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VALLEY FOCUS | North Hollywood

Low-Cost Housing Opens for Seniors

January 27, 1998|JOSE CARDENAS

Until last month, nearly all of Avram Marcovici's Social Security check went for the $700 he paid in rent in Los Angeles.

But earlier this month, the 84-year-old moved into a new, government-subsidized apartment complex in North Hollywood, where he pays only $184.

"I have more facilities here than in an expensive building," Marcovici said.

Marcovici is one of several tenants who have already moved into the 91-unit Golden Years Senior Apartments, which will hold a dedication ceremony later this week.

The project, coordinated by the nonprofit Tarzana B'nai B'rith, a Jewish community service organization, was funded by a $7.5-million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a $500,000 grant from the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.

The facility, which is already fully rented, was conceived as an effort to provide affordable housing for the area's large elderly population, said Lillian Burkenheim, a Community Redevelopment Agency staff member and the project's manager.

The Golden Years, a bright, four-story complex on Otsego Street near Magnolia Boulevard, has several senior-friendly amenities.

For example, the walls and carpets are color-coded by floor so residents won't get lost as they step out of the elevator; the bathrooms and bedrooms in each unit have emergency cords that tenants can use to summon help; and for seniors who like to garden, there are raised planting beds so they won't strain their backs and legs.

Applicants must be at least 62 and have limited incomes. Rent can be as high as $356 a month, but no more than a third of a person's income, officials said.

"I tell you something," said Marcovici, a retired electronics engineer. "I have been lucky."

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