Before a crowd of 300 Queens residents at a special town hall meeting on Oct. 4, Councilman Costa Constantinides and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced that a new affordable housing development for seniors would come to Astoria.
“This is a big win for District 22 senior citizens, who for too long have worried about skyrocketing rents pricing them out of their own neighborhood,” said Constantinides during the meeting at P.S. 171.
Funding for the new development was part of the city’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget, which included $500 million for the Department of Housing and Preservation & Development (HPD) to fund the construction of six senior affordable housing buildings across New York City.
One of the six sites where affordable housing will be created is at a public parking lot located at the corner of 31st Street and Broadway.
“I am glad we were able to share some good news and announced budget victories for Astoria, including the budget allocation for the senior affordable housing development,” said Johnson.
In his January 2018 State of the District address, Constantinides promised to make 500 senior affordable housing units by the end of his term in three years. The new housing unit at 31st Street and Broadway which could potentially create 100 units, brings the councilman one step closer to his goal.
Complaints about a lack of affordable housing units for seniors had been an issue in the neighborhoods with the 22nd Council District, which includes Astoria, Long Island City, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Woodside. About 22,000 seniors in the district are on a waiting list for senior affordable housing units, according to a press release from Constantinides’ office.
“This is one of the biggest needs that we have,” said Richard Khuzami, president of the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association. “I would hate to have to leave the neighborhood that I grew up in because there was no affordable housing.”
Khusami, who attended the town hall meeting last week, said that a major concern with the new development was the potential lack of parking.
“I don’t see why it has to be either one or the other,” said Khuzami, who added that there have been new buildings put into parking spaces before in Astoria without parking being compromised.
“Look at the Hanac building: they built that and also provided parking,” Khuzami said. “There is a way for everybody to come out of this ahead.”