Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson (left) speaks with Msgr. Paul Kennedy, pastor of St. Katherine of Siena Parish in Philadelphia, and Millie, a resident of Nativity B.V.M. Place, an archdiocesan senior housing complex in the city’s Port Richmond section, Nov. 22. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Flach)

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson toured an archdiocesan senior housing facility on Nov. 22, noting that he was pleased to see how HUD funding has benefited the area’s older adults.

During his visit, Carson joined staff from archdiocesan Catholic Housing and Community Services (CHCS) at Nativity B.V.M. Place in the city’s Port Richmond section. Located in the former Nativity B.V.M. parish school, the 63-unit residence (which opened in November 2015) is one of five CHCS housing communities that offer seniors affordable apartment living with a range of social support services.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson (center) met with archdiocesan officials during a Nov. 22 visit to Nativity B.V.M. Place, one of several affordable senior living facilities created by the Archdiocese throughout the city using federal, state and private funding. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Flach)

CHCS provides a full-time, on-site social service coordinator for residents, while Presby’s Inspired Life — an independent, faith-based organization that serves seniors — manages the properties, offering 24-hour emergency call services for building issues.

Other CHCS residences include Norris Square Senior Housing (also known as Casa Carmen Aponte) in North Philadelphia, St. Francis Villa in the city’s Kensington section and St. John Neumann Places I and II in South Philadelphia.

In total, the CHCS facilities house over 260 low-income seniors, with rental fees scaled to accommodate residents’ resources. Major funding for the projects is provided by a blend of tax credits, grants and loans from local, state and federal partners.

Key to the financing of the homes is HUD’s Section 202 program, which provides capital advances for the construction, rehabilitation or purchase of properties that can be transformed into supportive housing for low-income seniors. Section 202 funds also create rent subsidies to make the housing affordable for clients.

Carson got an inside look at a Nativity B.V.M. Place apartment and chatted briefly with its resident. Afterward, he surveyed the Nativity B.V.M. Senior Community Center, a new facility in the residence that offer opportunities for socialization, recreation, physical exercise, education and nutritional support. The center, which is open to both Nativity B.V.M. Place residents and area seniors, was officially blessed and dedicated earlier this month.