Organization Name: HELP USA with SAGE USA
Project Title: HELP Crotona Senior Housing
Project Location: 771-775 Crotona Park North, Bronx, NY
HELP USA, a national non-profit developer of affordable and supportive housing, partnered with SAGE, an advocacy group and service provider for LGBT Seniors, to create a new mixed-use development on a corner site overlooking Crotona Park in the Bronx. The building combines low-income senior housing with an innovative ground-floor, LGBT-oriented Senior Center to serve building residents and any interested New York City seniors. Seniors who identify as LGBT comprise a growing population which often experiences housing discrimination and difficulty living “out” in typical senior housing. This development is one of the two first NYC subsidized housing developments with programming that addresses the needs of LGBT seniors. The 7-story, 65,000 SF, high-performance building contains complementary residential and community facility components designed to support “aging in place”, a concept of increasing interest among seniors especially in urban areas.
Using sustainable features and active design elements, the comprehensive design strategy focuses on aging in place including 84 compact units [53 studios and 31 one-bedrooms] designed for maximum privacy and flexibility. Each floor will also feature a lounge overlooking the Park, critical for socializing, inviting tenants out of their private apartments. Specific lighting, signage, and anti-glare finishes allow easy wayfinding, and handrails will accommodate those who may become increasingly frail. The 7th floor has a laundry, community room, and terrace, all overlooking the park. The terrace will provide accessible gardening plots and landscaping for shade, and further connection to the park. The ground floor Senior Center will be run by SAGE USA, and access an outdoor terrace and lower level garden with tall trees. The flexible Great Room will host a daily meals program as well as physical recreation; library/classroom and a cyber center round out the senior program spaces.
As one of the first publicly subsidized buildings in NYC with support tailored to the LGBT community, the building will be a safe, comfortable and hopefully judgement free area where seniors can age without physical or social barriers to their comfort. Design for aging is an emerging field of research that is particularly relevant in urban communities where people want to age in place close to friends and family and with infrastructure that will enable their access to services and mobility as they age. Drawn from expert attention to the challenges for seniors, and the ability to leverage sensitive design strategies for this community, the design establishes solutions for the built environment to fully support aging in place.
The project includes some HVAC elements of passive house design: Thicker insulation, reduced thermal bridges, VRF heating and cooling, and ERV’s in each unit for ventilation and fresh air along with energy recovery. The project aims to reach NYSERDA NCP Teir II.
HELP USA is a national homeless service provider and low-income housing developer serving at-risk populations including families, veterans, and victims of domestic violence. HELP USA currently serves more than 8,000 every day at 52 programs and residences across four states. Since its founding in 1986, HELP USA has served more than 375,000 men, women, and children and developed in excess of 2,275 units of housing. Magnusson Architecture and Planning is a creative design firm based in New York City. For over 30 years MAP has been creating thriving and sustainable communities through excellence in design and planning. MAP is an award-winning, comprehensive firm specializing in the design and planning of large scale multi-family residential and mixed-use developments, educational, sacred and civic spaces.