BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A senior housing development on the city’s East Side is a step closer to reality thanks to a $4 million grant from the state. Governor Kathy Hochul announced the award today.

The development is a partnership of Mount Olive Baptist Church and People, Inc. They are working together to build a 65-unit apartment complex in the Delavan-Grider neighborhood for low income seniors and those with special needs.

It is a vacant 1.3 acre lot today, adjacent to Mount Olive Baptist Church, but a little more than a year from now, church officials and their partners envision this as Mt. Olive Senior Manor — on Pastor William Gillison’s own drawing board for a long time.

“This is just a vision that he had in the early ’90s,” said Robert Mootry, chairman of Mt. Olive Development Corp. “And thank God that it is coming to fruition right now.”

Mount Olive’s development arm is partnering with People, Inc. — the largest non-profit agency in Western New York. Mount Olive Senior Manor would be a 65-unit apartment complex for low income senior citizens and those with special needs. Development officials assured neighbors earlier this year there is a need for this kind of housing.

“We want to build a place for seniors, especially in this day and time, many of them who are homeowners and come from all walks of life,” said Rev. William Gillison, the Mt. Olive pastor. “Maybe their properties and those responsibilities, they don’t want anymore, and they don’t want to move out of the community.”

Mootry said this kind of housing would be ideal for seniors who have experienced serious life changes, such as losing a spouse or partner. Maybe they are on a fixed income, or responsibilities of homeownership have become too burdensome — especially in a Buffalo winter.

“A lot of seniors have chosen to look for senior housing where they don’t have to worry about cutting the grass or snow plowing the driveway, or fixing up on some older properties,” he said.

Mount Olive Senior Manor is a $24 million project, and the state grant would cover about 1/6 of that. The property is still subject to cleanup as a brownfield site, and once all the pieces are in place, officials expect to break ground late next year.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.

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