Selfhelp starts work on Flushing senior apt. building

RuthAnne Visnauskas, (second from l.) Deputy Commissioner of the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and Stuart Kaplan, (c.) CEO of Selfhelp Community Services, join with other officials in breaking ground on the Selfhelp (K-VII) Associates building in Flushing. Photo courtesy Selfhelp
By Connor Adams Sheets

Selfhelp Community Services broke ground on a new 14-story, 92-unit affordable apartment building for senior citizens in Flushing last week.

Selfhelp (K-VII) Associates will provide housing for more than 100 seniors as well as a 12,207-square-foot, technologically advanced community services facility.

The $26.1 million building, which broke ground April 6, is scheduled to open in January 2013 and will include 36 studios, 55 one-bedroom apartments and a two-bedroom superintendent’s unit.

Eighty percent of the units will be available to seniors earning no more than $33,300 a year for a single person. The remaining 20 percent of the units will be reserved for people earning less than $22,200 for one person.

Selfhelp CEO Stuart Kaplan said the project will further the nonprofit’s mission of providing affordable, quality care.

“For the last 75 years, Selfhelp has been dedicated to improving the quality of life of the elderly and other at-risk populations, and with Selfhelp (K-VII) Associates, we renew our commitment and usher in the next 75 years,” he said.

The building will be built in accordance with the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria with green features, including a waste diversion plan, roofing material that meets Energy Star standards, timers on exterior lighting, recycled content materials and more.

The project will also provide educational tools and training for residents in green issues with the help of a $25,000 Enterprise Green Health Living grant to be run out of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg House (K-V) building.

“For New York’s senior citizens, who often must make due on a fixed income, the decision to pay the rent or pay for medical needs, heat or other necessities is a choice that is all too common,” said RuthAnne Visnauskas, deputy commissioner of the city Department of Housing. “For the seniors who will call Selfhelp (K-VII) home, those difficult choices are a thing of the past.”

Don Capalbi, community liaison for state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), said the project will be beneficial for Flushing.

“Assembly member Meng is a dear friend of Selfhelp and was truly disappointed she couldn’t attend their groundbreaking event,” he said. “The organization is unparalleled in its ability to conceive, finance, construct and manage facilities for the senior members of our community, enabling them to live a full life with dignity.”

Selfhelp (K-VII) Associates was developed under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $8.4 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan, an initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by 2014. So far the plan has funded the construction or preservation of more than 112,000 units of affordable housing citywide.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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