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Monday, Oct 23, 2017
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Catholic Diocese, Tampa Celebrate New Senior Housing

TAMPA - Officials from Tampa and the local Catholic diocese dedicated an 80-unit apartment building Monday for low-income seniors whom Monsignor Laurence Higgins called "forgotten people." San Lorenzo Terrace was built on 8 acres owned by the Diocese of St. Petersburg with a $6.6 million federal grant and started accepting residents in January. It is expected to be full by the end of this month. The project is sponsored by St. Lawrence Catholic Church and the Diocese of St. Petersburg.
Work is expected to start early next year on a 68-unit building, on the same parcel immediately north of San Lorenzo Terrace on North Gomez Avenue, using a $9.7 million grant from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development. Construction should take about 14 months. The single-bedroom apartments are for low- and extremely low-income people 62 and older. The apartments are open to members of any faith. Rent is based on a resident's income, minus medical expenses. The maximum rent with HUD assistance would be 30 percent of a resident's income, said Bob Harlow with SPM Management, the company running the complex. The complex has a common area and is close to doctors, shopping and banking. The roughly dozen such housing complexes in the diocese won't meet the need for affordable housing for seniors, said Higgins, pastor emeritus of St. Lawrence, after the brief ceremony dedicating the building. "The elderly are our forgotten people," he said. "We have a tremendous obligation to these people who we owe so much." In addition to the federal grant, the city of Tampa offered a $500,000 grant that allowed builders to install a generator capable of running elevators and providing lights and air conditioning for the first floor. The city grant also paid to upgrade kitchen appliances in the 540-square-foot apartments and add sidewalks and impact-resistant windows. Tampa needs clean, safe and affordable housing for its seniors, Mayor Pam Iorio said during the dedication. "This is an example of what we need in this community, and we need a lot more of it," she said. "Tampa should be known as a place that provides quality housing, especially for the elderly."

Reporter Neil Johnson can be reached at njohnson@tampatrib.com or (813) 259-7731.

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