Today’s news:

Briarwood opens up new senior housing

Elected officials and developers of an 80-unit senior housing complex cut the ribbon on the $16 million Briarwood facility Friday.

“It’s all about providing housing for those who are most in need and have no options,” said Dr. George Heinrich, chairman of Silvercrest Senior Housing. “This is an emblem of our commitment to wellness.”

The complex of one-bedroom units at 86-19 144th St. can accommodate up to two people per room and is geared toward low-income seniors.

Seniors 62 years or older who have an income below 50 percent of the national average and need assistance with one more of their daily activities are eligible for the housing, according to Silvercrest spokesman Lloyd Torres.

Stephen Mills, president and chief executive officer of both New York Hospital Queens and Silvercrest, which jointly run the nearby Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, said the state-of-the-art facility provides the seniors living in it with an “umbrella of care around them that they will be able to access” both in the community and at Silvercrest.

The $16 million project was funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ($14.2 million) and the city Department of Housing ($1.8 million).

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) called Silvercrest Senior Housing “a dream.”

“It is an honor and a privilege for me to see this dream,” he said. “[The seniors’] dream is turning into a reality.”

Meeks said that just because the seniors living at Silvercrest could not afford other senior housing developments they are still entitled to the services the facility can bring them.

“They are God’s creatures and they deserve to live in a facility like this,” he said.

State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) noted that Silvercrest was in high demand. About 300 applications were sent in, but only about half of that amount will get to live at the Briarwood complex, he said.

“The need for alternative housing ... is no doubt one of our most pressing,” he said.

State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) said although the creation of the new senior housing may be “a drop in the bucket,” it is a “very important building block.”

“It’s important for us to have institutions like this in the community where we can refer people,” he said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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