Howard Beach senior center housing moves forward
by Lisa A. Fraser
Jan 04, 2012 | 3291 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Howard Beach will soon see a new housing development.

Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens (CCBQ) announced that it has closed on $31 million in financing to develop Howard Beach Senior Apartments, a housing development which will offer 96 units of affordable housing to seniors and persons with developmental disabilities.

In 2009, Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation (CCPOP) was chosen by the state to buy and develop the former Bernard Fineson Developmental Disabilities Senior Office site at 155-55 Crossbay Boulevard in Howard Beach into low and moderate-income housing.

“We believe that everyone deserves an affordable, safe home—housing shouldn’t be a luxury,” said Robert Siebel, chief executive officer of CCBQ and affiliated agencies. “By giving seniors and persons with developmental disabilities in Howard Beach access to affordable housing and a wide range of much-needed social services, we are preserving the dignity of the people we serve, which is central to our agency’s mission.”

The rehabilitated project will be made more accessible for seniors, and the beautified grounds will give new life to Howard Beach.

CCBQ hopes that the project will help to address the need for quality, affordable and supportive housing for the elderly in an area that is experiencing a significant increase in its aging population.

According to CCBQ, at least 80 percent of the units at the Howard Beach Apartments will be studio or one-bedroom apartments for low to moderate-income senior citizens over the age of 60, with a preference for current residents of Community Board 10, which is comprised of Howard Beach, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park and Richmond Hill.

Twenty percent of the units will be one to two-bedroom apartments reserved for individuals supported by the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD). These apartments are certified as supervised Individualized Residential Alternatives (IRAs), serving individuals currently residing in a nursing home or seeking to avoid nursing home placement, and/or serving individuals who need an alternative to their current living arrangement.

The apartments will also offer aging parents the opportunity to live in the same location and/or share an apartment with their child, who is an individual supported by OMRDD.

Funding for the development was received by various companies, including JP Morgan Chase, the Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HTFC), which provided $2.1 million in financing and the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA), which gave $4.2 million.

The Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is providing $3.5 million through City Capital Funding and a HOME block grant; and Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (FHLBNY) is also providing a $1.3 million grant.

CCBQ also touts local legislators who helped to move the project along, awarding $3.5 million in discretionary funding. They include City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who provided $1.5 million, as well as Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Council member Eric Ulrich, who each contributed $1 million.

“We are pleased that the project is underway,” said Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, Vicar for Human Services of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The CCPOP Howard Beach Apartments will also include a number of green features and will receive a $150,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Some of the features include Energy Star air conditioning units; a more energy efficient building envelope including exterior and window systems, for 30 percent savings in energy usage, which according to CCBQ, will be passed through to tenants; Energy Star rated or equivalent kitchen appliances and light fixtures; and low-VOC paint, adhesives and sealants for tenant health and comfort.

In addition, plans for the property include a community room that will house an activity center for all seniors, both residents and local community members. Social services will be offered to all residents.

Construction will begin in January 2012, with expected completion by the end of 2014. Development at the CCPOP Howard Beach Apartments will provide 200 full-time temporary construction jobs. Forty-four full-time and 2 new part-time jobs will be retained upon completion of the development.

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