It was the result of a five-year collaborative effort between residents and elected officials to find a new site after the former center was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
“So many people have looked forward to this day,” said NYCHA CEO Shola Olatoye. “Most importantly the residents here at the Red Hook Houses.”
Initially a vacant daycare center, the reconstructed site will serve almost 1,100 seniors. It features a new roof, kitchen, and exercise room.
Funds for the facility were provided by Councilman Carlos Menchaca and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who allocated $1.8 million and $1 million, respectively.
“There is no better way to mark the five-year anniversary than being able to come together as a community and reap the benefit of this great institution that has been built to last,”Velazquez said.
Menchaca said the facility is located outside the flood plain in case of future storms.
“This is the kind of work that we need our city to do for everything,” he said.
The former senior center was located in the basement of a NYCHA residential building until it was destroyed by Sandy five years ago.
“We were devastated,” said Lissette Sosa-Dickson, executive director of the senior advocacy group RAICES.
She explained they had to start fresh after the center lost all its equipment, computers and furniture. The center was relocated to the Miccio Center in Red Hook as a temporary site.
“It’s as if you’ve been living as a guest in one person’s house and now you have your own house, she said. “You can just imagine the excitement.”
Sosa-Dickson said the seniors were patient over the past five years, and that she was excited for them to transition into the new space.
“I’m just hoping that this will be a reflection of a new day and a fresh start for all of us to work together as a team and towards a common goal to provide quality service for all seniors,” she said.