New senior center targets independence

NewCourtland Director of Marketing & Public Affairs Angela Brown; PIDC President John Grady; U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, 2nd District; Pennsylvania state Senator Shirley Kitchen, 3rd District; City Councilwoman Cindy Bass, 8th District; J.P. Miranda, candidate for Pennsylvania state Representative, 197th District; NewCourtland Director of Logistics & Planning Max Kent; NewCourtland board member Joe Duffey; NewCourtland President & CEO Gail Kass; Pennsylvania state Rep. Gary Williams, 197th District; Ryanne Shuey, vice president, PNC Financial Services Group participate in the groundbreaking for the new LIFE building. — PHOTO SUBMITTED BY NEW COURTLAND

NewCourtland officials have broken ground on a new $5.6 million LIFE (Living Independently for Elders) Center.

NewCourtland LIFE provides a range of healthcare and other services to seniors in Philadelphia with a focus on keeping them in their own homes and communities. The new LIFE Center, at 1900 West Allegheny Avenue, will anchor a five-acre development proposed to include affordable housing.

“By expanding the availability of housing linked with supportive services like LIFE, New Courtland, enables older adults to age safely and affordably with dignity and respect — as independently as possible, for as long as possible — in their own home or community,” said Gail Kass, president and CEO of NewCourtland.

NewCourtland officials were joined by community leaders and politicians during the groundbreaking ceremony.

“NewCourtland’s strategy to develop housing anchored by the LIFE Center in one of the most densely populated neighborhoods of dual-eligible seniors not only demonstrates its foresight and commitment to its mission, but dedication to revitalizing a blighted community desperately in need of affordable senior housing,” said Congressman Chaka Fattah, 2nd District, Pennsylvania.

“It is private-public partnerships such as this that not only bring much-needed development to Philadelphia, but create vital construction and healthcare jobs for all Philadelphians furthering our community revitalization efforts and strengthening entire neighborhoods,” said state Sen. Shirley Kitchen.

The LIFE model is touted for its success enabling seniors to avert and/or transition from costly nursing home and hospital care and back into the community where they prefer to live — at a significant savings.

NewCourtland LIFE currently maintains a 12 zip-code service area primarily in the Northwest section of Philadelphia where it’s estimated nearly 2,700 seniors are eligible for LIFE services. Of those projected to be eligible for LIFE, nearly percent reside in 19132 in the community surrounding NewCourtland LIFE at Allegheny.

“How poetic for us to be here today to break ground to build LIFE,” added 8th District Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Philadelphia, who joined others in donning a hard hat and shovel for the ceremony.

“I’m so excited to see this site which was once a bustling industrial hub restored to its glory as a symbol of progress, hope and the change that is possible when communities unite towards one common goal and in this community, that goal is revitalization.”

The project represents significant development in Philadelphia which NewCourtland achieved with the support of a variety of public and private funding sources including PIDC, PNC Bank, and $1 million through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), now known as the Pennsylvania Economic Growth Initiative.

“PNC Bank is committed to building strong communities and create financial opportunities for individuals, families and businesses through executive leadership, employee volunteerism, and community investments,” added Ryanne Shuey, vice president of PNC.

“Our investment in the new market tax credits that made this project possible will facilitate economic growth by encouraging future market-rate development in the surrounding community along one of the largest vacant parcels of land in Philadelphia.

NewCourtland LIFE opened its first center in 2007 which it continues to operate out of Germantown House, a senior housing complex managed by Philadelphia Housing Authority. After experiencing record growth, NewCourtland opened its second center earlier this year on its flagship campus, Germantown Senior Community.

The NewCourtland LIFE Center at Allegheny is slated for completion in 2013 when development of the housing component commences.

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