Town Manager Says Developer Considering Affordable Senior Housing

The Londonderry Elder Affairs Committee is gaining more momentum in bringing affordable senior housing to town.

As an ongoing effort, the committee strives to attain government-subsidized housing to support local seniors who cannot afford to pay rent along with various essential monthly and medical expenses.

Town manager Kevin Smith discussed this issue at the committee’s meeting on Tuesday, June 16.

Smith said he is in contact with a developer from the area who is interested in pursuing the idea of building affordable senior housing in Londonderry. The developer would try to bring in what was formerly known as subsidized housing; Smith said the Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 program does not exist on the federal level anymore.

In the past, this program issued housing choice vouchers that assisted very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled in affording housing in the private market, according to the department’s website. Total annual gross income and family size were factors in determining eligibility for this program.

Londonderry’s potential senior housing would not use this system. Instead, the developer would use federal tax credit to make housing more affordable.

“(Federal tax credit) enables developers to keep the rent down at a much lower cost than what was previously proposed in and around this area,” Smith said.

The average rent for current, unsubsidized senior housing in town is about $1,000 per month, as previously reported.

A lengthy and complicated application is required in order to receive federal tax credit. Fortunately, Smith said, the potential developer has experience with the process after completing similar projects in other communities.

If chosen to proceed, Smith said the credit application will be submitted for approval, and he estimates construction can begin in 2017.

Smith hopes to have the developer come to a committee meeting and explain his vision. He would also be able to provide more information concerning government vouchers that seniors can apply for to further reduce their rent.

“Progress is being made,” Smith said. “I think we have a great committee that’s very proactive in advocating for seniors in town.”

In other business at last week’s meeting:

• The committee is partnering with Community Caregivers of Greater Derry to provide a stronger support system for Londonderry seniors.

This volunteer network will assist the elderly with various tasks, including light chores, grocery shopping and yard work.

Chairman Bonnie Roberts said she thinks the partnership will have a very positive outcome.

“Now if we hear of Londonderry seniors in need, we’ll have a volunteer network built in,” Roberts said.

For more information on volunteering, contact the Caregivers’ office by phone at 432-0877. Volunteer drivers who can bring seniors to medical appointments are especially in high demand.

• The committee will not meet in July or August. The next meeting will take place in September.

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