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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 14, 2010

Eric Bederman 212-863-5176


HDC, HPD, MET COUNCIL CELEBRATE GROUNDBREAKING OF NEW SENIOR HOUSING IN QUEENS

Queens, NY The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC), and Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty celebrated the groundbreaking of Council Towers VI , an eight-story, 78-unit residence for low-income senior citizens on Thursday, October 14. Council Towers VI will be built on 71st Avenue between Kissena and Parsons Boulevards in the Pomonok area of Queens. The project is part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP)a $8.4 billion initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by 2014. To date, the plan has funded the creation or preservation of nearly 108,600 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs.

Elected officials and community leaders, including HPD First Deputy Commissioner Doug Apple, HDC Executive Vice President Richard Froehlich, Congressman Anthony Weiner, State Assemblyman Rory Lancman, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn, NYCHA Chairman John Rhea, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Enterprise Vice President Abby Jo Sigal, and Vice President Federal Home Loan Bank of NY Edwin Bird were also onsite for the celebration.

“This groundbreaking represents an unprecedented partnership between the public and private sectors,” said HUD Regional Administrator Adolfo Carrión. “This is an especially impressive partnership, given the shortage of vacant land large enough for building sorely needed multifamily housing.”

Council Towers VI will provide homes for low-income elderly people who are able to live independently.  It will have 78 one-bedroom units (approximately 540-square-feet), which can each be occupied either by an individual or a couple. Amenities will include a community room and outdoor seating area. The building will have two elevators and other accommodations to enhance safety and security for the elderly residents, such as video intercoms, grab bars, emergency pull-cords, closed-circuit TV cameras, fully accessible entrances and handicapped adaptability. There will also be landscaped open space as well as on-site parking.

“Met Council is proud to be part of the important work of providing affordable housing to seniors in New York City because it is one of the great unmet needs in our nation,” said William Rapfogel, CEO of Met Council. “We are grateful for the help we have received on all levels, whether federal, state or city support.”

The land has been provided by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and this site received funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC), the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York with federal low-income housing tax credits through Enterprise. By working together to provide affordable housing, these agencies are allowing low-income households to empower themselves and to better meet additional basic needs, such as nutrition and healthcare.

“As we continue to grow as a city and region, we will need this kind of collaboration.  In this case, the New York City Housing Authority provided the land, the Met Council accepted NYCHA senior residents, and HUD provided the funding, along with the NYC Housing Development Corporation, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and Enterprise,” added Carrión. “I applaud all the partners whose efforts will guarantee that almost 80 seniors will have good housing and support services to enjoy their golden years.”

The NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC) provided $10.2 million for the construction financing of Council Towers VI.  “HDC has created and preserved approximately 4,852 sustainable senior units in 19 developments across the five boroughs for the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Program,” said Marc Jahr, President of HDC.  “Through our collaborative efforts, this is an example of how we meet the needs of the community.  Even those on a fixed income should be able to experience housing opportunities.  Senior citizens of Council Towers VI will benefit from a full complement of support services.”

“Through a true collaborative effort with our sister agencies, elected officials and with the help of invaluable partners like the Met Council, this state-of-the-art building addresses the growing needs of one of our city’s most vulnerable populations – our low-income seniors,” said HPD First Deputy Commissioner Douglas Apple. “Council Towers VI should serve as a prime example of how aging-in-place affordable housing can be created to provide not only beautiful and affordable new homes, but the comprehensive continuum of services and care that our seniors deserve. This is a place to call home, a place to live and experience life, and an investment by the City of New York that will strengthen this neighborhood for years to come.”

“I want to thank Met Council CEO William Rapfogel for your organization’s enduring leadership and, on behalf of NYCHA’s seniors, express our gratitude for beginning the work that will make this historic new development a reality,” said John B. Rhea, Chairman of NYCHA. “Because HUD, Met Council and our sister agencies HPD and HDC worked together, seniors of NYCHA’s Pomonok Houses will have first preference on a number 19 of the new apartments, with seniors at other NYCHA developments having second preference on a number of set-aside units. We appreciate our partnerships for making this project possible and beneficial to our seniors.”

