ASTORIA – New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides announced on March 1 his proposal for the first phase of his plan to build new units of affordable housing for seniors in his council district. He was joined in support by senior advocacy group LiveOn NY, along with services providers HANAC and Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens. Constantinides proposed to convert the Broadway Municipal Parking Field into a residential building for 100% affordable senior housing units.
There are an estimated 20,000 seniors on waiting lists for housing in the 22nd Council District – the highest number in the city and almost double the number in the second-highest district. In light of this urgent need, Constantinides recently proposed to build at least 500 new units of senior affordable housing before the end of his term in office.
The parking field site is over 20,000 square feet large, which could fit approximately 100-150 affordable housing units. The site is located along the medium-density 31st Street corridor, and is less than 100 feet from the Broadway stop on the N/W subway line. There are many nearby supermarkets and local shops.
Converting the site into senior affordable housing would require going through the city’s Unified Land-Use Review Process (ULURP), which includes input from the community and City Council. This change in land-use would conform with the City Council’s Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) agreement passed in 2016 which encourages growth of senior affordable housing.
Constantinides said, “Our city is undergoing an affordable housing crisis, with rents rising and many unable to stay in their neighborhoods. Our senior citizens are perhaps the most vulnerable group in the midst of our affordability crisis. We must make sure that we foster inclusive community development and keep our neighborhood affordable for seniors who want to stay in the neighborhood they call home by actively seeking opportunities to build more affordable housing units. This site is in a bustling area with many transit and local shopping amenities that offer a robust quality of life – a perfect environment to add new units of senior affordable housing. We are only at the beginning of this long process. As we move forward, I will continue to take feedback from community stakeholders and partners in government. Thank you to our senior advocacy partners for your support of this important proposal.”
“LiveOn NY applauds Council Member Constantinides for his dedication to providing affordable senior housing in this community and throughout New York City,” stated Allison Nickerson, Executive Director at LiveOn NY. “Seizing the opportunity to build affordable senior housing is imperative to combat the fact that an estimated 200,000 seniors are currently languishing on waiting lists for such housing throughout New York City, as found by LiveOn’s 2016 research study. Further, we are proud of the city’s increased commitment to produce and preserve affordable housing and are thrilled to support this particular opportunity to make New York a better place to age.”
John Kaiteris, Executive Director of HANAC, said, “Giving seniors the opportunity to afford to live in their neighborhoods creates inclusive communities and addresses our city’s affordability crisis. Astoria is in desperate need of new affordable senior housing units. Councilman Constantinides’ proposal to build these new units in an area near transit and local shopping will improve quality of life for our seniors. Thank you to Councilman Constantinides for his hard work on this proposal.”
“The need for affordable housing for seniors is essential and there are thousands who are already on a waiting list in this district alone,” said Very Reverend Patrick J. Keating, Esq., Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and affiliate agencies. “A safe, affordable home is crucial to providing stability to the most vulnerable seniors in our society, The need for affordable housing in New York City is overwhelming and must be addressed. It is our obligation to do whatever we can do to provide affordable homes for a generation of aging New Yorkers in need who already gave so much to our great City.”
Constantinides drafted a letter to Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alicia Glen last week to outline his proposal.
Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on four additional committees: Parks, Transportation, For-Hire Vehicles, and Land Use, as well as the sub-committee on Zoning and Franchises. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.