pr_09-23-2014

HPD Commissioner Been And HDC President Rodney Join Selfhelp, Enterprise, Chase And Partners To Celebrate The Opening Of A New Technology Enhanced Senior Residence In Flushing, Queens

Selfhelp K-VII Offers Technology-Enhanced Services in Addition to 92 Units of Affordable Senior Housing

 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - FLUSHING, N.Y. - New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been and New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Gary Rodney joined Selfhelp Community Services President of the Board of Directors Raymond V.J. Schrag and CEO Stuart C. Kaplan, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (Enterprise), JP Morgan Chase and partners to celebrate the ceremonial opening of Selfhelp K-VII, a 92 unit affordable senior housing residence located at 137-39 45th Avenue in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. The 14-story new development features a groundbreaking Virtual Senior Center (VSC) program and the 9,000-square-foot federally qualified Charles B. Wang Health and Wellness Center which is being built in conjunction with Selfhelp K-VII to bring much-needed medical services to the area. The wellness center is scheduled to open next year. The development’s programs promote general health and wellness as well as assists homebound seniors and other community members in overcoming social isolation.

“It is a goal of this Administration to increase the amount of affordable, supportive housing that recognizes the unique needs of our growing senior citizen population,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “As one of our most vulnerable populations, senior citizens are often faced with living on a fixed income while expenses like housing, medical care and other necessities continue to increase.  Selfhelp has been a valued partner in delivering high-quality housing that provides access to a continuum of services that allow their tenants to age in place with dignity. I’d like to thank HDC, Selfhelp, Enterprise, JP Morgan Chase, and all of our partners for their commitment to making New York a more livable city for our senior citizens.”

“This new Selfhelp development is built to serve the needs of our growing population of seniors, a key goal of the Mayor’s Housing New York plan,” said HDC President Gary Rodney.  “Advanced age and limited income should not constrain the quality of life. Selfhelp understands this and they have put a lot of thought and care put into the design and function of this building. The community it fosters reaches beyond these walls: through the Virtual Senior Center,  the tenants—whether they are mobile or homebound—can travel virtually into some of our most prominent cultural organizations, take classes or visit with family and friends. I thank our great HDC team and all our partners on the development, financial, and social services side for providing this housing and the amenities people need to continue to grow and thrive, no matter what their age.”

“Today’s event is a wonderful celebration of the completion of our 9th affordable housing building”, remarked Raymond V.J. Schrag, President of the Board of Directors of Selfhelp Community Services.  “This fully occupied and technology advanced project marks the final structure on lands we acquired in the late 1950s upon which we originally built the first two rental buildings through the Mitchell-Lama program.  We are thrilled to be here with our project development partners to see our vision completed.”

“This project gave Selfhelp the opportunity to incorporate the most up to date technology in the design of this building”, stated Stuart C. Kaplan, CEO of Selfhelp Community Services. “We pioneered significant advances in the monitoring and social integration of our residents with their surroundings and their neighbors while additionally making all the units computer-ready, provided for the ability to hook up sensors that monitor ADLs, integrated energy efficient lighting systems and constructed roll-in showers in each apartment.  Additionally, Selfhelp’s full panoply of services, which is the hallmark of a Selfhelp building, already exist and are available to the residents of this building as well.”  

Selfhelp is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to enabling the elderly and other at-risk populations to live in their own homes, independently and with dignity. Selfhelp K-VII features computer-ready units, available Activity of Daily Living (ADL) monitors, energy-efficient systems, and easily accessible roll-in showers. A social worker based in the building is available to assist residents in fully utilizing the wide range of technology available to them. In addition, the community room is equipped with video chat-enabled computer work stations, cognitive strengthening units, exercise equipment, and health screening kiosks.

“I want to congratulate Selfhelp and their partners on the opening of this beautiful new facility,” said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing). “Our city has a critical need for more affordable housing, especially for senior citizens, and I applaud this partnership of public, private and non-profit organizations for finding innovative, modern and energy-efficient ways to address the crisis. Selphelp has been serving the community for over 75 years as a full-service agency to promote the health and wellbeing of seniors in our community. I am pleased to welcome this new facility to Flushing and hope to attend many more grand openings in the future.”

Residents of the new development will also enjoy the use of Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center (VSC). The VSC is an interactive technologically advanced tool that enhances the lives of homebound seniors. The technology has enabled homebound seniors to participate in live events and discussions from the Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art, New York Historical Society, and the New York Hall of Science. Residents may also participate in weekly wellness classes, courses on self-esteem, managing finances, computer skills, support groups and current events discussions. The technology can also connect seniors with friends and relatives. In 2010, Selfhelp Community Services, Inc. launched the Virtual Senior Center program with the support of the New York City Department for the Aging, New York City Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications and Microsoft as a mechanism to connect with and engage socially isolated, vulnerable, homebound elderly.

