Alexander Severin Architectural Photography

WSFSSH at West 108 is providing a range of housing opportunities for vulnerable seniors and families on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

The 199-unit development features 119 supportive housing studios for people who were formerly homeless, including 60 for seniors with mental illness or substance-use disorders and 40 for frail or disabled seniors. Another 79 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments are for low-income families. In a striking show of demand, these 79 homes drew 60,000 applications. All units are at either 30% or 60% of the area median income, with tenant vouchers and project-based service funding enabling many residents to move in with much lower incomes.

The apartments in WSFSSH at West 108 are co-located with a new home for Valley Lodge, the 110-bed shelter for seniors that WSFSSH has operated on the block since the 1980s. This co-location creates a pathway for shelter clients to transition into supportive housing with shared resources between both sides of the building.

“This makes the project very unique in New York City, if not in the U.S.,” says Paul Freitag, executive director of the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH), explaining that affordable housing and shelters are usually separate developments. “The idea here is to think of shelters as part of the housing continuum and not something off on its own.”

Alexander Severin Architectural Photography

Furthermore, a Federally Qualified Health Center operated by the Institute for Family Health is set to open later this year to serve both residents and others in the neighborhood. WSFSSH at West 108 benefits the neighborhood in several other ways, including providing community meeting areas and a public restroom to serve an adjacent playground. Space was also created to station three ambulances that serve Central Park, says Anna Driscoll, project manager for real estate development.

To finance the $106.8 million development, WSFSSH assembled multiple sources of funding and created a condo structure for the permanent housing units and the shelter.