2HOWARD BEACH, Queens—In December, Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation (CCPOP), the affordable housing development division of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens (CCBQ), announced it has closed on $31 million in financing to develop Howard Beach Senior Apartments, which will offer 96 units of affordable housing to seniors and persons with developmental disabilities.
In 2009, CCPOP was chosen by New York State to buy and develop the former Bernard Fineson Developmental Disabilities Senior Office site in Howard Beach, Queens, into low-and moderate-income housing. The rehabilitated project will be made more accessible for seniors, and the beautified grounds will give new life to a highly visible section of Howard Beach. In an area that is experiencing a significant increase in its aging population, this project will help to address the need for quality, affordable and supportive housing for the elderly.
At least 80% 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. 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.
“We believe that everyone deserves an affordable, safe home—housing shouldn’t be a luxury,” says, Robert Siebel, Chief Executive Officer, 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. It is important to note that this project could not have successfully moved forward without the effectual funding package provided by New York State Housing and Community Renewal (HCR), New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA), City Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (FHLBNY), and Morgan Stanley.”
The funding package includes a $14 million construction loan from JPMorgan Chase and $17.5 million in federal and state low-income housing tax credit equity (LIHTC and SLIHC) purchased by Morgan Stanley through syndicator Hudson Housing Capital. Grant awards include $2.1 million in financing from the Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HTFC), and $4.2 million from the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA). The City Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) agency 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.
Local legislators are also key partners, helping to move this project along and awarding $3.5 million in discretionary funding: City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn provided $1.5 million; and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Council member Eric Ulrich each contributed $1 million. Additional supporters of this project are Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), and New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo.
“We are pleased that the project is underway, and we will soon provide affordable housing to seniors and persons with developmental disabilities in Howard Beach,” says Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, Vicar for Human Services, Diocese of Brooklyn. “Most notably, during this time of economic uncertainty, this redevelopment project will create new jobs—providing work opportunities to over 200 individuals.”
“We are extremely grateful to the support of our local legislators—Ms. Betty Braton, Congressman Meeks, City Council Speaker Quinn, Borough President Helen Marshall
and Councilman Eric Ulrich; as well as former Assemblywoman Audrey Pfeiffer, who along with State Senator Joe Addabbo, were instrumental in helping us to negotiate with New York State agencies – and current Assemblyman Phillip Goldfederfor his support of the project. They want to see this happen as much as we do; without their support, this project would not be possible,” says Monsignor LoPinto.
The CCPOP Howard Beach Apartments will include a number of green features and will receive a $150,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). These features include Energy Star air conditioning units; a more energy efficient building envelope including exterior and window systems, for 30% savings in energy usage that 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.