Senior Affordable Housing Breaks Ground
by Jennifer LeClaire
MIAMI-Miami Jewish Health Systems broke ground on its latest expansion of Douglas Gardens North, an affordable senior living community in nearby Pembroke Pines. When it opens its doors in 2012, the new building will offer 75 apartment units to low-income seniors who need access to healthcare and social services.
MJHS tapped a $10.5 million US Department of Housing and Urban Development grant for the project. It was one of the final grants to be issued in Florida through the department’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program. Section 202 is set to be phased out this year.
“With this building, we are going to be able to build a larger kitchen so hot meals can be served on site in any kind of catastrophic situation,” MJHS COO Morris Funk tells GlobeSt.com. “We’ll also have an emergency generator, so we can accommodate a significant number of people 55 and older in the wake of a disaster.”
Located at 705 SW 88th Ave., the project was designed with the community and sustainability in mind. MJHS is pursuing LEED Silver certification with a series of environmentally sustainable features. Public spaces will host civic functions and community meetings.
While the HUD Section 202 program will be phased out, Morris says the need for affordable housing for seniors has never been greater following years of recession. Douglas Gardens North has 500 seniors on its waiting list—and the new expansion will be full on the first day. The site may also expand to offer satellite medical offices.
“We may be able to do some memory screenings there, and consults with some of the physicians we have in our own health system,” Funk says. “We can bring the medical component to the campus, which is not part of HUD, but it is part of our core competencies.”