Jan 25, 2022 - News

Affordable housing project for seniors breaks ground in North Philly

An architecture rendering of Camino De Oro, an affordable housing project for seniors.
An architecture rendering of Camino De Oro, an affordable housing project for seniors. Photo courtesy of PZS Architects

More affordable housing is coming to North Philadelphia.

What's happening: Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) broke ground Tuesday on its new senior housing project, Camino de Oro.

Why it matters: There isn't enough affordable housing in the city to satisfy the need. Local Initiatives Support Corporation Philadelphia estimates Philly needs around 70,000 units.

  • Senior renters, in particular, often have to consider higher health costs and fewer opportunities to increase their income.

Of note: Roughly 11,000 seniors were on Philadelphia Housing Authority's waitlist for affordable housing in 2019.

  • PHA didn't respond to Axios' request for comment on current figures, as of Tuesday night.

State of play: APM, a Latino community and economic development nonprofit, has been working on the project since 2019.

  • Camino de Oro will have 44 apartments for residents ages 62 and older with incomes up to 60% of the area median income, which is roughly $39,720 for one person.
  • Six of the units will be designed to be accessible for people with disabilities.

Meanwhile, five apartments are reserved for seniors who make up to 20% of the area median income, about $13,240 for one person.

  • Four are one-bedroom units, and the other is a two-bed apartment.

Between the lines: The average median household income in Philadelphia is roughly $46,000, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures.

  • About 40% of all households in the city are cost-burdened, meaning people spend at least 30% of their income on housing.

By the numbers: The project is funded in part by the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, which accounts for nearly $12 million in equity.

  • The city has dedicated $2.8 million, and the state has funded more than $900,000.

What they're saying: "Our seniors are the building blocks of our foundation for many of our families, yet affordable housing remains out of reach for so many of them," APM president and CEO Nilda Ruiz said.

  • Council President Darrell Clarke, who represents the area, said the project should be a template for what the city should be doing more often to tackle affordable housing.

What's next: Camino de Oro will open for its first residents in the fall. A date hasn't been confirmed yet.

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