The future St. Joseph’s Place, seen here in an architectural rendering, will provide 50 units of affordable senior housing, while marking the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s first senior residence in the suburbs. (Image courtesy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia)

Days after breaking ground on a new senior residence in South Philadelphia, an archdiocesan agency has unveiled plans to begin building its first suburban senior housing complex.

Catholic Housing and Community Services (CHCS) announced Aug. 18 that it has been awarded a tax credit totaling $12.5 million to develop St. Joseph Place, an affordable senior housing project to be located in Collingdale, Delaware County.

The funds, which will be allotted as $1.25 million in annual credits over the coming decade, were approved by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) on Aug. 13.

St. Joseph Place will be the sixth of its kind for CHCS, which provides a continuum of care to older adults throughout the five-county archdiocesan area.

A blend of tax credits, community development grants and funding from federal home loan banks and local lenders all combine to make CHCS senior homes possible.

In this case, additional monies for the development are being providing by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh’s Affordable Housing Program, the Delaware County Office of Housing and Community Development and private investment.

The project involves the substantial rehabilitation of the historic former St. Joseph’s Parish Elementary School and annex buildings, as well as the construction of a new addition to unify the two buildings.

Designed by Kramer + Marks Architects, the complex will ultimately provide 50 units of affordable housing for income-eligible seniors 62 and older.

In addition, CHCS and its partners will offer case management, health services and recreational activities for residents of St. Joseph Place.

Affordable senior housing and support services are critically needed, as experts predict a rapid aging of the nation’s population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, those aged 65 and older will outnumber children under the age of 18 by 2034, and by 2060, nearly one in four Americans will be at least 65 years old.

At the same time, many parishes find themselves seeking new life for underused parish buildings — a need that CHCS is poised to effectively address, said executive director Heather Huot.

“St. Joseph Place is a shining example of giving new life to church buildings that have served this community for decades,” said Huot. “These halls that once educated our children will now provide a safe, beautiful and affordable place for our seniors.”

Construction on the $18.5 million residence is anticipated to begin next summer.