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Grand Opening of HANAC’s Environmentally Friendly Affordable Senior Residence in Corona, Queens

By on July 13, 2019

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, City Council Member Francisco Moya, and senior de Blasio administration officials joined HANAC (Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee), Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise), Chase and community stakeholders to celebrate the completion and grand opening of HANAC’s Corona Senior Residence in Corona, Queens. Located at 54-17 101st Street, the newly constructed 8-story development includes a mix of 67 affordable studios and one-bedroom apartments, 21 of which are set aside for formerly homeless seniors. The development will also include an onsite preschool administered by the New York City School Construction Authority that currently serves nearly 60 children.

From left, Evangeline Douris, Chairman of HANAC's Board. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Paola Duran, Director of Housing Development, HANAC, and Stacy Bliagos, Executive Director, HANAC

From left, Evangeline Douris, Chairman of HANAC’s Board. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Paola Duran, Director of Housing Development, HANAC, and Stacy Bliagos, Executive Director, HANAC

Speaking to NEO magazine, HANAC’s co-founder, with her late husband George Douris, and Chairman of the Board Evangeline P. Douris pointed out that “the development has had a significant impact on the community by adding substantially to the affordable housing stock of the Corona neighborhood. The 67 units of affordable housing were built to high quality standards and represent the first new senior housing development in Corona, Queens in over 30 years. The project provides permanent housing for low-income seniors, including 21 units for formerly homeless seniors. Additionally, the project provides 54 slots for Pre-K students in the area. The project sets a new standard of how an affordable housing development can incorporate rigorous sustainable design criteria in a way that reduces energy consumption and increases overall affordability and comfort for tenants and management.

The residence is one of the largest low-income senior housing developments in the nation to meet Passive Housing Institute Design Standards, which cut energy consumption by up to 90 percent, resulting in lower utility bills for tenants and lower operating costs for owners. The building also meets the NYSERDA Multifamily Performance Standards for Energy Star Certification as well as the Enterprise Green Communities criteria.

“Under the Mayor’s Housing New York plan, construction of new senior housing has increased to unprecedented levels. Thanks to dedicated partners like HANAC, 67 extremely low-income seniors now have the security of an affordable home in a supportive community. I want to congratulate our development partners and local elected officials for working with us to provide the high quality affordable housing that our city’s seniors need and deserve,” said HDP Commissioner Louise Carroll.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and HANAC Corona Senior Residents

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and HANAC Corona Senior Residents

“HANAC is extremely proud to develop a unique project for low-income seniors with a pre-k facility on the ground floor and to be Passive House Certified. In addition, social services are provided onsite to our tenants to help them age in place in a stable living environment by achieving high energy efficiency standards through Passive House design,” said Paola Duran, HANAC’s Director of Housing Development. “HANAC applauds all of its partners for making HANAC Corona a reality to serve our older and younger New Yorkers.”

The residence was one of the first properties to receive funding under HPD’s Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) program and offers supportive services to residents through a HANAC Corona Social Worker, who is onsite every day. The Social Worker provides tenants with chronic disease management and prevention education, as well as community-building activities to encourage the formation of informal support networks and decrease social isolation. Residents also have the opportunity to access medical care coordination and mental health assessments. Together, these services prevent avoidable hospitalizations and boost health outcomes for all tenants.

“Now is the time to invest in healthy, affordable housing for seniors who are vulnerable to losing their homes due to rising costs of both rent and medical care,” said Judi Kende, Vice President and New York market leader, Enterprise. “Corona Senior Residence goes beyond housing alone to provide critical supportive services and meet the highest green standards through Passive House Certification. We are proud to play a role in creating these homes and we congratulate HPD and HANAC for bringing these beautiful new homes to Corona.”

