Mayor Bill de Blasio and Queens officials announced last week the groundbreaking of an affordable housing development for low-income seniors in Far Rockaway. The Beach Channel Senior Apartments, slated for completion in 2017, will be a seven-story mixed use development that will provide homes for 154 low-income seniors, 46 of whom were formerly homeless. This is the first project under the city’s new $350 million program to finance affordable apartments that target seniors, and it’s been designed with safety and resiliency in mind, in anticipation of future storms akin to Hurricane Sandy.

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In a press release about the groundbreaking, the mayor focused on a need to give back to seniors. “Our seniors helped build our neighborhoods through thick and thin, and we are fighting to make sure they can stay in the communities they love. Beach Channel is the first of many projects we’re undertaking to build and protect affordable homes for our seniors, and make sure this remains a city for everyone. We are so grateful to all our partners who helped bring this development forward,” de Blasio said.

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In addition to providing much needed housing, the development will also be designed to withstand the assault of future storms on par with Hurricane Sandy. Beach Channel will have no basement and there will be no residential units on the ground floor – only commercial space, community facility units, and parking. This design helps protect residents in the event of flooding, and the building will also have flood gates to safeguard the essential building systems against rushing water.

Should another flood hit the area, residents will be in a relatively safe place. Too often, in the aftermath of major flooding, isolation, heat, and lack of food (often from spoilage due to power outages) lead to major problems for seniors. At Beach Channel, a standby generator will provide electricity to heat or cool lounge areas where seniors can gather during a flood emergency.

The building will also have a variety of green components suggested by the Enterprise Green Communities building standards. Among them, low-flow fixtures, LED common area lighting, and solar panels for the building will all aid in the energy efficiency of the building. Beach Channel is part of the city’s largest effort to create 200,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years in all five of the city’s boroughs.

+ NYC Housing Plan

Images via NYC Housing