When he needed to move out of his house on 12th Street near Thompson, John Bowie made sure he stayed in Yorktown.
Bowie, 64, lived with his aunt in Yorktown for approximately 15 years before she needed to move to a nursing home, he said. In 2017, he moved to an apartment in Yorktown Arms Apartments, an affordable housing community for seniors that is set to be renovated as early as next year, thanks to a city grant.
Yorktown Arms, located on Jefferson Street near 13th, will undergo a “long overdue” renovation of most of its apartments and some common areas, said Jacob Peck, vice president of the Yorktown Community Development Corporation.
The planned renovation will include replacing appliances, like washing machines and air conditioning units, as well as making improvements to accessibility in apartment bathrooms, Peck said. The Yorktown CDC hopes to make the building’s lighting and water systems more energy efficient, he added.
Part of the 93-apartment building was built in the late ‘90s, and many appliances and fixtures in the apartments are nearing the end of their lives, Peck said. The other part, built in the mid-2000s, will be renovated later, he added.
“That’s a lot of capital expenditures, things that need to be rehabbed just so that we can preserve the building and continue to offer affordable housing to residents,” Peck said.
The project was made possible by a grant from the city’s Division of Housing and Community Development the Yorktown CDC received last fall, Peck said. The grant amount will not be announced until a cost assessment of the project is completed, but Peck expects the grant to cover 50-60 percent of the project’s cost, he said.
Construction could begin in 2021, Peck said. The project will take approximately six months to complete, he added.
To live in Yorktown Arms, residents must be at least 60 years old and make between 40 and 60 percent of the area’s median household income, as determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Peck said.
Approximately 100 residents live in the apartments, Peck said. Current residents are a mix of newcomers and longtime Yorktown residents who want to remain in the community, he added.
“A lot of our residents, a lot of Yorktown homeowners, when they become a certain age, they tend to come and move into the Yorktown Arms Apartments,” Peck said. “So that’s a really major part of the community.”
State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, whose district encompasses Main Campus, said he has benefitted from having his district office across the street from Yorktown Arms.
“I mean, the folks who live at Yorktown Arms are some of the most involved, engaged folks who have such deep ties, great wisdom,” Kenyatta said.
Yorktown Arms, with its easy access to transportation and nearby historically Black churches, is a “goldmine” for African-American seniors who want to live comfortably, Bowie said.
“The neighborhood has changed dramatically, but it’s still important to be able to age in place here in North Philly,” Bowie added.