Today’s news:

Allen A.M.E. gets funds for Jamaica senior housing

After breaking ground on a low-income senior citizens’ residence in Jamaica last month, Allen A.M.E. Church announced Monday it had secured the remaining funds needed to pay for the more than $11 million project.

The Astoria Federal Savings and Loan Association awarded a $1,382,000 Federal Home Loan Bank housing grant to the church to help fund the affordable housing units on Merrick Boulevard.

“We are grateful to Astoria Federal and Federal Home Loan Bank for their help,” said the Rev. Floyd Flake, pastor of the church, “and the seniors will be more than grateful.”

Currently under construction on Merrick Boulevard between 107th and 108th avenues are three, seven-story buildings, each containing 110 one- and two-bedroom, handicapped-adaptable units. There will also be onsite parking, laundry facilities, a courtyard and a community center.

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans) was on hand at the Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in St. Albans Monday to celebrate the new funds.

Meeks helped obtain a Federal Affordable Housing Program grant for more than $1 million in June and attended the groundbreaking ceremony July 11. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development officials have promised to fund the rest of the $11.76 million project.

“This team effort is turning a dream into a reality,” Meeks said. “The Affordable Housing Program grant will provide a safe senior-oriented environment and will increase the supply of affordable housing in this area as well as revitalize the neighborhood.”

George Engelke, president of Astoria Federal Savings, based in Lake Success on the Queens-Nassau border, said he was glad the bank could help to strengthen the Queens economy.

“We are proud to be a contributor to improving the quality of life for this very special community,” Engelke said.

Alfred DelliBovi, president of the Federal Home Loan Bank, said the housing grant represented a portion of the profits his bank has made with Astoria Federal.

“This award results from the commitment and hard work of Allen A.M.E. and Astoria Federal Savings,” DelliBovi said. “The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York is very pleased to lend a hand through our congressionally authorized program to help the Allen A.M.E. meet a critical need in the community.”

Edwin Reed, chief financial officer of the Federal Home Loan Bank, said the new senior center will be an anchor for the redevelopment of Merrick Boulevard.

“We are looking to see this whole community changed,” he said. “We want to offer affordable housing and a place for New Yorkers to shop.”

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at or call 229-0300 Ext. 138.

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