Ribbon Cutting Celebrates Preservation of Affordable Housing
Using a giant sized pair of scissors, local representatives, residents and building owners cut the ribbon on the revitalized Ocean Park Apartments, celebrating a promise of 40 more years of affordable housing at the Beach 19 Street complex.
"We are very pleased to be able to continue to preserve existing structures, renovating and rehabilitating them into affordable housing that is updated, appealing and well-maintained," said Mark Carbone, the president of Related Apartment Preservation (RAP), which brought the complex in February 2005. "The Ocean Park development provides and maintains much needed affordable housing in this community in Queens."
Ocean Park was originally built in 1972 and had been part of the Mitchell Lama program until the sale of the property became final late last year. With the announcement at the ribbon cutting, the 602-unit complex will remain as affordable housing.
Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer joined tenants and owners at the ceremony. She said her concern was for the people who lived in the Ocean Park Apartments.
"When we first heard about [the sale] we were concerned...but we knew the reputation of the company plus dealing with them and the tenants down this long road... [RAP] understood the fear of the tenants about being displaced and moving into smaller apartments," said Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who recalled that her parents had lived in the complex.
"Those were different times. Now it's better," she continued. "Your input and money helped to make it the way it is."
Portia Johnson, president of the tenants association, said, "What you have given us is quality, affordable housing."
The $11 million renovation at Ocean Park Apartments, located at 125 Beach 17 in Far Rockaway included a roof replacement, an overhaul of the elevators and the buildings' facades, interior renovation, new windows, a new security system, outdoor plaza replacement and landscape installation.
Tax-exempt bonds and credits enable the company to keep the affordable housing status of the buildings.
An applicant has to be "income qualified" to live in the apartments. According to a press release, 70 percent of the tenants currently living at the project have incomes that are at or below 60 percent of the New York City Area Median Income. The other 30 percent of tenants have incomes at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income.
RAP also said, "Some, or all, of the tenants of the Section 236 Units (HUD) and the Low Income Units could be eligible for rental assistance."
RAP was formed in 1998 specifically to buy, renovate and keep affordable housing. Since that time, they have kept over 10,000 units of affordable housing in seven states.
In addition to other representatives of RAP, also at the ribbon cutting were Stephen Hunt, the president and CEO for the New York State Housing Finance Agency, Deborah Van Amerongen of HUD, and representatives of Congressman Gregory Meeks and State Senator Malcolm Smith.