In addition to being a technology-enabled building, the development incorporates leading energy efficient and sustainable features: a waste management plan that diverts at least 25% of debris from the landfill; roofing material that meets Energy Star standards; motion-sensor lighting in all areas with low or intermittent occupancy; timers on exterior lighting; and recycled content materials, such as acoustic tile, ceramic tile, and drywall. The development’s design not only exceeds the NYS Energy Code by 23%, but also upholds the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, the first national framework for creating and preserving green affordable housing.

“Enterprise believes that even the most vulnerable seniors should be able to live independently in quality housing, and we couldn’t have asked for a partner more committed to green design and innovative social services than Selfhelp,” said Judi Kende, vice president and New York Market Leader, Enterprise. “Selfhelp (K-VII) Associates successfully demonstrates how sustainable technology can help its residents participate in various social activities without having to leave their homes, and we congratulate our partners at Selfhelp, HPD, HDC, and Chase for pioneering an effort to modernize the way seniors interact with their communities.”  

Selfhelp was one of six recipients of a $25,000 Enterprise Green Health Living grant designed to support educational tools and training that reinforce resident engagement in green operations and maintenance of affordable housing. Selfhelp used this grant to successfully run a pilot program out of its Harry and Jeanette Weinberg House (K-V) building to foster green and healthy living among the residents.

With a total development cost of $26.1 million, Selfhelp K-VII received fixed-rate tax-exempt bonds issued by HDC under its Low-Income Affordable Marketplace Program (LAMP), with credit enhancement provided by JPMorgan Chase during construction. These tax-exempt bonds were used to finance the $13 million senior mortgage and provide a $5.98 million second subordinate loan funded through the Corporation’s reserves. HPD contributed $2.3 million in City Capital funding, $1.5 million in HOME funds, and an additional $400,000 in City Capital funding allocated by the City Council. Enterprise provided $8.6 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity sourced by JP Morgan Chase.

“Helping provide low-and moderate-income communities with the services they need to thrive is core to how JPMorgan Chase does business.” said Dave Walsh, Chase Northeast Division Manager for Community Development Banking. “We’re committed to strengthening the communities in which we operate.”

The building includes 92 units of affordable housing that were filled via housing lottery with a requirement that one member of the household be age 62 or older. Eighty percent of the units were made affordable to seniors earning less than 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), or no more than $23,240 annually for an individual or $26,560 for a household of two. The remaining 20 percent of the units were reserved for seniors earning less than 40 percent of AMI, or no more than $34,860 annually for an individual or $39,840 for a household of two.

Selfhelp K-VII is also in close proximity to five other Selfhelp residences on two campuses, which together contain 420 affordable housing rental units for seniors.

The New York City 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. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan to build and preserve 200,000 affordable units for New Yorkers at the very lowest incomes to those in the middle class. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/nychpd  and www.twitter.com/nychousing.

About the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC):

HDC is the nation’s largest municipal Housing Finance Agency and is charged with helping to finance the creation or preservation of affordable housing under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York plan.  Since 2000, HDC has issued roughly 10% of all the multi-family housing revenue bonds in the U.S. and since 2003 HDC has financed 122,513 housing units using over $13.7 billion in bonds, and provided in excess of $1.5 billion in subsidy from corporate reserves. HDC is the #1 issuer in the nation of mortgage revenue bonds for affordable multi-family housing in eight of the last ten years (2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, & 2004). HDC bonds are rated Aa2/AA+ by Moody's and S&P.  In Affordable Housing Finance magazine’s annual listing of the nation’s top ten funders of multi-family housing, HDC is the only municipal entity on the list. In 2013, HDC was the third largest affordable housing lender in the U.S. after Citi and Wells Fargo, beating out Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Capital One. Multi-family buildings financed by HDC contain more than 1.7 million square feet of commercial space. For additional information, visit: www.nychdc.com .  

Selfhelp Community Services:

Selfhelp is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to maintaining the independence and dignity of seniors and at-risk populations through a spectrum of housing, home health care and social services and will lead in applying new methods and techniques to address the changing needs of its communities.  Selfhelp will continue to serve as the "last surviving relative" to its historic constituency, victims of Nazi persecution.  More information is available on our website: www.selfhelp.net.

Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.:

Enterprise works with partners nationwide to build opportunity. We create and advocate for affordable homes in thriving communities linked to jobs, good schools, health care and transportation. We lend funds, finance development and manage and build affordable housing, while shaping new strategies, solutions and policy. Over more than 30 years, Enterprise has created nearly 320,000 homes, invested $16 billion and touched millions of lives. Join us at www.EnterpriseCommunity.com or www.EnterpriseCommunity.org

Since opening our New York office in 1987, Enterprise has created or preserved more than 49,000 affordable homes and has committed over $2.9 billion in equity, grants, and loans to community development projects across the city.