Board of Legislators Vote Key for Affordable Senior Housing Project
John Jordan | June 2018
WHITE PLAINS— The Westchester County Board of Legislators earlier this month approved the purchase of land that will result in the creation of 56 new units of affordable housing for seniors in White Plains.
The long-delayed project—Mount Hope Plaza at 65 Lake Street in White Plains—will create affordable housing units for seniors 62 years and older.
The apartments will be available to seniors whose household incomes are no more than 50% or 60% of the area median income, depending on the size of the apartment.
The board unanimously approved the county’s acquisition of the .75-acre site for $2.1 million on June 7. The county will transfer the property to the Mount Hope Community Development Corporation with the stipulation that the housing built there remain affordable for at least 50 years. Further funding from the project principally will come from New York State sources.
“This is a dream project,” said Board Chair Ben Boykin (D –Harrison, Scarsdale, White Plains). “It will offer the truly affordable housing for seniors that the county so desperately needs, with all the best possible attributes for this kind of project: a park across the street; shopping, restaurants and services in Downtown White Plains less than half a mile away; and mass transit accessibility with a Bee-Line bus stop nearby and a Metro North train stop just a mile away. These are the kinds of projects we need more of in Westchester County and I’m thrilled to see it moving forward.”
Westchester County, the City of White Plains and Mt. Hope AME Zion Church, which currently owns the site, have worked together for years with other local religious institutions, community members, and housing advocates in planning the project.
But the county played a pivotal role in shepherding the project through the early stages of the development process.
Board Vice Chair Alfreda Williams (D -Elmsford, Greenburgh, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown) said, “I am delighted that we are finally moving forward with this project. It is sorely needed in Westchester County and especially in the White Plains area, particularly given Westchester’s graying population. The Board of Mt. Hope AME Zion Church is to be congratulated for their foresight, perseverance and willingness to do this.”
The Rev. Dr. Gregory Robeson Smith, pastor of Mount Hope AME Zion Church, said, “Providing truly affordable housing is not a mission, it’s a mandate—to maintain sustainable communities and provide for continued, effective quality of life for those in need. We are excited and very appreciative about the Mt. Hope partnership with Westchester County government and the City of White Plains. This is how it can and will work, and it’s only the beginning—from a little acorn, a mighty oak can grow.”