Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Little more than one year after the groundbreaking, the first residents will soon move into the new Holy Family Senior Apartments in South Buffalo. Bishop Edward U. Kmiec presided over the dedication ceremonies Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the former Holy Family Catholic Elementary School on Tifft Street near South Park.
Bishop Kmiec thanked those involved for their wonderful work. “It’s such a great collaboration with such a wonderful group,” he said. “There’s a great heritage here, so much unity, and that will continue.” The bishop also acknowledged the importance of offering affordable housing and the continuation of the community food pantry.
Sponsored by the Diocese of Buffalo and developed by Delta Development of Western New York Inc. and Living Communities LLC, the three-story, nearly 50,000-square-foot building features 35 units of affordable low and moderate income senior rental housing for individuals 55 and older.
The property has 30 one-bedroom and five two-bedroom apartments. Six of the units have been designated for the frail elderly. The accessible units include enhancement equipment for both the hearing and visually impaired resident.
Catholic Charities of Buffalo is one of the lead agencies to provide support services to the residents. In 2010 in its temporary location within the Lackawanna Food Pantry, the pantry served a total of 7,080 individuals or food that would supply about 63,700 meals. Nearly half of those served were children.
The community room was dedicated to Mother Frances Warde, RSM, the American foundress of the Sisters of Mercy who taught generations of students at Holy Family School.
Funding for the project was provided by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program and the New York State Housing Trust Fund, M&T Bank (investor), Community Preservation Corporation (construction financing), City of Buffalo, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York members First Niagara and M&T Bank, and New York State Urban Initiatives. The University at Buffalo Law School Affordable Housing Clinic served as a consultant.
Silvestri Architects PC served as architect; the contractor was Christa Construction and the engineering was done by Erdman Anthony & Associates Inc.
Holy Family Senior Apartments will serve to meet elderly housing needs in a South Buffalo neighborhood that is a member of the Good Neighbor Planning Alliance, one of 11 areas designated in Buffalo’s Comprehensive Plan.
All windows are energy efficient; central heating and air conditioning has been designed to provide a 30 percent more energy efficient building, supporting both state and city initiatives for energy efficiencies in both new construction and rehabilitation projects.
Design incorporated the Green Build Initiative Design Requirements focused on providing an attractive, comfortable, safe environment for elderly residents. The building includes a new front portico and an outdoor covered patio as well as community and resident lounge areas throughout the building. The apartments have an emergency call response system, smoke alarms, full bathrooms, living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens with Energy Star appliances The building has a locked security entrance, indoor mailroom, resident storage, laundry facilities, and fire and safety alarm systems. Adequate parking is available for the residents.
Residents will also benefit from a secured entrance, state-of-the-art fire system, an emergency call system monitored 24/7 and high-speed internet access with an IT station in the planned community room. Cable television will be available to all units. A bulk cable contract will be executed to provide tenants with a 50 percent discount in cable fees.
A lottery was held so all applicants responding had a fair and equitable opportunity to qualify for the 35 units. Arrangements were made with the Rental Assistance Center, the City of Buffalo Section 8 Administrator, and Belmont Shelter, Erie County PHA Administrator, to include the Holy Family Senior Apartments in their referral list given to individuals currently waitlisted for subsidized housing.
Bernadette Harlan, executive director of Delta Development of WNY, Inc., served as mistress of ceremonies at the dedication and a number of special guests gave brief remarks. Those included Father William R. Bigelow, former pastor of Holy Family Church, Congressman Brian M. Higgins, New York State Senator Timothy M. Kennedy, New York State Assemblyman Mark J. F. Schroeder, Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown and Erie County Legislator Timothy J. Whalen. Also, Thomas W. Heltz II, assistant vice president of M&T Bank Commercial Financing, Kate Bukowski, M&T Bank Member, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, Sister Mary McCarrick, director of Catholic Charities of Buffalo, Dennis Walczyk, president of the Board of Directors of Delta Development of WNY, Inc., Pat Tobin, president of Living Communities, LLC, and Bishop Kmiec who blessed the new apartments.
The bishop also blessed the resident community room dedicated to Mother Frances Xavier Warde, RSM. Sister Patricia Prinzing, RSM, vice president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, was also on hand to say a few words about the resident community room and the history of the Sisters of Mercy at Holy Family Elementary School.
Built in 1915, Holy Family School had a peak enrollment of 1,350 students in 1971. Due to declining enrollment, the school closed in 2004.