Officials Celebrate Groundbreaking Ceremony for First LGBT-Friendly Affordable Housing Development for Seniors in the Bronx

Financed with State and New York City resources, developed by HELP USA, SAGE, $41.4 Million, 84-Apartment Affordable LGBT-friendly Development Features Supportive Services for Tenants; 26 Units Reserved for Homeless Seniors

New York, NY – New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas broke ground today for Crotona Seniors Residences, the first LGBT-friendly, very-low income senior housing apartment building in The Bronx. Of the 84 apartments, 26 will be reserved for seniors who have been homeless. Any individual who is age- and income-qualified can apply to live in Crotona Senior Residences regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification.

“All seniors deserve the opportunity to thrive in a safe, accessible, and affordable environment. Crotona Senior Residences will create 84 welcoming homes for extremely low-income seniors and provide supportive services while creating a safe space for LGBT men and women,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer.  “I want to thank HELP USA, SAGE, and our partners in government for their collaboration in providing desperately needed affordable housing for our seniors who helped to build this city.”

President & CEO of HELP USA Tom Hameline says, “For 30 years, we’ve worked tirelessly to serve communities who are under-resourced and under-served. We are so proud to stand with SAGE and our partners at the state and city levels, as allies of New York’s LGBT population. A stable home and a supportive community can make all the difference, and we’re happy to provide both with this new development.”

“Crotona Senior Residences will provide crucial housing and supportive services to the many older LGBT New Yorkers who are in desperate need of an affordable place to live.  SAGE is thrilled to break ground on this development with our partners, HELP USA, and all of our supporters,” says SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “Finding welcoming housing is one of the most difficult challenges faced by our LGBT elders. Thanks to this development, many of our pioneers who fought for our rights at Stonewall will now have a place to live and thrive. This development will be more than a building – it will be a community of trailblazers.”

HCR Commissioner Visnauskas said “All New Yorkers deserve a safe, affordable home with the support and companionship that a robust community offers. Crotona Senior Residences will offer all of that while expanding its neighborhood’s diversity and strengthening its economy. We are proud to be working with SAGE and HELP USA to serve the needs of the aging LGBT community – and all seniors – here in the Bronx.”

Under construction in The Bronx’s Tremont neighborhood, the development received financing from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development through its Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) Program under Housing New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative to build or preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026.

The Crotona Senior Residences will have 84 studio and one-bedroom apartments for extremely-low income tenants aged 62 years and older. An on-site SAGE Center, run by the nation’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older adults, will provide health and cultural programs, meals, and a computer center. The SAGE Centers at the sites will be open to both building residents and community members, regardless of sexual orientation. SAGE will also offer social services for residents living in the 26 units targeted to homeless seniors.  Located in the Tremont section of The Bronx, with easy access to public transportation, pharmacies, grocery stores, and public parks, the seven-story building will feature energy efficient construction, including windows, fixtures, and an integrated solar array as well as a rooftop terrace and community garden.

“I sincerely commend HELP USA, SAGE, and all the agencies and organizations that have made the opening of the Crotona Senior Residences possible,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “The first of its kind in the Bronx, the Crotona Senior Residences provides affordable housing and support to LGBT seniors, a population that is often overlooked and under-served in our community. The hard work and contributions of these organizations will go a long way in helping us combat homelessness in our City, particularly within the LGBT community. I look forward to continued success and collaborative work with HELP USA and SAGE in my district.”

“Today, SAGE and HELP USA have once again demonstrated their commitment to seniors and the LGBTQ community with the launch of the first affordable housing development for LGBT seniors in the Crotona Park North section of our district. It is an exciting step forward in advancing housing justice for some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Assemblymember Michael Blake. “LGBT seniors face unique challenges as they are more susceptible to facing housing discrimination, slipping into homelessness and living in isolation. Every New Yorker deserves equal access to safe and affordable housing. As we make great strides in safeguarding civil rights for all, we remain committed to creating open, accepting and inclusive spaces in the Bronx where everyone, regardless of color, creed, religion or sexual orientation, can live and thrive. Living comfortably without discrimination and supporting LGBT seniors is how we continue #BuildingABetterBronx.”

