Rockaway seniors gave thanks early at official ribbon-cutting for new Beach Channel apartments

There was a ribbon-cutting in Far Rockaway for fully affordable senior housing building.
Photo by Gerri Hernandez

Seniors in Far Rockaway will have more than just turkey to enjoy this Thanksgiving now that they have the keys to the Beach Channel Senior Apartments, where there was a ribbon-cutting on Nov. 20.

The Arker Companies, a real estate development firm, provided 154 units that are 100 percent affordable, which is part of a series of investments made on the peninsula by the firm to help revitalize the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“Today, as we welcome 154 seniors into their new, affordable homes here in the Rockaways, we’re grateful to our community who stood with us to empower local seniors to live lives free from the anxiety of rent burden, and to help our neighborhood re-emerge accessible, resilient and economically viable,” said Alex Arker, principal at Arker Companies.

This project located at 34-11 Beach Channel Drive is one of the first projects completed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York $350 million plan to finance affordable housing, especially for low-income seniors, according to a spokesman from The Arker Companies.

The Senior Affordable Rental Apartments are reserving 46 units for formerly homeless seniors, according to the spokesman.

All of the residents will receive Section 8 vouchers, according to NYCHA Interim Chair and CEO Stanley Brezenoff.

“No one will pay more than 30 percent of their income in this new, resilient building, as we preserve affordable housing for our seniors, including those who are formerly homeless,” said Brezenoff.

Seniors making $36,000 are the residents of the apartment, according to Councilman Donovan Richards.

The units are in a green building that was built to withstand future natural disasters, according to the city Housing Development Corporation President Eric Enderlin.

“With the completion of Beach Channel Senior Residences, we are providing more than 150 affordable homes to some of our city’s most vulnerable residents in a resilient, energy-efficient building designed to withstand the impact of future storms,” said Enderlin.

The affordable apartment will have important resources on site, according to state Senator James Sanders.

“The Beach Channel Senior Apartments development is a welcome addition to the Queens’ community because it will provide much-needed affordable housing and a variety of on-site services for 154 seniors and their families,” said Sanders.

The top-of-the-line sustainability designed building which incorporates Enterprise Green Communities standards, an energy-efficient insulation system, low-flow fixtures, and LED lighting in common areas, will have nonprofit services, supportive counseling, supplemental meals, and health care referrals on site, according to the spokesman.

The building, which is equipped with flood-prevention technology, protective floodgates and a generator, also has recreation areas, a computer room with internet access, and a club room for social events, according to the spokesman.

“I once truly didn’t believe that someone like me could find a welcoming home in a community as beautiful as Far Rockaway,” said Benito Vega Gonzalez, a future resident. “I picked up the keys with tears in my eyes. After living in a basement with no furniture, I now have a beautiful apartment where I can invite my grandchildren. I am forever grateful to those who helped make it possible.”