Affordable senior housing celebrated

WESTFALL TWP. – A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Friday, October 9th, for a 93-unit affordable senior citizen housing complex near Matamoras. The $10 million+ project is expected to help meet a critical housing need in Pike County when the facility opens in about a year.

Jonah Mendelbaum is the developer. His company, MJJ Builders located in Warwick, NY, has built in excess of 2,000 senior apartments in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties, New York. Among his projects is Waters Edge in Port Jervis. This is his first project in Pennsylvania.

Once done, it will provide housing for seniors age 55 and over, meeting certain income eligibility requirements as defined by the federal government. He stated that the income levels for 2016 will be released in the spring, and he then will provide the information so that residents will know if they are eligible, and how to apply.

The three-story complex, designed in a right angle, will host a community room and one bedroom apartments, each with a living area, kitchen and bathroom. Each one of them will be handicapped accessible.

Robin LoDolce, Executive Director of the Pike County Area Agency on Aging, told the gathering under the tent that for years her Office had heard that the beautiful, rural landscapes in Pike County draw people here, but a big drawback for seniors is lack of access to services.

The project is being built on a flat parcel off Route 6/209 along the Delaware River, at the end of Hulst Drive, Westfall Township, between Hampton Inn and Paddlers Point, behind K-Mart. In close proximity is an abundance of stores, restaurants, a theater and other services that make up a community from churches to doctor offices, from Milford to Matamoras. Ahead of them is the spectacular view of the Westfall Township ridge line, and behind them, the Delaware.

Commissioner Matthew Osterberg added later that aside from services, what is making this project happen is the fact that Westfall’s commercial district has central sewer and water. This is a big reason why the project is not being built in more remote areas of Pike.

It all started with a phone call. Aware of the critical need for senior housing, and knowledgeable of Mendelbaum’s projects in New York State, one day Osterberg telephoned him “to see what would happen,” he said.

Osterberg said this was an “important day” in Pike County. “To me it’s so important that we keep our seniors close; everybody needs to age in place. It’s not fair that as people age in our community they need to move to another locations. They don’t want to do that. They want to stay near their families and their friends. And that’s what we are here today to do.”