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Photo: Brittany Valentine | Al Día News
Camino De Oro, which means “Golden Path” in Spanish, will be located at 8th and Berks Street in North Philadelphia. Photo: Brittany Valentine/AL DÍA News

APM breaks ground on Camino de Oro, new affordable housing for seniors

The project will offer 44 housing units for residents 65 and older with incomes at or below 60% of the city’s median area income.

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On Tuesday, Jan. 25, city officials joined leaders from Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) to break ground on their newest project — an affordable housing center for senior citizens.

Camino De Oro, which means “Golden Path” in Spanish, will be located at 8th and Berks Street in North Philadelphia. It will offer 44 housing units for residents 65 and older with incomes at or below 60% of the median area income.

The project is a three-story building equipped with a laundry facility, community room, on-site leasing office, and a green space for gardening and activities.

Camino De Oro was made possible with funding from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program ($11,998,800 equity), $2.8 million from the City of Philadelphia Department of Housing and Community Development, and $914,800 from the Construction Cost Relief Program.

“Today is really exciting to this community, not just because it's some of the next steps, but because today marks the move from a vision for this building to a reality. And one of the things that I'm very focused on is the support of families and the need for intergenerational families to be able to stay together,” said Robin Wiessman, executive director and CEO of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA).

Kelvin Jeremiah, executive director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, congratulated APM on their latest success, and expressed his enthusiasm for having a working partnership with organizations like them. 

“We’ve been a part of it now for 30 plus years, but over the last 10 years, you enhanced the relationship. Part of the enhancement has really focused on providing affordable housing in the Latino community, a community that has not always been represented well in terms of the portfolio of affordable housing,” Jeremiah said. 

State Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate, Malcolm Kenyatta, emphasized the significance of these types of projects, and how they impact the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. 

“There’s a basic American bargain: this idea that you can have a good job, the kids can go to a good school and you can live in a safe community. And the centerpiece of that is that you get to retire with a level of dignity, with a level of respect, and to be able to retire in your community,” Kenyatta said. 

Senator Sharif Street wasn’t able to attend the event in person, so his spokesperson, Aisha Richardson, made statements for him.

“We all know that we're coming through this pandemic. And so the ability for seniors to age in place and be out of congregate care means that housing is actually medicine. And being able to bring on intergenerational housing and covering that funding through city and state and federal funding makes these projects really important for the future,” Richardson said. 

Luz Colon, the executive director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission for Latino Affairs, and a board member of APM, brought statements on behalf of Governor Wolf. 

“Access to safe and affordable housing is the most important determinant of a person's physical and mental and emotional health. When a community can provide adequate options for people, especially our senior population, everything else can come together to ensure the basic needs and support for all of them to be fulfilled,” Colon said. 

This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.

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