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Nonprofit Develops Affordable Housing for Low-Income Seniors and Special Needs Individuals in Albuquerque

Photograph of a three-story apartment building on the corner of a street with a colonnade above the sidewalk.CUATRO, a new affordable housing complex for seniors in Albuquerque, was designed to encourage pedestrian activity through features such as a covered portal walkway and sidewalk improvements. Credit: Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership

In August 2016, the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership (GAHP), a nonprofit that constructs affordable housing, celebrated the grand opening of CUATRO, a 56-unit affordable housing development for low-income individuals over age 55 and individuals with special needs. The project helps address the city’s high demand for senior housing — the vacancy rate for senior housing properties in Albuquerque is 1 percent, and many properties have waiting lists as long as 24 months. In addition, the city of Albuquerque estimates that the number of residents over age 60 will triple by 2040. As the first multifamily senior affordable housing development in the Wells Park neighborhood, located on the North Fourth Street corridor, CUATRO was an opportunity for GAHP to further the city’s goals of promoting walkable, transit-accessible development as well as creating opportunities for community-oriented living for older, downsizing households.

CUATRO

CUATRO is composed of two 3-story buildings connected by sky bridges to a 4-story building, which has a rooftop deck with a view of the mountains and downtown Albuquerque. The design of three buildings allows more light into the units and enabled GAHP to receive three separate certificates of occupancy so that residents could move into the southern portion of the property while the northern portion was still under construction. The buildings contain 13 efficiency units, 23 one-bedroom units, and 20 two-bedroom units, ranging from 481 to 931 square feet. Seventeen units are reserved for households earning up to 30 percent of the area median income (AMI), 11 units are for households earning up to 50 percent of AMI, and 27 units are for households earning up to 60 percent of AMI. One unit serves as an onsite managers’ unit. Five units comply with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, with one unit containing special features for hearing-impaired residents and one unit with features for visually impaired individuals.

CUATRO’s amenities include a community kitchen, an onsite food bank, gated parking, a fitness room with a shuffleboard court, a bike storage room, individual resident storage, and a multipurpose community room. Outdoors, residents can access an herb garden with planting beds at sitting and standing heights, a putting green, and two courtyards. The property received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification through green features such as drought-tolerant landscaping, rooftop solar panels, and permeable paving in the parking lot. The property is located less than two miles from the North Valley Senior Center, which is accessible by bus, and within a half-mile of other neighborhood amenities such as a bank, restaurants, and outdoor recreation facilities.

CUATRO was financed primarily with approximately $10 million in low-income housing tax credit equity. Other sources of financing included the Albuquerque Department of Family and Community Services and the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority.

Serving the Needs of Seniors

Photograph of a room with a kitchenette and several tables and chairs with Halloween-themed paper tablecloths. CUATRO residents frequently utilize community space to host social events such as holiday parties. Social service providers also host classes and workshops on site, as well as deliver free food. Credit: Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership

Charles Joslin, housing development manager at GAHP, believes that affordable housing should be more than just housing; GAHP is dedicated to providing continuous support for residents after the housing is built. GAHP partners with several nonprofits to coordinate a full suite of social services to help senior residents who may struggle with food insecurity or maintaining their health. An onsite social services provider works with local organizations including Roadrunner Food Bank, First Nations Community Healthsource, the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, Catholic Charities, and the Albuquerque Department of Family and Community Services to deliver services at the property. These services include cooking classes, health screenings, financial literacy classes, and free food delivery, which consists of fresh produce distributed every two weeks and dry and canned goods distributed monthly.

GAHP Helps Promote Walkable Development

The North Fourth Street corridor, located just north of downtown Albuquerque, has long been dominated by land uses catering to automobiles; the CUATRO site was formerly home to a car dealership, and several auto repair shops and car dealerships are located on adjacent lots. In 2010, the city of Albuquerque adopted a redevelopment plan to transform the area into a major residential and commercial corridor for entering and exiting the downtown area. The redevelopment plan established a form-based overlay zone with requirements for lot layout, building form, landscaping, and other urban design elements meant to encourage higher land use density and pedestrian-oriented development.

