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New Haven affordable senior housing to get eco-friendly upgrades

The Towers senior apartment complex as seen from the street in New Haven, Conn. on July 3, 2024.
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
The Towers senior apartment complex as seen from the street in New Haven, Conn. on July 3, 2024.

Residents of an affordable senior housing development in New Haven will soon live a little more comfortably.

The Towers provides different levels of assisted living for senior residents. The development recently received $20 million from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to upgrade the building’s roughly 55 year old infrastructure.

The upgrades will also make the facility more climate friendly, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said. The funding is part of HUD’s Green and Resilient Retrofit Program (GRRP), designated to assist properties with the highest need for climate resilience and utility efficiency upgrades

The Towers Chief Executive Officer Gus Keach-Longo would like to add air conditioning to the building’s hallways.

“Imagine going down to a meal and you're waiting for the elevator, and it can take a few minutes. It's maybe even five minutes, as people come and go, and you start to sweat standing there, it's kind of ridiculous,” Keach-Longo said.

The Towers provides a range of housing options, from hospice care to independent apartments. The facility is operated by The New Haven Jewish Community Housing Corporation.

“Our model actually is wonderful, because people move into an apartment that they can afford,” Keach-Longo said. “We also have apartments for people who are considered the forgotten middle.”

Apartments are available for people earning too much to be considered low-income but not enough to fit the typical model of a larger downpayment, followed by monthly costs, Keach-Longo said.

Of the building’s 328 apartments, about three quarters are reserved for low income residents.

With the funding secured, Keach-Longo hopes construction will be completed by the end of next year. The upgrades will target the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, but extend beyond HVAC.

“We have so many things we need to do, between HVAC systems, boiler systems, we have several roofs,” Keach-Longo said. “We have 32 hallways in our building, because we have two towers.”

DeLauro emphasized that the renewable energy solutions at the development will enable residents to live in what she referred to as a “healthier and more sustainable environment.”

“It underscores our commitment to providing quality, affordable housing while addressing critical environmental challenges," DeLauro said.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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