Weinberg Foundation grantee Breaking Ground recently completed the construction of its latest housing development—The Betances Residence. This $100 million project creates 152 units of affordable and supportive housing for low-income older adults in the Bronx, New York City. Of those units, 30 percent are set aside for adults ages 55 and older who are experiencing homelessness. People 55 and older who experience homelessness are considered to be “older adults” because their health conditions tend to be similar to those who are 65 and older.
The new development features a 24-hour attended entrance hall, security systems, a laundry room, digital library and computer lab, multipurpose room for events and programming, and landscaped courtyard and roof spaces. Onsite social services will be offered to all residents in the building by the Center for Urban Community Services, Breaking Ground’s long-standing partner. A unique feature of this project is that it is built on vacant land within the Betances public housing complex, and 26 units have a preference for older adults who are New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents, allowing them to age in the community while freeing up larger NYCHA apartments for families.
Older adults are the fastest growing population of people experiencing homelessness. Last year, more than 45 percent of people served by Breaking Ground’s transitional housing programs—nearly all of whom have a history of chronic homelessness—were over the age of 55. And within the organization’s permanent housing portfolio, nearly 30 percent of all residents are age 62 or older. The agency established its Aging Services Team in 2018 to address the specialized needs of older adults living in permanent supportive housing.
The Weinberg Foundation partnered with Breaking Ground to close a funding gap on this project with a $1,500,000 grant and is interested in continuing to support projects that serve this particularly vulnerable population.