Catholic Charities' Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto provides 135 affordable and sustainable apartments for low-income seniors in Brooklyn.
Catholic Charities’ Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto provides 135 affordable and sustainable apartments for low-income seniors in Brooklyn.

Officials recently celebrated the dedication of the new Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto in Brooklyn, New York.

Developed by Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corp., the affordable housing arm of Catholic Charities Brooklyn & Queens, the eight-story development brings 135 affordable homes to low-income and formerly homeless seniors.

The community includes 24-hour security, a lounge, tenant activity rooms, laundry facilities, and rooftop solar panels to reduce the cost of electricity and reduce the building’s carbon footprint. Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services, the social services provider of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, will provide case management services within the building for the senior supportive residents.

This is the second phase of redevelopment of the former Our Lady of Loreto Church and will integrate 40% of the units to affordable independent residences for seniors (AIRS) with 60% of the units designated as senior supportive housing.

The 54 AIRS units will target seniors 62 and older and be affordable to individuals earning up to 50% of the area median income. The remaining 81 units will be supportive housing units targeting individuals who are formerly homeless, older than 55, and are frail elderly. Rents for these supportive units are supported with a rental subsidy through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI).

“Housing affordability is the biggest crisis facing New York City, with the pandemic threatening to destabilize the most vulnerable populations throughout Brooklyn and Queens,” said Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, president and CEO, Catholic Charities Brooklyn & Queens. “In the past two years, Catholic Charities has worked diligently to add over 450 units of affordable housing, ensuring that more seniors and formerly homeless persons not only have an affordable place to call home but access to critical resources and services provided by Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens.”

Designed by RKTB Architects, the $48 million Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto is developed in partnership with New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).

Funding sources include $3.4 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, federal low-income housing tax credits that will generate $19 million in equity, and an additional $24.6 million subsidy from HCR. The New York State Department of Health provides $2 million annually for tenant rental assistance and supportive services through the ESSHI program. Wells Fargo is the financial partner.

“As we move our state forward, we must ensure all New Yorkers have access to secure homes, especially seniors living on fixed incomes or struggling with homelessness,” said RuthAnne Visnauskas, commissioner and CEO of HCR. “The Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto joins the adjacent 64-unit Monsignor Anthony J. Barretta Apartments, adding 135 affordable homes and life-enhancing services to strengthen the Brownsville community and address inequalities across central Brooklyn’s neighborhoods.”

Catholic Charities is also partnering with NYC Health + Hospitals and its subsidiary MetroPlusHealth.

“The public health system takes care of all New Yorkers, many of whom are experiencing chronic homelessness. A stable home can mean fewer emergency department visits, and it can very often be the first step to better health,” said Mitchell Katz, president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals.