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Southeast Queens leaders break ground on senior affordable housing project in Jamaica

Sep. 20, 2023 By Bill Parry

Speaker Adrienne Adams and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards were all smiles Wednesday as they helped break ground on the Sutphin Senior Residence, a new affordable housing development that will bring 173 units of affordable and supportive housing to seniors in Jamaica.

Developed by Breaking Ground, the 15-story structure at 97-04 Sutphin Blvd. will feature 121 units reserved for adults aged 62 or older and 52 units of permanent supportive housing for adults 55 or older who are experiencing chronic homelessness and have either a serious mental illness or substance use disorder.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Speaker Adrienne Adams. Courtesy of City Council

“Building new affordable and supportive housing is critical to addressing New York’s dire housing crisis and rising homelessness that impacts every community,” Adams said. “Sutphin Senior Housing will deliver safety, stability and important services to hundreds of older New Yorkers and I am incredibly proud to support this project through City Council funding and guidance through the rezoning process to expand its impact. Supportive housing is a key solution to supporting residents who are experiencing chronic homelessness and serious mental illness, so it is crucial that we create even more units that serve New Yorkers.”

A rendering of the Sutphin Senior Residence. Rendering by Secchi Smith for Bernheimer Architecture

She added that “it’s no secret that New York is facing a dire housing crisis which has made our city and state unaffordable for too many families,” a crisis that is compounded by rising homelessness and eviction rates that continue to impact every single community, including southeast Queens.

“We must move with the urgency of now to address our city’s affordable housing crisis, which has a disparate impact on our seniors trying to age with grace in their communities,” Richards said. “The Sutphin Senior Residence is a critical investment in our mission to combat this crisis, and I commend Governor Hochul and all our partners for taking this bold step to address the severe shortage of affordable, supportive senior housing. Our seniors deserve affordable, high-quality housing that also offers the services they need to not just survive but thrive. Today’s groundbreaking delivers exactly that.”

Courtesy of City Council

The governor was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict, but she said a significant state investment is helping to create much-needed affordable housing for older New Yorkers in Queens while providing them with a healthy and comfortable living environment.

“Like many other developments supported by the State, this project meets high standards for energy efficiency as part of our commitment to reducing carbon emissions in the buildings sector, especially in lower-income communities,” Hochul said in a statement. “As we celebrate Climate Week, it is imperative that we continue our work toward reducing the harmful impacts of climate change by incorporating nation-leading standards and building a greener New York for all.”

State Senator Leroy Comrie said he worked with his colleagues and the governor to secure funds for the project in the past budget cycle.

“The groundbreaking of the Sutphin Senior Housing development marks the start of a crucial initiative to bring Queens’ older adult population the safe, accessible and affordable housing they have been needing,” Comrie said. “The Sutphin Senior Housing development will be a welcome addition to my district and I thank the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance for their persistent advocacy to include supportive service accommodations in the final project through their Homeless Housing and Assistance Program.”

Courtesy of City Council

State financing for Sutphin Senior Housing includes $33 million in permanent tax-exempt housing bonds, $53 million in Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and $13 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The New York State Office for Temporary and Disability Assistance is providing $6.7 million through the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program. Other financing includes $14 million through the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Senior Affordable Rental Apartments Program and $3 million in discretionary support from the New York City Council and Queens Borough President.

The development will feature a 15,000-square-foot federally qualified health center operated by the Community Healthcare Network on the ground floor and cellar levels and will offer additional amenities for residents, including free Wi-Fi, a fitness room and outdoor recreation areas.

“We are thrilled to break ground on Sutphin Senior Residence today. Older adults are the fastest growing population in New York, and the fastest growing age demographic falling into homelessness,” Breaking Ground President and CEO Brenda Rosen said. “We are grateful for the leadership of Governor Hochul and the collaboration among New York State and City agencies that make it possible to create new housing, with onsite supports, for our most vulnerable neighbors. And with the co-location of a medical clinic by our great partners at the Community Healthcare Network, this project will bring vital health services for our tenants and a burgeoning downtown Jamaica.”

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