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Holy Family Senior Apartments to open in South Buffalo | Health

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Holy Family Senior Apartments to open in South Buffalo
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A Catholic elementary school that educated generations of South Buffalo residents is about to take on a new life.  Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Holy Family Senior Apartments at 920 Tifft St. were held on Aug. 12. 

Sponsored by the Diocese of Buffalo and developed by Delta Development of Western New York Inc. and Living Communities LLC, the three-story, nearly 50,000-square-foot building will feature 35 units of affordable low and moderate income senior rental housing for individuals 55 and older.  There will be 31 one-bedroom and five two-bedroom apartments.  Six of the units will be designated for the frail elderly.  The accessible units will include enhancement equipment for both the hearing and visually impaired resident.

Catholic Charities of Buffalo will be one of the lead agencies to provide support services to the residents.  The South Buffalo Food Pantry, operated by Catholic Charities, will operate out of the complex.  In 2009, the pantry served an average 465 households per month, or an average of 1,257 individuals per month.  About half of those served were children.

“I am extremely grateful to all of the funders, both government and private sector, who have recognized the importance of this project,” said Bishop Edward U. Kmiec.  “The Holy Family Senior Apartments will meet a number of needs in South Buffalo, leading to a stronger, more stable neighborhood.  This project is part of the Church’s commitment to find positive re-uses for parish properties that will have a lasting, positive impact on the community.”

Buffalo Congressman Brian Higgins was among a number of government officials on hand for the groundbreaking. “Ninety-five years ago Holy Family School first opened at this corner and became a warm and welcoming site bustling with activities for families,” he said.  “Today, with the construction of this new affordable senior living center we continue the tradition of providing South Buffalo residents and families a pleasant and convenient place to call home.” 

Funding and Project Information

Funding for the project is being provided by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program and the New York State Housing Trust Fund, M&T Bank (investor), Community Preservation Corporation (construction financing), City of Buffalo, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York members First Niagara and M&T Bank, and New York State Urban Initiatives.  The University at Buffalo Law School Affordable Housing Clinic is serving as a consultant. 

Brian Lawlor, commissioner of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal and president/CEO of nyhomes, said, “It takes a variety of resources and strong partnerships to create and preserve affordable housing, and several of the state’s programs were called upon to help finance Holy Family Senior Apartments. 

“Now, with the recent integration of New York’s main housing agencies, all of the State’s programs will join under one roof and make it easier and more efficient to continue to address housing and community revitalization needs across the state. I commend the Diocese of Buffalo, Delta Development and Living Communities for their efforts to preserve local history and create a safe, quality place for seniors to call home. And I thank CPC, the city of Buffalo, and all the partners who helped make this development possible.” 

“I’m pleased that my administration was able to contribute $900,000 in HOME funds to help move this project forward and thus help it gain the necessary additional funding it needed,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “This project is an example of the success we can achieve by working collaboratively toward the common goal of providing decent, affordable and safe housing for our city’s senior residents.”

Silvestri Architects PC will serve as architect; the contractor is Christa Construction and the engineer is Erdman Anthony & Associates Inc.

Holy Family will serve elderly housing needs in a South Buffalo neighborhood that is a member of the Good Neighbor Planning Alliance, one of 11 areas designated in Buffalo’s Comprehensive Plan. 

About Holy Family Senior Apartments

The design calls for a new front portico and an outdoor covered patio as well as community and resident lounge areas throughout the building.  The apartments will have an emergency call response system, smoke alarms, full bathrooms, living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens with Energy Star appliances   The building will have a locked security entrance, indoor mailroom, resident storage, laundry facilities, and fire and safety alarm systems.  Adequate parking will be available for the residents.

“This groundbreaking at Holy Family is another example of a positive, tangible improvement to the South Park-Tifft Street neighborhood,” said Senator William Stachowski of Lake View.  “I am pleased to have played a small part in securing some of the funds to help revitalize the area, and turn the former elementary school into beautiful, modern, and most importantly affordable senior housing.  Combined with the State funds I was able to secure for the beautification of South Park Avenue, this area is beginning a resurgence, which will transform the neighborhood for generations to come.”

Assemblyman Mark Schroeder of South Buffalo added, "South Buffalo has an aging population and is in dire need of senior housing like this.  The Holy Family School is an ideal fit for the neighborhood's seniors, some of whom had attended the school as children.  This project will allow many lifelong South Buffalo residents to remain close to their friends and family, and still find housing that meets their needs as they enjoy their golden years."

Design of the building incorporates the Green Build Initiative Design Requirements focused on providing an attractive, comfortable, safe environment for elderly residents.

All windows will be energy efficient; central heating and air conditioning has been designed to provide a 30 percent more energy efficient building, supporting both state and city initiatives for energy efficiencies in both new construction and rehabilitation projects. 

"The Holy Family Senior Housing Reconstruction is a transformational project that will create affordable senior housing in our community, serving a critical and growing need of our senior population, while also complementing the South Park Revitalization Initiative that is currently in full swing,” stated Erie County Legislator Tim Kennedy of Buffalo, who has been an active and involved participant with Delta Development over the past four years. “This public sector investment, which has spurred the rehabilitation of a beloved elementary school, will strengthen our community and enhance the quality of life for everyone. This project will allow senior citizens to remain in the area where they grew up and raised families, enhancing their quality of life, and it will also create new job opportunities for the community.”

In addition to central air conditioning, residents will also benefit from a secured entrance, state-of-the-art fire system, an emergency call system monitored 24/7 and high-speed internet access with an IT station in the planned community room.  Cable television will be available to all units.  A bulk cable contract will be executed to provide tenants with a 50 percent discount in cable fees.    

“The majority of applications for senior projects are drawn from the neighborhood surrounding the senior project,” said Bernadette Harlan, executive director of Delta Development.  “Applicants indicate that they want affordable housing in their neighborhoods as much as they want a place to worship, convenient access to stores and other amenities that allow them to enjoy the fabric that makes up their lives.” 

South District Council Member Mickey Kearns applauded the effort. “The Holy Family Senior Housing Project will give seniors the opportunity to continue living in a safe, comfortable age-friendly community.”


A lottery will be held so all applicants responding will have a fair and equitable opportunity to qualify for the 35 units.  Arrangements have been made with the Rental Assistance Center, the City of Buffalo Section 8 Administrator, and Belmont Shelter, Erie County PHA Administrator, to include the Holy Family Senior Apartments in their referral list given to individuals currently waitlisted for subsidized housing.  

Built in 1915, Holy Family School had a peak enrollment of 1,350 students in 1971.  Due to declining enrollment, the school closed in 2004.

Construction is scheduled to be completed early next summer with the first residents expected to take up residence in July 2011.

Delta Development of Western New York Inc. is a private not-for-profit housing development and management company founded in 1988. The organization's service area encompasses the
eight-county region contained within the Diocese of Buffalo.

Living Communities LLC is an innovative developer of active adult and senior housing products which specializes in meeting the diverse needs and interests of their clients. Living Communities works with clients to find or design a niche so that something unique and special can be created for prospective customers or clients in the community.

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