Photo courtesy HANAC
Officials break ground for the Corona Senior Residence, a new structure that will be the the neighborhood’s first affordable housing site in more than 30 years.
By Bill Parry

Corona’s first affordable housing site in more than three decades will rise in place of a longtime community garden. Officials broke ground Tuesday on the $35 million HANAC’s Corona Senior Residence, located at 54-17 101st St., near Chrystie Avenue, the former home of the relocated Sparrows Nest garden which was moved to a nearby corner.

When it opens in the spring of 2018, all 68 apartments will be affordable, with 21 units reserved for vulnerable seniors. Construction of the development was financed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: a five-borough, ten-year plan which aims to finance the creation and preservation of 200,000 affordable homes.

“HANAC’s new development will not only provide new safe homes, it will be built to passive house standards, which means our seniors will have a safe, affordable, energy-efficient and healthy place to live,” city Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been said.”

The residence is part of the Willets Point development project’s community benefits agreement brokered by City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland in 2013. HANAC, or the Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee, is a nonprofit citywide organization that serves nearly 25,000 community residents annually.

“I am proud to join HANAC and all of our partners to bring affordable senior housing to our community. Too many seniors pay too much of their income in rent, and we must work to address this problem across our district and our city,” Ferreras-Copeland said. “That was my vision while negotiating the Willets Point agreement, and it continues to drive my work today. This development will be a model, with energy-efficient design and staff to provide seniors with the support services they need for decades to come. Our community deserves nothing less.”

More than 34,000 seniors in Queens are currently on waiting lists for affordable housing, officials say.

“In a borough where 31 percent of residents pay 50 percent or more of their income on rent, more work is needed to keep Queens affordable, especially for the most vulnerable populations,” HANAC Executive Director John Kaiteris said. “The new Passive House Design Standard-certified Corona Senior Residence will not only provide Queens seniors with healthy homes, but also offer on-site supportive services to help them age in place in a stable living environment.”

In addition, the residence will include space for a preschool on the ground floor to be built by the School Construction Authority and it will feature a rear yard with a vegetable garden, seating and tables for residents, and a children’s natural play area.

“In short, the Corona Senior Residence is a model development that will set the standard for future efforts to provide affordable and supportive senior housing in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner,” Borough President Melinda Katz said.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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