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It took several years, but seniors at a housing complex that’s been going through a rough patch may finally be seeing their building turn the corner.
Seniors in the tenant association at Borinquen Court, a 145-unit senior housing development located at 285 E. 138th Street, said they’ve endured over four years of worsening conditions in their building that included intermittent heat in winter, bad plumbing, and a broken fire alarm system under two different management companies.
After working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, they were able to bring in repair dollars from the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing with funding provided through Local Initiatives Support Corporation, as well as ongoing support from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
Since parting with two management companies, tenant association president William Anovegas said, plus months of building management under WSFSSH, the tenants have noticed marked improvement.
“We interviewed six different management companies and chose WSFSSH because we respected them and they gave us honesty,” Anovegas said.
HUD conducted an inspection of 77 of the apartments recently and found many of the violations were cleared, Anovegas said.
WSFSSH plans to start an additional $4 million in upgrades and improvements, mostly renovations to the individual units, especially new appliances in the kitchens, in addition to $5 million of mandated repairs from HUD.
“We walked into the building on the evening of February 28th, and there were issues that required immediate emergency repairs like a gas leak in the boiler and non-functioning egress doors,” Jervis said. “We fixed the gas leak, doors, and a generator for the fire alarm immediately.”
There has been deferred maintenance in the building, which consists of one and two-bedroom apartments, and a lot of renovation is needed, Jervis said.
“The building has a very robust tenant advocacy, and we are being very transparent and doing all of the work.” Jervis said.
LISC NYC is going to continue to work closely with partner organizations and create more success stories like Borinquen Court.
“LISC NYC is pleased to have played a role in WSFSSH’s acquisition and preservation of this elderly housing project,” said LISC NYC managing director Denise Scott. “Because of this deal, 145-units of much-needed affordable housing will be preserved for the Mott Haven community, and the project’s elderly tenants will finally get the quality housing and services they deserve. The preservation of at-risk, federally-assisted housing projects like this one is a high priority for LISC NYC.”
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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