May 30, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
Queens politicians cut the ribbon for an 8 story, 67-unit building in Corona Wednesday that provides low income seniors, including a number of formerly homeless seniors, with housing.
The building, located at 54-17 101 St., contains 61 one-bedroom apartments and six studio apartments, of which 21 have been reserved for formerly homeless seniors. The complex, an energy-efficient building called The HANAC Corona Senior Residence, is already fully occupied.
The current occupants are 62 years of age or older and have a maximum income of 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) which translates to between $40,000 and $50,000 annually.
The tenants, who were either chosen randomly via lottery or referred by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) from homeless shelters, pay a maximum of 30 percent of their income on rent. The remainder is covered by NYC’s Section 8 Voucher program that provides rent assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income residents.
The 58,000 square foot building includes a 5,000 square foot Pre-K, which opened in September 2018 on the ground floor and currently serves 60 children in the district.
Other amenities include a 3,000 square foot backyard with tables, chairs, and a vegetable garden for seniors, a fifth floor terrace used as a community space for seniors, and a natural play area for children.
Several elected officials attended Wednesday’s ribbon cutting such as Borough President Melinda Katz and Congress Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The development is named after the Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee, which worked on the building along with the nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners.
The building is the first affordable senior housing development in the United States to be environmentally sustainable enough to meet the Passive House Institute design standards.
The building saves up to 90 percent on electricity, according to HANAC’s Director of Housing Development, Paola Duran, who says that the complex is built to be airtight and kept at 68 degrees year round so extra heaters or air conditioners are unnecessary.
Duran said there were 35,000 applicants for the 67 available apartments, which demonstrates the need for affordable senior housing.
“Queens has a high concentration of seniors that need housing. This project really benefits the community by providing some of that housing, using a building that makes a statement for green infrastructure and long term sustainability,” Duran said.
This approximately $35 million project was partially funded with a $12.8 million Low-Income Housing Tax Credit subsidy, along with city funds allocated by former Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and the borough president.
Other sources of funding came from Human Resources Administration, HPD’s Senior Affordability Rental Apartment Program, and nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners.