Seniors get options for affordable housing

Seniors get options for affordable housing

Harmon Pines Senior Apartments resident Joan Schrialli looks at her friend Nifa Martinez’s custom apartment during the grand opening of the apartments Wednesday.

Seniors on meager incomes now have a new option for a place to live in the northwest with two affordable housing projects set to open in 2010 and early 2011.

Silver Sky Assisted Living facility, a 90-unit affordable care facility, opened at 8220 Silver Sky Drive, between Westcliff Drive and Summerlin Parkway in 2005. Mike Mullin, president of Nevada Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND), said Wednesday the five-acre campus on Silver Sky Drive will soon include 120 affordable senior apartments.

Rent will be less than $500 for a two bedroom and about $350 for a one bedroom.

"What we wanted to create was a place where seniors can age in place, gracefully with dignity," he said.

Forty apartments for independent senior living, called Westcliff Pines, are on track to break ground in mid-July and all 40 have been signed for by prospective renters. The $6 million project is financed by low-income tax credits from the Nevada Housing Division and home funds from the city and county.

Mullin said there will be a high demand during a recession for these apartments and for the next 80-unit phase, which they will call Westcliff Heights.

Nevada HAND, a nonprofit that has completed 15 projects in the valley, recently received a $6.9 million Housing and Urban Development grant to complete Westcliff Heights. The $11 million project will break ground in the first quarter of 2010.

"This will offer low-income seniors quality, affordable housing that also provides supportive services," Mullin said.

The planned Westcliff Pines isn’t the only options for low-income seniors.

Residents of Harmon Pines Senior Apartments celebrated its grand opening Wednesday morning at 6000 W. Harmon Ave., near the intersection of Flamingo Road and Jones Boulevard.

Harmon Pines is the first affordable housing property made possible through the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, which generates revenue through the sale of public lands around Las Vegas.

The 105-unit Spanish-style complex, which has leased all its units, is home to seniors who say they’re happy to pay rent that’s nearly half the market rate. They also have staff to direct them to social services programs, and a transportation system for those who can no longer drive.

Corneilus and Melinda Neal are paying about $460 a month for their two-bedroom apartment at Harmon Pines.

"We’re especially grateful because we know the real estate is really expensive out here," said Melinda Neal, who moved in with her husband the first day the apartments opened in November. "We’d always wanted to live on the west side."

Nina Martinez, 74, is saving about $165 a month on her more secure and spacious two-bedroom apartment.

"I was paying too much rent (before) and I was on Social Security and I was broke all the time — I couldn’t afford the medication I needed," she said. "It is more affordable and more secure here."

Martinez held up her security pass card, which allows her entrance into the complex.

The project was financed by about $12 million from the low income tax credit program. The remaining $3.8 million in construction costs came from a Bank of Nevada loan.

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