“Things just got very expensive,” she said.
Today, she is on a senior housing waiting list to find a place of her own. Although she is happy being with her grandchildren, she admitted that she misses living in Astoria.
“I miss the food, I’ll tell you that,” she said. “Astoria, nobody can beat it.”
Thomches is one of nearly 20,000 seniors on waiting lists for housing in the 22nd Council District, which encompasses all of Astoria and parts of East Elmhurst.
To begin addressing that serious need, Councilman Costa Constantinides announced a proposal last Thursday to convert the Broadway Municipal Parking field, located between Broadway and 31st Street, into a residential building for affordable senior housing.
It’s the first phase of a multi-year plan to develop at least 500 new affordable apartments. The councilman aims to get it done before the end of his term in 2021.
“Making sure that residents can stay in their homes, in their communities, is important,” Constantinides said.
The councilman chose that city-owned parking lot, which is over 20,000 square feet, because it is large enough to include 100 to 150 affordable housing units. It is also conveniently located less than 100 feet from the N and W subway lines, as well as nearby supermarkets and shops.
The conversion would require that the site go through the city’s Unified Land Use Review Process (ULURP), which includes input from the community board, borough president and City Council.
Constantinides said the lot would also have to change hands from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to a senior affordable housing provider, and may require a zoning change.
And though drivers would be impacted by the loss of a parking lot, Constantinides said it’s important to provide seniors with an affordable place to live.
“I know that our neighborhood will be excited about this opportunity to improve quality of life for our seniors and all Astorians,” he said.