Earlier this year, NewCourtland Senior Services, a nonprofit provider of healthcare, affordable housing and supportive services for low-income seniors in Philadelphia, opened its newest LIFE (Living Independently for Elders) Center while also breaking ground on a new, 60-unit affordable senior housing complex next door.
Located at 1900 W. Allegheny Avenue in North Philadelphia, the LIFE Center and proposed seven-story apartment complex anchor the 5.5-acre Allegheny Senior Community and embody NewCourtland Senior Services' commitment to combining affordable senior housing with supportive services wherever possible and appropriate.
NewCourtland LIFE is a comprehensive program that is committed to keeping low-income seniors who are 55 and older as independent as possible, for as long as possible, in the place they call home by providing high-quality healthcare with supportive services.
The Apartments at Allegheny, slated to open in 2015, will offer 60 spacious and modern one-bedroom apartments for low-income seniors age 62 and older. Preference will be given to those applicants in need of supportive services, such as the LIFE program.
Plans for the campus include an additional 45 affordable senior housing units, as well as a new 8,000 square-foot senior center on the ground floor of the new apartment building.
Situated at the site of a former suit factory that closed in 1991, the Allegheny Senior Community is located in a neighborhood with one of the cityâs densest populations of low-income elderly residents.
âResidents of this community lived with what was basically a blighted site for all those years until NewCourtland began building the LIFE Center,â said 8th District Councilwoman Cindy Bass. âThe people who work here at Allegheny and who eventually will live here are creating new life for this block and this community.â
Since ground was broken in October 2012, 115 individuals have helped construct and staff the 15,659 square-foot LIFE Center, which opened its doors in December 2013. Today, the Center serves more than 200 seniors on a weekly basis by providing a wide-range of services including: primary care, specialty care, physical, occupational and speech therapy, meals, transportation, activities, and more.
Following completion of the two new housing properties and new senior center, the campus is expected house over 100 seniors and will serve more than 500 older Philadelphians every week.
Funding for the $5.6 million LIFE Center came from NewCourtland as well as the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and PNC Bank and $1 million through Pennsylvaniaâs Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.
A number of funders are also helping to finance the apartments, including the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Housing Authority, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and PNC Bank.
For low-income seniors, the lack of affordable housing and the fractured nature of the healthcare delivery system are two key factors in unwanted institutional placements, such as nursing homes. Therefore, by linking quality affordable housing with supportive services such as LIFE and a senior center all on one campus, NewCourtland Senior Services is providing an innovative and efficient way for Philadelphia seniors to avoid institutionalization, while aging safely and affordably in the place they call home.
As NewCourtland Senior Services continues to blend housing with healthcare delivery, it is important to be mindful that independent living facilities, such as the Apartments at Allegheny, are much different than assisted living facilities or nursing homes and should not be operated as such.
With that being said, it is still vitally important to explore new models of customized affordable senior housing which promote independence and work to include loved ones and housing staff into the residentâs care model.