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Health-Minded Affordable Housing Design Boosts Tenant Well-Being: Developer

(DNAINFO)  Amy Zimmer | January 31, 2017 — A Brownsville complex is tackling public health issues using smarter building designs.

A developer in an asthma-ridden section of the South Bronx noticed something unusual about one of their smoke-free, eco-friendly affordable housing buildings in the area.

The Eltona, Blue Sea Development’s first LEED Platinum building, had a lower rate of rent delinquency than other buildings in the company’s portfolio, according to firm co-founder Les Bluestone, who has been upping the ante when it comes to design features focusing on physical, social and mental health since constructing that building in 2009.

“Rent delinquencies are still not uncommon in our buildings, but we did notice that as a percentage, our first LEED Platinum building,” he said, “had a lower rate of delinquency because of medical reasons.”

Blue Sea hopes its latest project, Ocean Hill-Brownsville’s Prospect Plaza, will provide a model for affordable housing, showing that healthier buildings lead to healthier residents and better financial outcomes for developers — and the firm invited researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to gather evidence.

“It is common knowledge that low-income populations are the most vulnerable to medical issues for a host of reasons and that it doesn’t take much to put a family into arrears when it comes to medical expenses,” Bluestone said. “Paid [sick] leave in New York City now helps, but actual doctor and medication expenses are still out of reach for many low-income or formerly homeless families.”

Prospect Plaza — part of which opened this summer — will eventually have 400 units spanning five buildings across three blocks is the first building to be certified as part of the Active Design Verified initiative, created by the New York-based nonprofit Center for Active Design and the the Washington, D.C.-based Partnership for a Healthier America (whose honorary chair is Michelle Obama).

Source: Health-Minded Affordable Housing Design Boosts Tenant Well-Being: Developer – Brownsville – DNAinfo New York