By Seth Daniel
A major facelift is coming for 56 units of elderly and disabled housing at Union Park on Spruce and Sixth Street developments that are part of the Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA), that coming after an announcement in Malden on Jan. 5 that more than $3.5 million had been awarded to the agency for the project.
CHA Director Al Ewing said the grant came from the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Modernizing Public Housing and Supporting Elders (ModPHASE) Program, in collaboration with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. The competitive housing grant program had 20 applications and only four were funded, with Chelsea getting one of the largest awards at $3,573,391.
“My senior staff put the proposal together,” said Ewing. “We did it in-house and presented it. It’s fantastic news. We really wanted to do something for the residents there and this gives us the opportunity to help our residents age in place. It’s a real positive for us.”
The grant will go towards the eight buildings with 56 units of elderly and disabled housing on Walnut Street, Sixth Street, Orange Street and Spruce Street. The money will allow the CHA to add four handicap, ADA accessible housing units to the development as well.
“This will allow us to renovate all 56 units and the community room and add four new ADA accessible units, all in eight buildings on the site,” he said. “There will be new replacement windows, interior doors, exterior doors, new intercom systems, new kitchens, new bathrooms, and flooring…The kitchens and bathrooms hadn’t been done over since the 1960s, so this is needed.”
In addition, he said some site work will also be performed, including some drainage and sewer line problems in the area. There will also be new perimeter fences, new sidewalks and an ADA accessible entry.
The award was part of $17.8 million awarded to four agencies in the Commonwealth.
“This new grant program will help cities and towns meet their local housing needs, by providing elder residents with safe, modern public housing units,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “ModPHASE funding allows communities to make holistic investments in elder care, by providing needed capital upgrades, and helping to deliver increased services to public housing residents.”
Additionally, Ewing said there will be resources leveraged for seniors on the site via community partnerships. ModPHASE funds will leverage resources for seniors, including services from Mystic Valley Elder Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, MetroCare LLC, the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Elder Service Plan, and the Chelsea Council on Aging.
“This is a great location with the Silver Line stop coming across the street and easy access to the Square,” said Ewing. “We want to make sure our residents there are being offered housing up to modern standards.”
ModPHASE seeks to preserve and modernize public housing communities with high capital needs, and facilitate stronger relationships between local housing authorities and local elder service agencies.