2007-11-07 / Seniors

Schumer Helps Secure $13 M For Pomonok Senior Housing

Housing needs of Flushing seniors got a $13 million shot in the arm last week when United States Senator Charles Schumer announced approval of a federal grant in that amount to provide low-income housing for golden agers in the Pomonok community.

The powerful Democratic lawmaker stated about the grant: "This is terrific news for senior citizens and their families in Queens. With so many seniors living in substandard housing, it is crucial that organizations like Met Council continue to have the funds they need to provide safe, affordable housing for our low income seniors."

The "Met Council" Schumer (D- New York) referred to is the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which will use the funding from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide state-of-the-art housing for low-income elderly in the Pomonok community with on-site support services.

The Met Council had applied to HUD for the grant and Schumer helped by writing a letter to HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson last June urging approval of the grant.

Schumer said the new site (which he did not identify) will feature 78 one-bedroom units for seniors over the age of 62. The veteran lawmaker added that the funding is crucial because older residents of the Pomonok community face "overwhelming obstacles" in their search for affordable housing and suffer from a lack of well-maintained, affordable housing located in areas convenient to needed community resources.

In addition, Schumer said, the Met Council has already developed four successful Section 202 projects, demonstrating its ability to produce safe, quality housing in the communities that need it most.

Schumer explained that the HUD Section 202 program allows for the elderly to live as independently as possible in the community by increasing the supply of rental housing with

the availability of support services.

Under the program, Schumer said, capital advances are made to private non-profit organizations or non-profit consumer cooperatives to build, acquire, and/or rehabilitate rental housing with services in support of elderly persons, including the frail elderly, who are 62 years of age or older.

The capital advance, Schumer explained, is interest-free and does not have to be repaid as long as the housing remains available for very low-income persons for at least 40 years. Project rental assistance is used to cover the difference between the HUD-approved operating cost per unit and tenants' rent.

'RED CROSS READY' TO GET SENIORS PREPARED: The American Red Cross in Greater New York provided preparedness information to hundreds of seniors at two events held by state Senator Frank Padavan last week.

Padavan's Senior Health and Info Expo was held last Thursday, October 25 at the North Flushing Senior Center in College Point and the following day at the Services Now for Adult Persons (SNAP) in Queens Village.

The Red Cross "Red Cross Ready" program provided information on preparedness for emergencies to hundreds of seniors at both events. The programs were conducted by Queens Preparedness Coordinator Yesha Naik and volunteer Victor Esenwa.

The seniors were told to:

•Make up a kit with at least three days of supplies such as water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, radio, batteries, change of clothing, personal hygiene items, medical prescriptions, and a small amount of cash in easy-to-carry evacuation kits for every person in the household.

•Make a plan. Choose two places to meet after a disaster, learn how to get in contact with family members and friends should you become separated, or if phone lines or cellphones are not working and have an out-ofstate contact everyone can use to relay information.

•Be informed. Understand that emergencies can occur, often without warning, so know how to contact local authorities and listen to news reports and follow officially provided instructions.

For more information, call 1-877-RED CROSS (1-877-733-2767), or visit www.nyredcross.org.

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