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Queens nonprofit behind affordable housing development for homeless seniors and those dealing with substance abuse

Queens nonprofit seeking solutions for city's housing crisis
Queens nonprofit seeking solutions for city's housing crisis 01:56

NEW YORK -- A nonprofit in Queens is seeking solutions for the city's housing crisis.

A new affordable development will provide both a home and holistic support for vulnerable New Yorkers.

Though they contain beds, tables, and chairs, the housing units at 104-10 Northern Blvd. are no ordinary apartments.

"The residents here will be able to access our older adult center that's onsite, our food pantry, and our substance use treatment services," program coordinator Ivoree Francis said.

The affordable, permanent housing units will offer a new chapter for 30 individuals recovering from substance misuse and seniors experiencing homelessness.

The brand new building stands in Corona just blocks from Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities, the organization that envisioned and developed it.

Started in 1965, Elmor is the oldest Black-founded and Black-led non-profit in Queens. Nearly 60 years later, it's looking toward the future with programming that aims to set an example for the rest of the country.

"We're not just a reflection of the community, we are the community," CEO Saeeda Dunston said.

A mission of Elmcor is to foster spaces where people can heal by leaning on one another.

"We believe every human being is recovering from something," she said.

Leaders, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, attended the grand opening of the building, named Helen M. Marshall Manor for the former Queens borough president who championed it.

"We are never beyond repair. We are never beyond hope," Ocasio-Cortez said. "What this housing development represents is a community that does not give up on itself."

Residents will apply through the New York City Human Resources Administration and begin moving in in the coming weeks.

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