The need for elderly housing Anne Arundel: Annapolis-based nonprofit helps smaller communities fill market void.


NONPROFITS have become the major developers of affordable housing for the elderly. Most large urban areas have little trouble constructing rental units for low- and middle-income seniors, but many smaller communities don't have such organizations.

Annapolis-based Homes for America fills that niche.

The organization, which began in 1994, last week dedicated the 120-unit Bay Forest Senior Apartments on Edgewood Road. In cooperation with the contractor, First Centrum Co., and with financing from federal, state and city governments, Homes for America was able to build one- and two-bedroom apartments that will rent for $465 to $685 a month.

The need for this type of housing is great. Although this development didn't begin leasing until March, two-thirds of the units have been rented. To be eligible, applicants must be at least 62 years old and have incomes no greater than $23,340 for one person, or $26,700 for two. Many of the residents moved out of substandard housing in other parts of the state capital.

To make this project happen, the city of Annapolis provided a $200,000 community development block grant. The Maryland Department of Community and Housing Development kicked in $6 million in annual tax credits covering the next 10 years. And, Anne Arundel County contributed nearly $790,000 and will provide a variety of social services, from nutrition to health assistance.

Homes for America is building similar developments elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic region. It completed a smaller project in Havre de Grace and is in the midst of another in Cambridge on the Eastern Shore.

The nonprofit developer has also built affordable housing for the elderly in Virginia. In four years, it has constructed more than 1,000 units.

As this area ages, the need for affordable units will grow. We applaud Homes for America's plans to build more of these units in other under-served communities.

! Pub date: 5/18/98

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