BAYSWATER — The city officially broke ground Thursday on its first housing development for low-income seniors, part of a $350 million program to ensure the city's oldest residents have a home.
The Beach Channel Senior Apartments, at the 34-11 Beach Channel Drive, will create apartments for 154 seniors, including 46 who were formerly homeless, officials said.
The building will offer security for some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday at the groundbreaking.
"What they’ll be leaving behind in many cases is a lot of worries, a lot of challenges, the struggle to make ends meet — which too many seniors in the city face every single day," de Blasio said.
The seven-story building will be constructed by the Arker Companies and will be paid for with $20 million from the city's new $350 million allocation to finance housing for seniors.
It's also the first to use the new Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) Program, which will serve seniors making less than $36,300 a year. It should open in two years, the mayor said.
Placement at Beach Channel Senior Apartments will be through a lottery, but peninsula residents will be given preference for half of the units, the mayor said.
The apartments are necessary around the city but especially in Rockaway, where 30 percent of seniors live below the poverty line, Councilman Donovan Richards said.
In one neighborhood in his district, Arverne, 300 homeowners are in pre-foreclosure — and the majority of them are senior citizens, he said.
"It means our seniors who are surviving on fixed incomes can no longer afford to hold on to their homes," he said.
He dedicated the groundbreaking to a former constituent who had to pack up and move to New Jersey because she could no longer live in Queens.
"We cannot allow the affordable housing crisis to destroy the fabric of this community," Richards said.