Federation Housing, Inc. recently broke ground on a 54-unit apartment complex in Willow Grove.
The building will include affordable, one-bedroom apartments for people 62 and older, according to a news release. The Lindy Family Foundation gave a $1.5 million lead donation to make the project possible.
Federation Housing is naming the building Annabel Gardens after the Lindy family matriarch, Annabel Flesher Lindy. Flesher Lindy, who died in 2010, grew up in a housing project near the Willow Grove site. She also was the first female board member of Federation Housing.
Annabel Gardens should open in the fall of 2022, according to Eric Naftulin, the executive director of Federation Housing. Rental applications will be available in a few months.
“Providing high-quality, low-income housing for seniors is an important mission,” said Alan Lindy, who runs the family foundation with his two siblings. “The overall mission is something we’ve supported for many years.”
Lindy’s organization often funds this kind of project, but it doesn’t usually name them after people, he said.
This one, though, was different. It had proximity to his mother’s childhood home and to the cause she cared most about.
“The development was close to her roots,” Lindy said.
Annabel Gardens is designed to allow seniors to stay both independent and in place in their Montgomery County community.
The complex will have 56 parking spaces and a private shuttle to local grocery stores, doctor’s offices and malls. On-site, it will offer a community room, computer room, lounges, offices and outdoor space. The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is organizing a heavily subsidized lunch program.
“Serving those in need remains a priority focus for the Jewish Federation,” Jewish Federation President and CEO Michael Balaban said.
Federation Housing is reserving 33 units for households whose incomes do not exceed 50% of the area median. Six of those will be for people whose incomes do not exceed 20%. The remaining 21 will be for residents who do not bring in more than 60%.
Federation Housing is revitalizing blighted property, Naftulin said. Before, the site had six single-family homes that were boarded up.
“We took up the worst part of the block,” Naftulin said.
He also said that older, often-retired residents help the local economy. They have time to go out for meals and errands. All they need is transportation access, which they will have.
“We’re trying to embed ourselves in the community,” he said.
That statement doesn’t just apply to the economy, either. In other senior communities built by Federation Housing, residents have used their time to help schools.
Samuel A. Green House building tenants in Elkins Park have a pen pal program with Perelman Jewish Day School students. That gives seniors something important to do and kids access to older perspectives and life experiences, Naftulin said.
Perhaps most importantly, though, Annabel Gardens will give families peace of mind. People won’t have to worry about their parents or grandparents becoming lonely and detached, he said.
“Mom or dad lives in a place that is affordable and has services,” Naftulin said. “They aren’t sitting alone in an apartment staring out the window.”
That, according to Naftulin, is Federation Housing’s core mission: helping people enjoy their golden years, instead of going to facilities where “no one wants to go,” he said.
Naftulin noted that while the Lindy family was the lead donor for Annabel Gardens, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Montgomery County and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation also contributed.
Federation Housing runs 11 rental communities serving about 1,500 area seniors. The agency is a partner of the Jewish Federation.
“We are grateful to Alan, Elaine and Frank Lindy for making it possible for 54 seniors to live independently and with dignity in Annabel Gardens,” Balaban said. “A beautiful space named in honor of their mother.”
Annabel Flesher Lindy served on the board of Jewish Federation in addition to the board of Federation Housing. Late in life, she created Tribe 12, a local nonprofit that connects young Jews to Jewish life.
Annabel Gardens will reflect the life of service of its namesake, Alan Lindy said.
“It’s a classy apartment community,” he said.
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