Improvements will begin soon at Covenant House

Improvements will begin soon at Covenant House

BY KEREN DOUEK, ASSISTANT EDITOR

Construction is scheduled to begin at Covenant House I on Aug. 14 to correct a design imperfection from when the buildings were first constructed with four separate wings and only one elevator in each wing.

The plan is to build pathways on each floor between the facing A and D wings and the B and C wings so that when the time comes to replace the elevators residents will have access to alternate elevators.

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“We are trying to improve a number of building systems and get started on the elevators, and we cannot do that without alternate access to each of the wings,” said Janet Weinberg, executive director of Covenant House.

When Covenant House was first built, 35 years ago, the average age of the residents was approximately 67. Today, the average age is approximately 85.

“The problem is that now if and when elevators go out of service, people in upper floors either need to be able to walk up or down or are stuck,” Weinberg said.

Weinberg said they are hoping to raise funds to upgrade and modernize the elevators. In the meantime, she said, the elevators are checked three times a year to make sure they meet all standards.

“We have done a lot of work on repairing current elevators, but we are very anxious to go to the next level of upgrading them as we have in the other two buildings (the second Covenant center and Chai Apartments) where we already modernized all of the elevators and components.”

The architectural firm of Levine and Associates and general contractor Robinson Quality Constructors have been hired to build the walkways. Work on the walkways is expected to take approximately three months for each set of buildings, with construction beginning on the A and D wings first, and construction on the B and C wings scheduled for May of 2007.

When construction begins on the A and D wings, the front doors of Covenant House I will be closed. Access will be through the garden door on the west side of the building.

Combined, Covenant House/Chai Apartments provides 432 subsidized apartment units for senior adults and the mobility-impaired.

The facilities are located on the I.E. Millstone Jewish Community Campus and are sponsored by the Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Center, B’nai B’rith Council and Jewish Center for Aged.

Community Housing Management Corporation manages the facilities and administers many support services provided by Community Aging Corporation (CAC), a charitable social service agency established to meet the needs of the housing’s elderly population.

Kosher meals, social programs and Adult Day Care are offered within the complex by the JCC. Residents must be at least 62 years old and/or mobility impaired and meet the income requirements of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Keren Douek is an assistant editor and can be reached at [email protected]