For Immediate Release: April 30, 2018
General Media Contact: hpdmedia@hpd.nyc.gov

 

HPD Commissioner Torres-Springer Rolls Out 'Aging In Place' Pilot Initiative

New HPD-funded rehabilitation projects will be required to offer apartment modifications identified through an enhanced building physical needs assessment and tenant survey to help residents live more comfortably

First modifications under Aging in Place are currently underway in the Bronx

 

NEW YORK, NY – New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer announces the full rollout of ‘Aging in Place’, a new preservation program tool which offers apartment modifications to residents living in buildings under going city financed rehabilitation to increase safety and comfort in the home and reduce the risk of falls.  Improvements may also be made to common areas of the building used by residents, making this program a holistic approach to increasing safety and allowing residents to age in place more comfortably.  Created with collaboration by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the Department for the Aging (DFTA), and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), this initiative is an important anti-displacement tool in the City’s work towards protecting our more vulnerable residents.

“As we push forward on an accelerated and expanded Housing New York, we continue to put our seniors first,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “This newest initiative will help more seniors age in place by making changes to both apartments and common areas in buildings we preserve that will prevent falls, increase visibility and security, and ease the lives of residents. I would like to thank AARP, LiveOn, and the Department for the Aging for their assistance in shaping this initiative and our development partners for working with us to make homes affordable, safe havens for our city's seniors."

The Aging In Place initiative augments existing preservation loan programs by requiring building-wide integrated physical needs assessments, and resident surveys for individual apartment upgrades. All proposed improvements are informed by best practices in aging-in-place literature, and resources from the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA). Including DTFA’s Aging in Place guide for Building Owners.

“Sometimes, all it takes to enable an older New Yorker to stay in their home is a simple modification, the addition of a handrail or a different style of door knob. These small adjustments have the potential to prevent falls and hospitalizations, increase the ease of daily tasks, and extend the number of years that an older adult can live independently in their home,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Donna Corrado. “In recognizing the importance of age-friendly renovations, this ‘Aging in Place’ initiative builds upon the work that the City has done to help older New Yorkers stay in the homes and communities that they helped create.”

“As our city’s senior population continues to expand, so must the resources to ensure these seniors can age-in-place in the communities they helped build,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Aging. “By clearing the way for age-friendly renovations to buildings undergoing City-financed rehabilitation, this initiative promises to be a game changer for older New Yorkers who don’t live in senior housing and require additional support to live comfortably and safely. I thank Commissioner Torres-Springer for taking the next step in the effort to give more seniors a chance to age with dignity in their own homes.”

"This forward-thinking initiative will enable more older New Yorkers to live independently, in the apartments and surroundings where they feel most comfortable," said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Assembly's Housing Committee. "I commend Mayor de Blasio for demonstrating once again the city's ongoing commitment to our seniors and, equally important, giving seniors the ability to remain active and engaged in their communities."

“There’s a growing body of knowledge showing that when seniors can age in their own homes and get the support they need in their own communities, they live longer, fuller, healthier lives,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “That’s why I support innovative, holistic models like the Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities program, and that’s why this new pilot program represents a step in the right direction as well.”

“I commend the City for piloting an initiative to help Brooklyn’s seniors find comfort in their own home. Oftentimes, residential facilities are not meeting the needs of older Brooklynites, particularly those with disabilities, hearing or vision impairments, or mobility issues. Improving physical spaces, adding safety measures, and renovating individual apartments to make them more accessible will empower our older population to ‘age in place’ with dignity into their golden years,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“New Yorkers overwhelming report that they want to stay in their homes as they age, but they need support in order do this in a healthy and safe way,” said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP New York. "We're thrilled to see this initiative from HPD, and especially the collaboration among city agencies, which will help more New Yorkers age in place and avoid costly institutional care at a time when our senior population is exploding."

The first Aging In Place improvements are currently underway at Urban Horizons HDFC, a 132 apartment Bronx development owned and operated by The Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco). In addition to the residential units, the property contains a commercial space occupied by WHEDco with a portion subleased to the Institute for Family Health. After taking the tenant survey, five households opted to receive apartment modifications. Upgrades will also be made to elevators and the intercom system. Exterior lighting fixtures will also be replaced with LED lighting for improved visibility.

“WHEDco was founded 25 years ago to ensure that residents in our communities have access to safe, affordable housing, along with everything else that a family needs in order to achieve stability and thrive,” says Davon Russell, President of WHEDco. “We are grateful to the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development for working with us to ensure that the refinancing of our flagship building in the South Bronx, Urban Horizons, was structured in a way that would allow the rents to remain affordable and lower than the neighborhood average, while facilitating needed building capital improvements that will improve the quality of life for our tenants -40% of whom have been living in our building since it opened in 1997.”

Aging in Place Building-wide Assessments may result in: 

  • Improvements to door hardware in common areas
  • Additional handrails throughout the buildings as needed
  • Safety evaluation of flooring conditions and materials in common areas
  • Evaluation of accessibility in the building intercom systems
  • Accessibility and safety evaluation of mail areas   

Individual Apartment Modifications may include:

  • Installation of grab bars
  • Improved lighting
  • Making kitchen shelving easier  to reach
  • Installation of easy to grip door handles
  • Slip resistant flooring

Aging In Place is one component of the “Seniors First” initiative. In October 2017, Mayor de Blasio announced the “Seniors First” initiative, a three-pronged strategy to better serve seniors by making more homes accessible to seniors and people with disabilities, build new 100% affordable senior homes, and preserve existing senior housing developments. The initiative was launched under the Housing New York 2.0 update. In total, the City doubled its commitment to senior housing over the extended 12-year Housing New York plan, serving 30,000 senior households by 2026.

Learn more about the Aging In Place initiative by visiting nyc.gov/aginginplace.

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The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan which was recently expanded and accelerated through Housing New York 2.0 to complete the initial goal of 200,000 homes two years ahead of schedule—by 2022, and achieve an additional 100,000 homes over the following four years, for a total of 300,000 homes by 2026.  For full details visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.