For three years members of Woodlawn stated they did not want senior housing put in their neighborhood, but the developer proceeded and later this month, the housing lottery for it opens.
The project, Woodlawn Senior Living, 63-89 East 233rd, was heavily contested by residents and elected officials, but went forward without a vote, said Community Board 12 District Manager George Torres.
On Jan. 5, Riseboro Community Partnership, a Black run Brooklyn based nonprofit organization spoke to the housing committee of CB 12 about the upcoming lottery.
“This is a site that did not get support from the community board or elected officials,” Torres said. “I’m curious to see who wants to live there.”
Torres noted that even after Riseboro adjusted the plans to include one bedroom apartments and remove the universal pre-k, it was still disliked. People did not feel a school was safe as the housing stretches along several vacant lots on a busy thoroughfare of East 233rd Street, across from Woodlawn Cemetery.
Additionally, Torres feels there are “racial undertones” emitted from the predominant Irish community of Woodlawn.
Many also disapproved of the fact that preference will not be given to CB 12 residents. Torres recalled there were multiple meetings were busloads of people came to protest this project.
“You had these people saying we don’t want them,” he said. “This is a pretty good lesson in irony. This is a project the Woodlawn community was vehemently against.”
The final plans call for 80 units of affordable senior housing, 59 studio units, 20 one bedroom units, 30 percent for formerly homeless seniors, 11 parking spaces and two community rooms.
Supportive services offered include home visits, escorts for medical visits, advocacy, enhanced individualized support and recreational and educational programs.
The housing lottery will begin later this month end in late February and occupancy is expected in May.