We are so thrilled to welcome home our first Essex Crossing residents at Site 6, a 100% affordable senior building, and the first building to open at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The first residents to have moved into the building at Site 6 (located at 175 Delancey Street) were not only housing lottery winners, but also former residents once displaced by the SPURA project.
Community Investment @ Essex Crossing
Of the 99 apartments for low-income seniors, 50% have priority status for former residents of the SPURA project. The commercial and community space is also quite unique. The commercial space will soon to be home to a new NYU Langone medical center, an urgently needed in the Lower East Side community. Our community partner, Grand Street Settlement, and our project coming online early in 2018 represents our shared commitment to the Lower East Side community, both young and old, and an example of how to support populations who are most vulnerable.
An Aging Population
When it was announced that L+M and partners had won the bid to redevelop the parcels and SPURA land that we now call Essex Crossing, creating affordable housing was always the number one priority. What we were able to accomplish at Site 6 goes beyond our mission to increase affordability for New Yorkers by not only providing senior housing but also by incorporating the a thoughtful space and opportunity for the community.
From a 2014 report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies: “The older adult population has grown tremendously since the first of the baby boomers (born 1946–64) turned 50 in the mid- 1990s. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people of at least that age jumped by 35 million, an increase of 55 percent. With the oldest baby boomers reaching retirement age after 2010, the population aged 65 and over is projected to soar to 73 million by 2030, an increase of 33 million in just two decades. By 2040, the aging baby boomers will also push up the population aged 80 and over to 28 million, more than three times the number in 2000.” The reasons for this growth are mostly attributed to increased longevity, a combination of improved medicine and living through strong economic growth.
The implications for this growth make the housing crisis even more urgent. While the reality of having one-fifth of the population 65 and older by 2030, and knowing that the aging will need care and support, cities have a responsibility to allot housing for those needing affordable space and support.
Within the next 15 years, as the workforce ages and requires more care, certain industries will have to transform to accommodate the demand for medical support, social and supportive networks, as well as hospice and palliative care. In urban centers, the immigrant and minority population, those in most urgent need for housing, are not able to achieve home-ownership like the white population of America. Supporting low-income people, at every stage of life, is possible and as we see at Site 6, can be incorporated into affordable housing developments.
Workforce Development with Long-Term Support
The commercial component of Site 6 is also unique for its consideration of the Lower East Side community at large. Grand Street Settlement, a non-profit organization and long-time partner of L+M, is one of the tenants we are most proud to bring to the Lower East Side.
The organization shares our commitment to local hiring, workforce development and will also be managing an inter-generational community center, open to the public with the express purpose of “supporting older residents of the new development”.
The café, called GrandLo Café will hire from the community and will also be connected to the training kitchen meant to employ those who need it most: low-income locals often not prioritized when new businesses come online throughout New York City. The social venture will feature a new youth job training model and we are very excited to partner with not only the community but local businesses to ensure opportunity for all residents.
Stay tuned for more updates about Site 6 and Grand Street Settlement, who will also be relocating their headquarters to the building in 2018. They have recently launched their Kickstarter campaign and we look forward to sharing more ways to give back and support multiple generations on the Lower East Side through community partnership and social enterprise.