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Creating Urgently Needed Affordable Senior Housing for Suburban Rockland County, New York

Aerial view of low-rise apartment buildings arranged around a pentagonal courtyard.
Four seniors in an apartment complex community room.
A walking path connecting several two-story apartment buildings.
Exterior of a single-story octagonal building.
People seated at the outdoor dedication ceremony.


Home > Case Studies > Creating Urgently Needed Affordable Senior Housing for Suburban Rockland County, New York


Creating Urgently Needed Affordable Senior Housing for Suburban Rockland County, New York


As of 2021, Rockland County, New York, had the highest incidence of rent-burdened households in the state outside of New York City, 20 miles to the south. According to HUD’s Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy data from the 2016–2020 American Community Survey, 23 percent of renter households in the county spent between 30 and 50 percent of their income on housing costs; an additional 31 percent of renter households were severely cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing costs. The area has limited rental opportunities, which presents particularly acute affordability challenges for income-limited seniors who rent. Rockland County’s senior population is 153 percent greater than that of the state overall and 46 percent greater than the national average. During the 2010s, the county’s senior population increased by approximately 36 percent.

To help address this challenge, the Sisters of Charity Housing Development Corporation (SCHDC) partnered with Rockabill Development to create Vincent’s Village, an affordable housing development for seniors aged 55 years and older in the hamlet of Nanuet within the Rockland County town of Clarkstown. Founded in 1998 by the Sisters of Charity of New York — a community of Catholic women that traces its New York roots to the establishment of an orphanage in 1817 — SCHDC and Vincent’s Village continue the Sisters of Charity of New York’s long history of supporting social justice causes. SCHDC creates and manages affordable and transitional housing for seniors, people who have experienced homelessness, and individuals living with mental illness or other disabilities.

Vincent’s Village

Vincent’s Village is built on the site of the former Saint Agatha’s Home for Children, an orphanage that opened in 1884 on a site still owned by the Sisters of Charity of New York; in fact, one Vincent’s Village resident had lived at the orphanage as a child. Two decades before completing Vincent’s Village, SCHDC opened Seton Village, an affordable housing development for seniors consisting of 106 affordable units. Matthew Janeczko, SCHDC president and chief executive officer, states that, at the time, SCHDC envisioned an eventual second phase for the project. Opening in May 2021, Vincent’s Village is the realization of that long-held ambition. Reflecting the area’s need for affordable senior housing, Vincent’s Village was fully leased within 4 months of opening, says Janeczko.

Of the development’s 93 units, 81 are one-bedroom units and 12 are two-bedroom units. Eligible residents must earn no more than 60 percent of the area median income. Forty-five of the units at Vincent’s Village are reserved for frail elderly residents, with 35 of those units set aside for residents receiving social services funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative. Seniors in these units are determined to be at risk of homelessness, are enrolled in Medicaid, and have difficulties with activities of daily living that make independent living hazardous but do not require 24-hour nursing home care. Development costs for Vincent’s Village totaled nearly $42.6 million (table 1). Financing from New York State includes nearly $7.5 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds and approximately $14.4 million from the Supportive Housing Opportunity Program offered through New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The sale of federal low-income housing tax credits generated approximately $14.7 million in equity.

Table 1. Financing Sources for Vincent’s Village

Low-income housing tax credit equity $14,716,684
Tax-exempt bond proceeds 7,450,000
Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program 846,400
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Supportive Housing Opportunity Program 14,359,000
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Supportive Housing Opportunity Program (accrued interest) 604,649
Seller’s note (accrued interest) 470,000
Sponsor loan 294,383
Seller’s note 2,350,000
Deferred developer fee 1,497,147
Total $42,588,263

Vincent’s Village consists of five buildings, three of which are two-story residential structures and two of which house the fitness room, computer room, and space for service delivery. The buildings were constructed in a barn vernacular style that reflects the built environment of upstate New York and are arranged around a courtyard that serves as a village green, facilitating community among residents. Janeczko says that, in designing Vincent’s Village, the architect prioritized the creation of a bright space with common areas as well as walkability, noting the importance of robust social interactions to maintain seniors’ physical and mental health while aging. Green features at Vincent’s Village include an energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system; Energy STAR®-certified appliances and lights, and low-flow plumbing. These green features earned Vincent’s Village a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Supporting Seniors in a Communal Environment

Services for residents include social programming in addition to regular case management. The onsite staff at Vincent’s Village includes two full-time social workers, two full-time case managers, and a building superintendent. Having the development’s superintendent live on site, Janeczko says, can be especially important in a senior project, where residents are more likely than younger people to need prompt assistance with building issues. The health and wellness services Vincent’s Village offers focus on preventative care to reduce the need for treatment in hospital emergency departments as well as the future need for nursing home services.

In addition to the courtyard, other communal spaces enhance residents’ social lives. For example, SCHDC sponsors Vinny’s Café, which offers residents free, donated sundries and some food items. The café also serves as a social hub where residents meet for coffee or board games. Social programming includes bingo nights, chair yoga, and holiday parties.

Today, Vincent’s Village is helping Clarkstown address the need for affordable senior housing that the town identified in its comprehensive plan. Because Vincent’s Village was such a high-priority project, SCHDC and the town worked closely to shepherd the project through the approval process. Janeczko credits the strong support of local officials and first responders for the creation and ongoing success of Vincent’s Village and notes that the local transit agency contributed a bus stop, connecting residents to a nearby supermarket and the downtown area. Vincent’s Village is helping seniors live in the community affordably and with the supportive services needed to thrive.

This article was written by Sage Computing, Inc, under contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The contents of this article are the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or the U.S. Government.