Senior citizens in Harrisburg will soon have a new option for affordable housing in the city.
Paxton Ministries broke ground today on Paxton Place, an $8.6 million development project on S. 20th Street near the Harrisburg-Penbrook border. The center will create 37 new, affordable apartments for senior citizens, along with common spaces and other amenities.
The project was financed by a federal tax credit through the Pennsylvania Housing and Finance Agency (PHFA.) Paxton Place was one of 39 recipients of a PHFA tax credit award this year, out of more than 100 applicants. It is the first project for low-income senior citizens that PHFA has financed in Harrisburg.
Paxton Place will sit directly across from the Paxton Ministry headquarters, where the agency provides housing to 100 low-income residents, many of whom have intellectual disabilities. Paxton Ministries also runs Paxton Cleaning Services, a workforce training program.
The plans for Paxton Place began six years ago, according to Paxton board chair Dale Laninga, at a time when the organization was looking to expand its ministries in Harrisburg. They focused on the issue of senior housing and decided to develop new homes and social spaces for elderly citizens on low incomes.
“We wanted this to be something special that would serve a large scope of needs,” Laninga said. “We learned what seniors need to stay active and healthy. Paxton Place will help them age in place and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.”
Paxton’s board began to secure financing in 2015. They obtained contributions from Mid-Penn Bank, Impact Harrisburg, Messiah Lifeways, UPMC Pinnacle and others, as well as loans from Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership and the Dauphin County Housing Trust Fund.
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank also made a contribution from its endowment, according to CPFB executive director Joe Arthur. CPFB will host cooking demonstrations in the Paxton Place kitchen to show residents how to prepare healthy, nutritious meals on a low budget.
According to Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse, Paxton Place is joining a number of new, desperately needed affordable housing projects in the city.
This summer, Papenfuse joined other local leaders at the ribbon cutting of the HUB veteran housing complex in Uptown Harrisburg. Meanwhile, the city continues work on the MulDer Square revitalization project, which will renovate single-family homes and apartments near Mulberry and Derry streets in Allison Hill.
“We have a bit of a housing crisis in the city of Harrisburg, and there’s not enough quality, affordable housing in any of our neighborhoods,” Papenfuse said today. “Projects like this one give people options they didn’t have before.”
Construction on Paxton Place is expected to conclude in fall 2019.