When Gertrude Sachs' husband died in 1991, her world, and her finances, collapsed.
"Financially, I was strapped," Mrs. Sachs, 75, recalled yesterday. "It was such a lonely existence."
But with the opening of the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Gardens at Bedford, Mrs. Sachs no longer feels lonely and burdened. The 84-unit building in Pikesville, which was dedicated yesterday, provides housing for her and other elderly people living on limited incomes.
Located on 1.5 acres in the 1500 block of Bedford Ave., the five-story building is the second complex cooperatively built by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Weinberg Foundation, a philanthropic organization with offices in Baltimore. Seniors pay reduced rents, an average of about $215 a month.
The building is the latest attempt to offer affordable, functional homes for the elderly in Baltimore County, where they are a fast-growing segment of the population. Tenants have an income that is 50 percent or less than the area's median income of $17,300 for single adults and $19,750 for couples.
Each apartment has one bedroom and offers such features for seniors as hall rails, and seats and rails in the showers.
"The apartments can be altered for people with handicaps," said Phyllis M. Hersh, spokeswoman for The Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, the parent organization for the building's developer.
The accessibility of the building, which was developed by Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc., suits Mrs. Sachs, who had problems at her former residence.
"It was a garden apartment, and I had to go up 21 steps to get to it," she said.
Next year, construction is scheduled to begin on another apartment complex, adjacent to Weinberg Gardens. That would add 87 apartments, bringing the total to nearly 300 apartments.
Mrs. Sachs said she feels blessed to get into her complex, where 600 seniors applied and 99 tenants were accepted.
"It's such a wonderful opportunity to live in such a beautiful residence," she said. "I call it my little penthouse."