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Ribbon Cut at Somers Affordable Housing Complex

SOMERS, N.Y. - The Mews at Baldwin Place , a 72-unit affordable housing project, was officially opened on Friday, November 18, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site.

County Executive Rob Astorino said, “These new rental apartments will offer safe, affordable homes and provide services for senior citizens. Residents can take full advantage of the convenience of walking to shopping and transportation, features that will assist them to live independently.”

Astorino also pointed out that the construction of the project bolstered the local economy by providing nearly 200 jobs for local building trades and others. “Projects like this don’t happen without the involvement and financial help of many public and private groups.” The co-developers were Kearney Realty and the Housing Action Council.

In this particular case, according to a Westchester County press release, the county subsidized $3,750,000 of the construction costs. Tax credits from the state were also applied.

In order to qualify, applicants must be over 62, with a household income ranging from 30% to 60% of the county’s median income. This can be interpreted as $22,400 to $44,760 for a single individual and $25,600 to $51,120 for a couple.

In 2009, Westchester County entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to settle a housing discrimination lawsuit. Under the plan, Westchester agreed to build 750 units of affordable housing in 31 communities.

Vicky Shkreli was at the site on Friday to celebrate with her parents, who are new tenants. “They were in the Bronx in an unsafe area,” she said. “It’s been a struggle for them all these years. They love it here. They don’t drive. And the stores are right here for them. I live in Carmel, my brother’s in Mahopac. It’s made our family complete.”

Another tenant, Lenora Martinez, who looks 15 years younger than her age, said, “I am thrilled! It’s gorgeous. The way it’s situated, and the landscaping -- beautiful.”

Yolanda Hargraves was so happy to be moving in that she delivered a prepared speech. Afterwards she said, “I lived all my life in the city. I’ve met so many nice people up here.”

Hargraves was visiting family in Westchester when she saw the sign. “It said, ‘affordable senior housing.’ I was just retired, so I applied. When I first came to the interview, they said, ‘Do you know this is only for seniors?’” Ms. Hargraves is a youthful-looking 62.

“Applying was hectic,” she said. “You had to give so much personal information, but it was worth it. I’d go through it all over again.”

The Mews consists of two buildings on a 5-acre site, each building with 36 one-bedroom apartments. Rents range from $470 to $895 per month, not including utilities. The complex is fully rented at this time. To apply for the waiting list, call the Housing Action Council , 914-332-4144.

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