$12 million in grants to add housing for poor seniors

Randallstown, Reisterstown to gain 142 apartments

November 18, 1999|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

At a time when Baltimore County has 2,500 low-income senior citizens waiting for affordable housing, the federal government announced $12 million in grants yesterday to develop two housing projects in Randallstown and Reisterstown for the elderly poor.

The money to build 142 apartments comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Randallstown project, to be built with $6.4 million in grants at Liberty and Old Court roads, will accommodate 74 apartments for the elderly. It will be developed by Cooperative Services Inc. of Michigan.

The Reisterstown project for 68 apartments will be developed by Baltimore's Associated Catholic Charities with $5.8 million.

Both projects will accommodate senior citizens who can live independently.

During a telephone news conference at HUD yesterday, Fred Wood, general manager of Cooperative Services, said the Randallstown project is being developed in conjunction with Mount Olive United Methodist Church, which owns the land. Construction is expected to take 2 1/2 years.

Yesterday, Cooperative Services' development manager, Kim Yamasaki, said, "There is a tremendous low-income senior population in every part of the country. Baltimore County has a greater concentration than average."

Dale McArdle, director of housing services for Associated Catholic Charities, said the Reisterstown project will be built adjacent to a Catholic Charities project under way for senior citizens. The first building, he said, received 100 applications for 72 units "without any advertising."

Tenants in the Catholic Charities project announced yesterday will pay 30 percent of their income for rent. McArdle said the average tenant will have an annual income of $10,000 to $11,000. The Reisterstown project is expected to be completed by spring 2001.

The great demand for affordable housing for the elderly will increase as the county's elderly population continues to grow, according to the county Department of Aging.

While 19 percent of the county population -- or 139,000 -- was older than 60 last year, the state projects that number will grow by 49 percent, to 207,000, by 2020, the department projects.

The shortage of affordable housing for poor seniors "is definitely a major problem," Stanley Roll, a member of the county's Commission on Aging, said yesterday.

If senior citizens have little money "and no family, it's a very serious situation," he said.

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