“Creating affordable housing units for our LGBTQ senior citizens is very important to me and to our community,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “It is with great pleasure that I support the development of SAGE / Help USA Senior Housing in The Bronx, and I am proud to have provided $600,000 in capital funding for construction of this worthy project.”

The $41.5 million development received financing from New York State Homes and Community Renewal provided $1.5 million through the Community Investment Fund. New York City’s Department Housing Preservation and Development SARA Program provided $10.2 million, including project-based Section 8 vouchers. The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) is providing $10 million in permanent financing through its funding agreement with the New York City Retirement System (NYCRS). The project benefited from Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. The Office of the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and the Office of New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres contributed $600,000 each.

“For people living on modest means and fixed-incomes, like our many of our senior citizens, paying rent and keeping up with the rising costs of living can seem insurmountable,” said Robert Riggs, Senior Vice President & Regional Director at CPC. “CPC is proud to invest in projects like the Crotona Senior Residences that will not only provide seniors with a truly affordable place to call home, but also a safe, supportive and LGBT-friendly environment. My thanks to HELP USA and Sage, Comptroller Stringer and our funding partners at NYCRS, HCR and HPD, and to our elected officials for their support.”

This project is a continuation of HELP USA’s 30-year commitment to developing affordable housing with targeted services that ensure people remain housed. To date, the agency has developed 15 affordable housing programs across the country – with more than 950 units – which are home to underserved populations including veterans, survivors of domestic violence, people living with HIV, and the formerly homeless. HELP USA’s affordable housing developments can be found in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.

Across the nation, older people have extremely limited options for housing that is both LGBT welcoming and affordable. The Crotona Senior Residences, and the Ingersoll Senior Residences in Brooklyn, are part of SAGE’s National LGBT Elder Housing Initiative. Launched in 2015 to address the housing crisis faced by LGBT elders, the multi-year initiative encourages model inclusive housing like Ingersoll and Crotona, policy advocacy, consumer education, cultural competence training for providers, and technical assistance to communities seeking to address LGBT elder housing issues.

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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 HELP USA
HELP USA is one of the nation’s leading homeless service providers and low-income housing developers, serving at-risk populations including families, veterans, and victims of domestic violence. HELP USA currently serves more than 8,000 people every day at over 50 programs and residences across the country. Founded in 1986, HELP USA has served more than 400,000 men, women, and children and provides over 3,500 units of permanent and transitional housing.  Learn more at www.helpusa.org.

About SAGE
SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates SAGENet, a growing network of affiliates in the United States. Learn more at sageusa.org.

About NYS Homes and Community Renewal 
New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) includes the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others. 2016 marks the fourth year of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion statewide House NY program, whose goal is to create or preserve 14,300 affordable units by 2018. In 2015, HCR set a record for financing the creation or preservation of more than 11,000 affordable homes and apartments and was the #1 bond issuer in the nation with $2.5 billion issued. The agency stands ready to make good on the Governor’s new $10 billion 100,000 unit House NY 2020 commitment. For more information on HCR programs and initiatives, please visit: http://www.nyshcr.org/

About the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC)

Established in 1974, CPC is a nonprofit affordable housing and community revitalization finance company that believes housing is central to transforming underserved neighborhoods into thriving and vibrant communities. The company provides a full suite of capital products through its construction lending, permanent lending, and equity investing platforms. Since inception, CPC has leveraged approximately $10 billion in private and public investment to finance more than 185,000 units of multifamily housing. CPC’s work with its partners has helped revitalize countless neighborhoods and provided quality housing for families, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities. Visit CPC at communityp.com, and on FacebookTwitter  and LinkedIn.