AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMMUNITY FOR SENIORS OPENS IN FAR ROCKAWAY JUST IN TIME FOR HOLIDAYS
‘Beach Channel Senior Apartments’ Includes 154 News Homes with On-Site Social Services for Low-Income Seniors
Development is Part of a Series of Arker Companies Investments to Revitalize the Rockaways after Devastation of Hurricane Sandy
FAR ROCKAWAY, NEW YORK – 154 seniors and their families will get the keys to their very own affordable homes in Far Rockaway just in time for the holidays, thanks to a new development, ‘Beach Channel Senior Apartments’ by The Arker Companies, opened today with a ribbon cutting alongside City Council Member Donovan Richards, HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, Borough President Melinda Katz, additional City officials and the development’s new residents.
The 100% affordable development is bringing online 154 new apartments for low-income seniors in Far Rockaway – 46 of which are reserved for formerly homeless seniors. It is part of the Arker Companies’ broader investment in affordable, resilient housing for the neighborhood.
Beach Channel is one of the first projects completed under the City’s $350 million program to finance affordable housing especially for low-income seniors, launched as part of the Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York plan. The Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) Program will enable the Beach Channel project to serve seniors with little to no income.
“As we push forward on the Mayor's accelerated and expanded Housing New York plan, we continue to put our seniors first,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “With 154 affordable homes and supportive services, Beach Channel Senior Residences marks a milestone as we strive to serve more of our city's seniors while also working towards a stronger, more resilient future for the neighborhood of Edgemere. I want to thank HDC, NYCHA, Borough President Katz, Councilmember Richards, the Arker Companies and all our development partners for bringing this project across the finish line so that today we can welcome the residents to their new home.”
“Today, as we welcome 154 seniors into their new, affordable homes here in the Rockaways, we’re grateful to our community who stood with us to empower local seniors to live lives free from the anxiety of rent burden, and to help our neighborhood re-emerge accessible, resilient and economically viable,” said Alex Arker, Principal at Arker Companies. “We are abidingly grateful to Councilman Richards, Borough President Katz, HPD Commissioner Torres-Springer and our other City partners, who are this neighborhood’s primary cheerleaders. They know the importance of accessible, affordable housing for our city’s seniors and that the moment for a revitalized Rockaways is here.”
“NYCHA is proud to provide the Section 8 vouchers for these 154 seniors and their families in this new building. As the largest Section 8 administrator in the country, this affordable housing program is critical to supporting the City’s vulnerable populations,” said NYCHA Interim Chair and CEO Stanley Brezenoff. “No one will pay more than 30% of their income in this new, resilient building, as we preserve affordable housing for our seniors, including those who are formerly homeless.”
“With the completion of Beach Channel Senior Residences, we are providing more than 150 affordable homes to some of our city’s most vulnerable residents in a resilient, energy-efficient building designed to withstand the impact of future storms,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “As we continue our efforts to revitalize the Rockaways, I would like to thank all our elected officials and partners for working with us to connect seniors to the housing and services they need, all while ensuring the development of stronger, more sustainable communities.”
“As people look to call Queens their home it is more important than ever to create affordable housing for our senior citizens, especially for those seniors who need supportive services,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Beach Channel Senior Apartments, with its 154 apartments for low-income seniors and its wide array of social services to support the health and welfare of its residents, will go a long way toward addressing this critical need. The arrival of this affordable, storm-resilient development in Far Rockaway is something we can all be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday.”
“As Far Rockaway continues its resurgence with greater investment than the community has seen in decades, it is going to be critical that we are investing in the people who have been here building the foundation of our neighborhood, particularly our seniors,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Beach Channel Senior Apartments is exactly the investment we need that provides affordable apartments for seniors making $36,000 or less. We are also filling one of Rockaways greatest needs with a St. John’s Episcopal Hospital healthcare facility on the ground floor, allowing seniors to get day-to-day care right where they live. I’d like to thank the Arker Companies and Commissioner Torres-Springer for their commitment to the betterment of Rockaway residents.”
State Senator James Sanders Jr. said: “The Beach Channel Senior Apartments development is a welcome addition to the Queens community because it will provide much needed affordable housing and a variety of on-site services for 154 seniors and their families. I applaud the Arker Companies for its continued investment in the revitalization of the Rockaways following Hurricane Sandy.”
In addition to safe, affordable housing, Beach Channel Senior Apartments will offer non-profit services for residents, including supportive counseling, supplemental meals and health care referrals. Additional amenities include recreation areas, a computer room with internet access, and a club room for social events.
“I once truly didn’t believe that someone like me could find a welcoming home in a community as beautiful as Far Rockaway,” said Benito Vega Gonzalez, a future resident. “I picked up the keys with tears in my eyes. After living in a basement with no furniture, I now have a beautiful apartment where I can invite my grandchildren. I am forever grateful to those who helped make it possible.”
The building features a top-of-the-line sustainability design which incorporates Enterprise Green Communities standards and includes an energy-efficient insulation system, low-flow fixtures, solar panels, and LED lighting in the common areas. In addition, the building is fully equipped with flood-prevention technology, including protective flood gates and a generator.
The building’s ground floor houses a 9,000-square-foot community facility; half the space is being leased by nearby St. John’s Episcopal Hospital for a medical facility which will include urgent and primary care services.
The construction of Beach Channel was made possible through funding and support from a number of partners. This project was one of the first to receive financing through HPD's SARA program. Through that program, the project received $11.5 million. HDC provided $38.5 million in tax-exempt bonds for the construction financing, which is enhanced by a letter of credit provided by Wells Fargo. HDC also provided $8.47 million in subsidy under the Extremely Low and Low-income Affordability (ELLA) program. The project received a total of $31.3 million in tax credit equity provided by Wells Fargo.
About Arker Companies
Founded in 1949, Arker Companies has created over 7,500 affordable housing units and nearly one million square feet of commercial office space. The company’s other projects include single-family housing developments, medical office buildings, high-rise office towers and landscaped gardens. To learn more, visit www.arkercompanies.com.
About The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan which was recently expanded and accelerated through Housing New York 2.0 to complete the initial goal of 200,000 homes two years ahead of schedule—by 2022, and achieve an additional 100,000 homes over the following four years, for a total of 300,000 homes by 2026. For full details visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.
About The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC)
The New York City Housing Development Corporation (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 2003, HDC has financed more than 150,000 housing units using over $21.2 billion in bonds and other debt obligations, and provided in excess of $1.9 billion in subsidy from corporate reserves. HDC ranks among the nation’s top issuers of mortgage revenue bonds for affordable multi-family housing on Thomson Reuter’s annual list of multi-family bond issuers. In each of the last five consecutive years, HDC’s annual bond issuance has surpassed $1 billion. For additional information, visit: http://www.nychdc.com
About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
NYCHA’s mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. Almost 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 325 public housing developments around the five boroughs, and another 235,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. For more information, visit http://www.nyc.gov/nycha and for regular updates on NYCHA news and services, connect with us via http://www.facebook.com/NYCHA and www.twitter.com/NYCHA.