ELMIRA, NY (WENY) - AIM Independent Living is partnering with CDS Housing to bring affordable housing to seniors and people living with developmental disabilities in Elmira.

A development will be built on the site of McNaught Field on the southside of Elmira. It will have 50 units, total. 40 of the units will be set aside for seniors, 55 and over, who make 50-60% of this area’s median income. The other 10 units will be set aside for individuals with developmental disabilities.

The Affordable Housing Manager for CDS Housing, Ray Wetherbee, says the development will fill a critical need for housing options.

“Many people don’t understand that there’s a kind of housing crisis in America right now. Tens of millions of people can’t afford to pay their rent, or they’re rent burdened, which means they spend more than 40-50% of their income on rent every month,” says Wetherbee. 

“So here, people struggle in Elmira, as well. This affordable housing development is here to help with that,” Wetherbee adds.

AIM Independent Living will provide on-site support services for residents of the building.

John Zick, Director of Government and Public Affairs for AIM Independent Living says they are expecting great things from the new project.

“Part of our mission is to make sure seniors and people with developmental disabilities can live integrated lives in the community, so they aren’t kind of locked away and segregated. Having these populations together in pretty busy neighborhood, we think it’ll be a great fit. This property will be a great neighbor to everybody,” says Zick.

CDS Housing has received $11.87 million dollars in state funding to move forward with the project. 

“[The funding] speaks to the need. It lets you know that the state recognizes there’s a need for this kind of project here in Elmira,” says Wetherbee.

CDS Housing built a similar development in Webster, near Rochester, which has already shown success.

“A lot of the seniors seem to partner up, and become friendly with the individuals living there, help them out with their day-to-day needs. We even see where some walk around and they’re kind of attached at the hip. The seniors seem to enjoy that. It gives them something to do during the day to help out some of the special needs individuals,” says Wetherbee

Construction is slated to begin in October. Leaders are hoping to open the building in the fall of 2018.