Ground has been broken on the first assisted-living facility specifically built for low-income seniors in the borough.
Traditionally the preserve of seniors with the means to pay market-rate rents, the new facility, that will be under construction for the next 18 months, should level the playing field with a 72-unit facility that replaces an existing building on University Avenue between West Kingsbridge Road and West 192nd Street, said Rita Morgan, director of the Bronx division of Jewish Home Lifecare.
The building will be constructed by JHL from funding it received through a $26 million dollar grant from the state Department of Health. The facility will serve seniors on Medicaid earning less than $9,000 annually. Each senior will have a private room with a bathroom and shower. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held on Thursday, October 27.
“This major grant from the state of New York will materially strengthen the geriatric care infrastructure of the Bronx at a time of heightened need for our elderly population,” said JHL CEO and president Audrey Weiner.
The site on University Avenue is the location of a building being demolished which was previously the home of Hebrew Infants Orphanage that opened over 100-years-ago, and later a senior residence called Kingsbridge House that opened in 1950, said JHL board chair Lynn Oberlander during her remarks. The site will help an underserved population, Morgan said.
“Assisted living is in existence right now all over the country, but in the Bronx most assisted living is for moderate-income seniors who pay between $3,000 to $6,000 a month,” Morgan said. “This is one of the first facilities of its kind in the Bronx that will be Medicaid eligible.”
In attendance during the event were representatives from U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Jose Serrano, and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Making remarks during the ceremony, which was held indoors due to inclement weather, were Assemblyman Jose Rivera, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Councilman Fernando Cabrera.
Below market-rate senior housing like the kind found on the JHC campus is a real blessing considering the economic demographics of the surrounding community, and the fact that it will help seniors on limited fixed incomes, said Community Board 7 district manager Fernando Tirado.
“You always hear about doing more with less, but this project helps those who cannot do any more, with any less,” Tirado said.
©2011 Community News Group