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Miami Herald - Aug. 05, 2004

Apartment project officially kicks off today
By Trenton Daniel

Life is expected to get a little easier for some of Overtown's low-income senior citizens.

Retired Congresswoman Carrie Meek and other community leaders will formally kick off a construction project at 9:30 a.m. today for a 71-unit apartment complex at 330 NW 19th St. that will house low-income seniors -- a long overdue need for the community, sponsors said.

The three- to four-story buildings will bear the former congresswoman's name.

The idea for Carrie P. Meek Manor originated with the Jubilee Community Development Corporation and the Urban League of Greater Miami. The staffs of the two organizations wanted to provide housing for low-income Overtown residents who are at least 62 years old and are at or below 50 percent of the area's median income.

''We wanted to do right by Overtown by giving [residents] a nice building,'' Doug Mayer, Jubilee's director of development, said Tuesday.

Overtown has not seen any new elderly housing projects in some 30 years, Mayer said.

The 100 or so residents of the complex will have a 4,000-square-foot indoor recreation room -- spacious enough to hold all of them at the same time. The facility also will have a patio and each unit will have a balcony.

Mayer said funding is coming from several agencies for the project, which has a price tag in excess of $6 million.

The project was awarded a $6 million grant by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition, the project secured a $300,000 documentary surtax loan by the Miami-Dade County Housing Agency, a $123,000 grant from the city of Miami, and a $100,000 grant from the Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust, according to Mayer.

A $60,000 bridge loan is coming from the Greater Miami Local Initiative Support Corporation, a nationwide nonprofit, and a $50,000 loan is coming from the National Urban League.

The facility, which is scheduled to be completed by September 2005, will be owned by HUD and managed by ULGM Management, a nonprofit set up by the Urban League, which owns another senior citizens complex, Covenant Palms, at 8400 NW 25th Ave.

''This is a development that Jubilee and the Urban League are proud of,'' Mayer said.