Safe, Low-rent Housing For Elderly

May 24, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

Alex Homek intends to move to the new Carriage Run Apartments for senior citizens because his sister moved out of the Columbia apartment they shared, leaving him with a market-rate unit he can't afford.

William Shulman, 78, plans to move to the new 104-unit complex on Cradlerock Way in Owen Brown Village from an apartment in Harper's Choice Village largely for safety reasons.

And retirees George and Olive Pohl plan to move from South Carolina to Carriage Run to be closer to their son and daughter-in-law, who live in Elkridge, in case of medical emergencies.

Demand is strong for units in the $6.5 million project, which is expected to open next week, said Andy Aulde, vice president of Shelter Development Corp., which also built the adjacent Owen Brown Place apartments for low-income tenants.

The one-bedroom Carriage Run Apartments will rent for an average of $415 per month for seniors with annual incomes of $10,000 to $22,600. The Howard County Housing Commission, which has an ownership interest, will rent 11 units for $340 each. At least one occupant in all units must be 62 or older.

As of last week, leases for about 75 percent of the units were set or nearly set, Mr. Aulde said. Property managers have logged more than 400 requests for applications, he said.

"We have people constantly calling in for applications," Mr. Aulde said. "It's sort of indicative of the need."

Carriage Run is targeted toward seniors who want to live independently but who don't qualify for subsidized rental units and who have difficulty affording market-rate units or expensive retirement facilities on their fixed incomes.

Leonard Vaughan, administrator of the county Office of Housing and Community Development, said Carriage Run will help fill a gap for retired working people.

"We have one of the most rapidly aging populations in the country," Mr. Vaughan said. "We're 25 years into the county's most recent development. People reaching the 65 to 70 age bracket either can't stay in their housing or don't want to because of the cost and size."

Shelter Development can offer below-market-rate rents through a creative financing package, which includes low-interest development loans totaling $2 million from the state and Howard County, a private loan and an agreement with the county to make a payment in lieu of property taxes.

The financing combination "has enabled us to build high-quality apartments that if you were to finance with one private source would rent for $750 to support costs," Mr. Aulde said.

Several retirees who plan to move in said they appreciate the affordable rents and look forward to living with other vital seniors in a complex that will have common rooms, planned activities, security features and access to shopping.

Mr. Homek, a retired storekeeper for a New Jersey state hospital, said he will be glad to escape noisy neighbors in his Long Reach Village apartment, where fellow tenants haven't been very friendly, he said.

"In the morning, they hardly say hello, they couldn't care less," said Mr. Homek, whose rent would be $810 if he stayed put.

Mr. Shulman, a retired machinist and tool and die maker for Westinghouse Electric Corp., owned a house in Southwest Baltimore for 40 years until his wife died. "I couldn't stand living in the house anymore," he said.

He sold it in 1991 and moved to an apartment in Ellicott City. Attracted by Centennial Park, Cedar Lane Park and the Florence Bain Senior Center, he moved to a $585-a-month apartment in Harper's Choice in February 1993. But living conditions are not ideal, he said.

"I don't feel safe, there's so much activity going on at night," he said. "I hesitate to go out at night."

"We try to link up with resources in the community to provide as much service and activity level as possible," Mr. Aulde said.

Mrs. Pohl, 74, said she and her 82-year-old husband have some health problems and will be glad to move close to relatives. "Now they can get to us in minutes rather than hours," Mrs. Pohl said.

The apartments don't offer assisted living, but are equipped with features to make living easier for seniors, features that include handrails, lowered cabinets and a health emergency cord that signals an outside monitoring service. Five units are equipped for the physically disabled.

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