Non-profit Luminest fills need in Chambersburg’s Third Ward with affordable senior housing – Public Opinion

If you’ve driven through Chambersburg’s Third Ward lately, you may have noticed some new neighbors at Parkview Corner.

Luminest, a 501C3 certified nonprofit, completed the 40-unit senior living facility last year. With a flood of applications pouring in over the past few months, they’re already nearly full of new residents, according to Luminest Executive Director Bonnie Zehler.

“There was a huge need, which we knew,” she said.

Bonnie Zehler, executive director of Luminest, said they've nearly filled their 40 units at the new Parkview Corner senior living community.

The COVID-19 pandemic provided quite a few hiccups. Construction was delayed for five months. Additionally, with Luminest’s target residents being 62 years and older, leasing had a slower start than they hoped. Once the weather broke and COVID rates started declining, seniors in the area began to express interest in the new units. 

What makes Parkview Corner attractive to seniors are the amenities, Zehler explained. Four of the units are fully handicap accessible. One of the units is designed as a hearing and vision impaired unit. 

“But all of our units are considered visitable,” Zehler said. “So, if you have a wheelchair, or you have a walker or a cane, you can get into any of the units and visit.”

Luminest offers seniors a “maintenance-free” living experience, where they don’t have to worry about shoveling snow or mowing the lawn. 

Parkview Corner also has individuals on-site to help with any issues that may arise. In addition to an on-site property manager, a supportive services liaison also holds office space in the building.

“If a resident is having a problem or an issue, they can come to her and she can help them find a resource to help them with their issue, whatever it is – if it’s medical or financial or transportation – it could be anything,” Zehler explained. “She’s worked closely with the Area Agency on Aging so if somebody needed more support, she can connect them with that – Meals on Wheels, all of those things.”

A collaboration with Wellspan also provides the Parkview Corner residents with a community health nurse on Friday mornings.

“She’s here to assist any of our residents or tenants,” Zehler said. “For instance, if you’ve been discharged from the hospital, and you need extra services or help getting back for appointments or lab work, this WellSpan nurse has access to all the WellSpan services. She can help get information, set appointments, help people with all of that.”

The program is a donated service.

“Wellspan received a grant to allow them to have this person come in and serve our tenants, it’s a wonderful opportunity,” Zehler said.

Luminest is also exploring the possibility of having a local podiatrist make regular visits for senior services as well.

A fully handicap-accessible salon is one amenity at Parkview Corner.

Another unique service offered on-site is a fully handicap-accessible salon where a local stylist offers discounted services to those who live in the building.

A fitness room, conference room, communal kitchen, outdoor community spaces and a library filled with books donated by Coyle Free Library, United Way and Rotarians are all included for residents.

While rent isn’t subsidized at Parkview Corner, Luminest does receive a Low Income Housing Tax Credit, so they are able to offer rent significantly lower than market price.

“There are different income levels you have to have to move here,” Zehler explained. “We serve people who are at 50% of median income and 60% median income.”

Book were donated to create a library at Parkview Corner from Coyle Free Library, United Way and Rotarians.

Four of the units were set aside for people with 20% of median income and even lower rents, which were rented out quickly, Zehler said.

Most of the residents living in Parkview are Chambersburg natives, happy to have a place close by that offers them secure and easy living in their senior years. 

“Generally speaking, people like to stay close to home,” Zehler said.

Carley Bonk is a Watchdog Reporter for the USA Today Network – Pennsylvania. Her coverage spans across the southcentral region of Pennsylvania. She can be reached at cbonk@publicopinionnews.com or on Twitter at @carls_marie.