a private bedroom/sitting area and half bath. The residents who live in the congregate housing unit share a living room, dining room, large kitchen and two safety equipped showers.

    Victoria Kania, case manager and congregate coordinator for greater Springfield Senior Services, said that she is hosting an open house because many improvements to the facility have recently been completed. She added that she hosted an open house last year and wanted to host one this year as well, especially since the facility has been upgraded.

    She said that some of the carpeting was replaced with linoleum, the walls were painted, new curtains were put up in the common area, the shower doors were replaced and all of the entry doors were replaced.

    She explained that one of the reasons for the open house is to attract new residents. The Danahy Schoolhouse has the capacity for 10 residents.

    Kania said that three residents live there currently and two more are moving in shortly.

    According to Kania, the facility is frequently mistaken for assisted living housing. He said that each resident has to have a degree of independence with the need of a little support.

    She added that it is shared living with socialization, and that some residents are eligible through the Greater Springfield Senior Services to receive help such as personal care and home making.

    According to Kania, the residents must qualify for subsidized housing in order to live at the Danahy Schoolhouse.

    It is not like assisted living [in which] they are paying for services. They pay subsidized rent and a fee for the meal program, she said.

    Residents of the Danahy Schoolhouse must be at least 60 years of age or younger with a disability. They must not require medical care or 24-hour supervision.

    Greater Springfield Senior Services, which sponsors congregate housing, also has facilities in Springfield and East Longmeadow. There are also a number of similar facilities across the state, according to Kania.

    The open house in Agawam will take place on April 27 from 8 - 11 a.m. The Danahy Schoolhouse is located at 51 Maple Street in Agawam. Individual tours can be arranged and more information can be obtained by contacting Victoria Kania at 781-8800.

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