Affordable Senior Housing Complex Opens Its Doors

[Photo 1: Officials at grand opening celebration]
Sandra Warren, Director, HUD Houston CPD; Eileen Fitzgerald, CEO, NeighborWorks America; Robert Fiederlein, President, Avenue CDC Board of Trustees; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee; Mary Lawler, Executive Director, of Avenue CDC; Ann Edwards, State Senator Mario Gallegos' office; Raynold Richardson, Director, HUD Houston Multifamily Housing Program Center, and Neil Rackleff, Director, City of Houston Department of Housing and Community Development
[Photo 2: Exterior view of Fulton Gardens Apartments]
Exterior view of Fulton Gardens Apartments located at 3724 Fulton Street in Houston
[Photo 3: Raynold Richardson]
Raynold Richardson, Director, HUD Houston Multifamily Housing Program Center, speaks to attendees

On September 27, 2012, an on-site grand opening celebration was held at Fulton Gardens Apartments, a senior affordable housing development. Attendees included 100 individuals consisting of federal and locally elected officials, lenders, community leaders and, most importantly, residents of the complex. Fulton Gardens is located in Houston, TX's Near Northside, directly outside of downtown, at 3724 Fulton Street.

Mary Lawler, Executive Director, Avenue Community Development Corporation (Avenue CDC), developer/sponsor/consultant/management agent, stated, "Avenue CDC, as a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to improving Houston's Near Northside and Washington Avenue communities by developing affordable housing and economic opportunities. We were founded in 1991 by a group of neighbors with the goal of improving our community while preserving its diversity, the mix of income levels and cultural backgrounds which makes our neighborhood an interesting and vibrant place to live. Since 1991, we have leveraged over $60 million dollars in investments through the development of over 100 single-family homes, 600 apartments and 140,000 square feet of commercial space. We also provide homebuyer education and after-school programs." Ms. Lawler added, "We are here today to celebrate our newest development. As you can tell, the site is extremely well located with Moody Park across the street and the light rail stop a block away. The huge demand and ongoing need for these apartments are a testament to the importance of the work Avenue CDC is doing here in the Near Northside."

Raynold Richardson, Director of Multifamily Housing, HUD Houston Program Center, stated, "The Department of Housing and Urban Development is a willing and consistent participant in the Section 202 program. The agency appreciates the collaboration between federal and local government and the private sector to provide and sustain decent and safe affordable housing for the senior community. Avenue CDC received a $4,742,100 Capital Advance grant pursuant to HUD's Section 202 program for the construction of the facility. In addition, HUD provided a $399,364 Demonstration Planning Grant to assist with the development of the property. The property consists of 48 one-bedroom units and one site manager unit." Mr. Richardson thanked all of the participants who worked diligently to make possible the beautifully designed facility and thanked all of the residents who were in attendance for their participation.

Resident Janie Corpus-Chavez stated, "I am very appreciative to live in Fulton Gardens as well as all of the residents, which is evidenced by their participation today."

Neil Rackleff, Director, City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department, stated, "On behalf of Mayor Annise Parker, I want to thank and commend all of the partners involved in the building of the facility. Although the city of Houston's portion was small through CHDO proceeds ($650,000), the end result is a quality property for the senior citizens of Houston to reside in. This effort was about the residents and meeting their needs."

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee thanked all the men and women responsible for affordable housing impacting communities. She stated, "The need for affordable housing is acute here in the Near Northside. The community has been 'discovered' by these developers and new townhomes have been constructed that are too expensive for local residents, especially seniors. Today, approximately 13 million low-income age 50+ households in America cannot afford their housing costs and/or have inadequate housing. The problem is growing and by 2030, one in every five Americans will be over the age of 65. In the Near Northside, 43 percent of seniors paid more than 35 percent of their incomes on housing alone, leaving them with limited funds for food, clothing and other needs. That is why government entities must continue to work with community organizations such as Avenue CDC to develop more new, state-of-the-art, affordable senior housing units."

Robert Fiederlein, President, Avenue CDC Board of Trustees, in his closing remarks, thanked Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee for her tireless efforts toward acquiring assistance for the citizens of Houston, HUD for their funding, Houston Endowment Inc., City of Houston Housing Community and Development for their funding, NeighborWorks America, Wells Fargo and Houston Housing Finance Corporation, which provided interim financing. He also announced that HUD has funded a second 202 Capital Advance Award for Phase II for 40 units in the amount of $4,528,085 and a DPG grant of $349,285.


Content Archived: February 26, 2014