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Photo courtesy of Councilman Costa Constantinides
Photo courtesy of Councilman Costa Constantinides
Councilman Costa Constantinides is proposing that the city build an affordable housing complex on 31st Street in Astoria.

With an estimated 20,000 seniors on waiting lists for housing in his district, Councilman Costa Constantinides announced his plan to build an affordable housing development to help “older New Yorkers age with dignity.”

Constantinides announced on March 1 that he would ask the city to build housing on a municipal parking lot 31-07 31st St. to accommodate 100 to 150 units. Council District 22, which encompasses Astoria and parts of Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Woodside features the highest number of seniors on affordable senior housing lists in the city.

In total, the councilman wants to build at least 500 units of affordable housing before his term is up in 2021.

“Our city is undergoing an affordable housing crisis, with rents rising and many unable to stay in their neighborhoods,” he said. “Our senior citizens are perhaps the most vulnerable group in the midst of our affordability crisis. We must make sure that we foster inclusive community development and keep our neighborhood affordable for seniors who want to stay in the neighborhood they call home by actively seeking opportunities to build more affordable housing units.”

The site, which is more than 20,000 square feet, would need to go through a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), where input would be gathered from the local Community Board, City Council, Borough President and City Planning.

In a letter to Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for Housing and Economic Development, the councilman argued that the site’s proximity to public transportation, a supermarket and local shops, make it a desirable place for the neighborhood’s seniors.

“Its proximity to mass transit and local shopping offers seniors the unique chance to live in an environment with many opportunities for socialization – a critical component to mental and physical health as we age,” he wrote in the letter.

The proposal received support from other community groups like the Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee (HANAC), which operates the HANAC Corona Senior residence at 54-17 101st St., LiveOn NY and Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens.

“Giving seniors the opportunity to afford to live in their neighborhoods creates inclusive communities and addresses our city’s affordability crisis,” said John Kaiteris, executive director of HANAC. “Astoria is in desperate need of new affordable senior housing units. Councilman Constantinides’ proposal to build these new units in an area near transit and local shopping will improve quality of life for our seniors.”

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