From left, Father Nicholas Anctil, Paola Duran, Director of Housing Development, HANAC, Amelia Visnauskas, Project Manager, HANAC, Nikitas Drakotos, HANAC's Board Member, Evangeline Douris, Chairman of HANAC's Board, and Stacy Bliagos, Executive Director, HANAC

From left, Father Nicholas Anctil, Paola Duran, Director of Housing Development, HANAC, Amelia Visnauskas, Project Manager, HANAC, Nikitas Drakotos, HANAC’s Board Member, Evangeline Douris, Chairman of HANAC’s Board, and Stacy Bliagos, Executive Director, HANAC

The $36 million Passive House project was developed out of the Willets Point Community Benefits Agreement. Funding included over $14 million in City subsidy, including $9.7 million from HPD’s SARA Program, $3.6 million in Reso A funding from the City Council and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and $1 million in settlement funds from the New York State Attorney General’s office, Chase and New York City Retirement System (NYCRS) also provided funding for the project. Enterprise syndicated $12.8 million in equity through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. Bruno Frustaci Contracting Inc. as the General Contractor, think! Architecture and Design as the architect, the Association for Energy Affordability (AEA) as sustainability consultant, Goldstein Hall PLLC as counsel, and James Mitchell as housing consultant.

“Affordable housing is critical for our most vulnerable New Yorkers, especially our seniors. I am proud to support an organization that strives to provide community-centered, innovative, energy efficient housing. With a pre-K on the ground floor and additional programs and services, this is precisely the kind of development our borough needs. I am thrilled to join HANAC on this important occasion as we fight to keep Queens affordable for all,” said U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“New York City is struggling with a true crisis in affordable housing,” said New York State Attorney General Letitia James. “Far too many seniors have been forced out of their homes and are struggling to find affordable alternatives. I thank HANAC for their work to provide our seniors with the affordable, quality housing they need and deserve.”

“In a time when there is such a high demand for senior housing across the borough, accommodating seniors at an affordable cost is essential if our neighborhoods are to truly flourish,” commented Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “The innovative, energy-efficient HANAC Corona Senior Residence will provide seniors not only with new and modern homes, including nearly two dozen set aside for those who are formerly homeless, but also with the on-site supportive services necessary to help them age with grace and dignity.”

“The Corona Senior Residence is a phenomenal example of dynamic planning to meet this city’s greatest needs. Not only does it create truly affordable housing for senior New Yorkers, but it does so in an environmentally responsible way while also addressing the city’s need for more childcare centers. There are few endeavors more worthy of our efforts than confronting the housing crisis, climate change and the next generation of New Yorkers. I applaud HANAC for its commitment to meeting these issues head-on and thank the Department of City Planning and all our partners for making this project possible,” said NYC Council Member Francisco Moya.

“Chase is committed to supporting vibrant and diverse communities through affordable housing, including in Queens where access for low-income seniors is vital to sustaining an inclusive community,” said Dave Walsh, Chase’s Northeast Regional Manager for Community Development Banking.

“As we address the citywide challenge of homelessness, innovative affordable housing projects are essential to assisting New Yorkers facing housing instability,” pointed out Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “This building will provide seniors in need with high quality, affordable housing, access to social services, as well as the opportunity to be part of a community within the community. We are proud to collaborate with organizations like HANAC and City Agency partners to improve New Yorkers’ lives through successful initiatives like this one.”

“We are thrilled to have been able to provide a brand new Pre-Kindergarten Center for families in Corona as part of this public-private partnership that benefits children and seniors alike” said Lorraine Grillo, President and Chief Executive Officer of the NYC School Construction Authority. “As part of Mayor de Blasio’s Pre-Kindergarten for All Initiative, District 24 families now have access to a beautiful, modern Pre-Kindergarten facility providing the learning environment for children to grow and thrive.”

Founded in Astoria, Queens in 1972, HANAC, Inc. is a multi-faceted social services and housing organization that provides a broad array of services to immigrants, seniors, families, and youth. In addition to serving over 35,000 New Yorkers annually, HANAC has built and owns 650 units of affordable housing in New York.

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