GAHP, which has a long history of working closely with the city, was eager to help implement the redevelopment plan while developing CUARTO. GAHP recognized that transit access and walkability were essential for low-income households, who may not own a car. As a result, GAHP provided several pedestrian improvements to the site, including a covered portal colonnade along the front façade facing 4th Street, newly constructed sidewalks ranging in width from 6 to 16 feet, and a transit shelter for the bus stop located in front of the building. The building’s decorative masonry adds visual appeal to the streetscape, and large glass windows along the first floor facing 4th Street enhance the sense of security on the street. As one of the first redevelopment projects along the corridor, GAHP hopes CUATRO will be a catalyst for further development.

Photograph of a group of people standing in front of a building as a woman cuts a red ribbon with a large pair of scissors. CUATRO officially opened in August 2016, and is currently fully leased. Developer Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership invited new residents to the grand opening ceremony to cut the ribbon. Credit: Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership

Creating a Sense of Community

CUATRO is currently fully leased, with a waiting list that is usually two to three times longer than the number of available units. The community-oriented design of the property and onsite service delivery through GAHP’s nonprofit partners has encouraged a significant amount of social interaction among residents. According to Joslin, residents have taken on a sense of ownership of the property, organizing frequent social events such as Zumba and tai chi classes, a Halloween party, holiday lunches, and barbeques. GAHP’s close relationship with area nonprofits and the city inspires residents to cultivate strong ties with their neighbors and the greater community.

Source:

Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. n.d. “Our Goal.” Accessed 17 October 2017; Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. n.d. “News and Events.” Accessed 17 October 2017; Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. n.d. “Cuatro: under construction.” Accessed 17 October 2017.

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Source:

City of Albuquerque Planning Department. 2017. “Albuquerque & Bernalillo County Comprehensive Plan, Chapter 9: Housing,” 7, 14, 15. Accessed 17 October 2017; Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. n.d. “Cuatro: under construction.” Accessed 17 October 2017.

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Source:

Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. 2014. “Design Competition Narrative: CUATRO, Albuquerque, NM,” 1. 30 January. Accessed 17 October 2017; Interview with Charles Joslin, housing development manager at the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership, 13 October 2017.

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Source:

Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. 2014. “Design Competition Narrative: CUATRO, Albuquerque, NM,” 6, 8, 10. Accessed 17 October 2017; Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. n.d. “Cuatro: under construction.” Accessed 17 October 2017; Interview with Charles Joslin, housing development manager at the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership, 13 October 2017.

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Source:

Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. 2014. “Design Competition Narrative: CUATRO, Albuquerque, NM,” 2, 6. Accessed 17 October 2017; Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. n.d. “Cuatro: under construction.” Accessed 17 October 2017; Interview with Charles Joslin, housing development manager at the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership, 13 October 2017.

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Source:

Interview with Charles Joslin, housing development manager at the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership, 13 October 2017; Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. 2014. “Design Competition Narrative: CUATRO, Albuquerque, NM,” 2, 6, 12. 30 January. Accessed 17 October 2017; Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. n.d. “Cuatro: under construction.” Accessed 17 October 2017.

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Source:

New Mexico Mortgage Finance Agency. 2016. “2014 Housing Tax Credit Awards for the State of New Mexico.” Accessed 17 October 2017; Interview with Charles Joslin, housing development manager at the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership, 13 October 2017.

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Source:

Interview with Charles Joslin, 13 October 2017.

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Source:

City of Albuquerque Planning Department. n.d. “North Fourth Street Rank III Corridor Plan,” 1. Accessed 17 October 2017; City of Albuquerque Planning Department. n.d. “North Fourth Street Background and Resources Materials,” 44. Accessed 17 October 2017; Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. 2014. “Design Competition Narrative: CUATRO, Albuquerque, NM,” 1. 30 January. Accessed 17 October 2017.

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Source:

City of Albuquerque Planning Department. n.d. “North Fourth Street Rank III Corridor Plan,” 5, 13. Accessed 17 October 2017; Interview with Charles Joslin, 13 October 2017.

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Source:

Interview with Charles Joslin, 13 October 2017.

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Source:

Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership. n.d. “Cuatro: under construction.” Accessed 17 October 2017; Interview with Charles Joslin, 13 October 2017.

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Source:

Interview with Charles Joslin, 13 October 2017.

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