Construction is starting on more affordable housing for seniors on the East Side of Buffalo.
City and state officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for Westminster Commons, an upcoming 84-unit, low-income senior housing complex on Monroe Street. The new facility will be connected to the existing Westminster Settlement House, which will be converted into a health facility for both Westminster Commons residents and other community members.
The $22.8 million project will be developed by nonprofit Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers Inc. and funded through various state agencies.
“Together we could create community living space for urban seniors who can then stay within their community and have all the amenities, including good, supportive housing that’s adaptable for them, and then their services right on site,” said Ricardo Herrera, executive director of Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers Inc.
The 84 apartments will be for adults 55 and over with households earning at or below 60% of the area median income. Forty apartments will be reserved for seniors with a history of mental illness.
Meanwhile the Westminster Settlement House, constructed in 1893, will be repurposed into a community facility with health-oriented services like a senior adult day care program, medical clinic and pharmacy.
State financing includes federal low-income housing tax credits worth about $14 million and an additional $3 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the state’s public housing authority.
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is providing $3.4 million through the Homeless Housing Assistance Program, while the city of Buffalo is providing $350,000.
The project is part of the state’s five-year plan to invest $20 billion in building or preserving 100,000 units of low-income housing across the state. The state has already invested more than $112 million on Buffalo's East Side to build or preserve 1,200 units of affordable housing units since 2011.
“We talked about the Buffalo Billion and we said right from Day One: It is not just about putting up shiny new buildings or a medical campus or a beautiful waterfront. It is about lifting up the human spirit of everyone in every neighborhood,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. “Our seniors who want to continue to live in the neighborhood ... they deserve to retire among friends and family and to have supportive services.”
The state’s other recent low-income senior housing projects include the $25 million renovation of Piotr Stadnitski Gardens and Riverview Manor, and the $11.6 million construction of People Inc.’s Linwood Lafayette Senior Apartments.
Construction on Westminster Commons is expected to be completed in 2020.