On-site services include meals-on-wheels, case management, housekeeping assistance, individual and group counseling and social and recreational activities. Off-site services include health care referrals, recreational trips and catered meals. Although the site is well served by mass transit bus lines, traveling by public transportation to and from medical appointments and recreational activities can be difficult for seniors. In view of this, Met Council intends to apply to NYSDOT for a van to transport the elderly to essential appointments and on cultural and recreational outings.

"Aging can be physically and financially burdensome, especially for low-income seniors living on a tight fixed income," said Abby Jo Sigal, Vice President and New York Director, Enterprise Community Partners. "Innovative affordable housing like the Met Council's Council Towers VI, which will provide critical social services, eases the financial and physical burdens of aging. Enterprise is proud to have provided Met Council over $5.8 million in equity to provide affordable homes for Queens' senior residents and enable them to age gracefully.

Met Council is one of New York’s largest human services agencies, providing 100,000 New Yorkers with critical services in their fight against poverty every year.  For 36 years, Met Council has been an advocate and defender for New Yorkers in need, and has raised awareness around the growing problem of Jewish poverty.  With services ranging from domestic violence counseling to kosher food pantries to career training, Met Council helps individuals find lasting solutions to poverty. 

Met Council has been a leader in affordable housing for special needs populations in New York City. By leveraging private and public money, our housing portfolio has grown to 2,000 units under management, in construction or in the development process. Of this total, approximately 1,600 units are for the elderly and 400 units are targeted to the homeless and mentally ill. On-site social services are available for residents at each property. Learn more at www.metcouncil.org.  

About U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): HUD works to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive an sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.

About the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC): The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) provides a variety of financing programs for the creation and preservation of multi-family affordable housing throughout the five boroughs of New York City. In partnership with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, HDC works to implement Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the creation or preservation of 165,000 affordable housing units by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. Since the plan launched in 2004, HDC financed nearly 47,521 homes for low- , moderate- and middle-income New Yorkers. The New York City Housing Development Corporation is rated AA by S&P and Aa2 by Moody’s.

About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA): NYCHA provides decent and affordable housing in a safe and secure living environment for low and  moderate- income residents throughout the five boroughs.  To fulfill this mission, NYCHA must preserve its aging housing stock through timely maintenance and modernization of its developments.  NYCHA also administers a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments.  Simultaneously, we work to enhance the quality of life at NYCHA by offering our residents opportunities to participate in a multitude of community, educational and recreational programs, as well as job readiness and training initiatives.

About the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD): HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. It is responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the construction or preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. Since the plan’s inception, more than 100,000 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hpd.

About Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan: New York City’s affordable housing program to build or preserve 165,000 units of housing — enough to house half a million New Yorkers — is the most ambitious and productive in the nation—creating housing as well as jobs for New Yorkers. In April, 2010 the City reached the critical benchmark of 100,000 units financed—representing an investment of $4.5 billion to date by the City, not including roughly $5 billion in bonds issued by HDC.

Led by HPD Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero, the Plan has been recast to maintain momentum while confronting head on the economic challenges facing the city, the state, the housing industry, the financial sector and individual New Yorkers and their families. In order to fulfill the NHMP goal of 165,000 units, HPD and HDC are responding to market realities and focusing on three primary goals: strengthening neighborhoods, expanding the supply of affordable and sustainable housing and stabilizing families by keeping them in their homes. To read more about the NHMP, please visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/about/plan.html.

About Enterprise: Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. is a leading real estate investment services company for affordable housing and community development. We provide partners with development capital via equity and debt products, and expertise in community development practices. Enterprise is the industry leader in green affordable housing.

About The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (HLB): The HLB increases the availability of mortgages and home finance to families of all income levels by offering high-value finance, correspondent and cash management services to assist our customers in more effectively serving their neighborhoods and meeting their Community Reinvestment Act responsibilities.

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