Apartment 2K at LaGuardia Houses Addition is not the average studio apartment: it’s a space where residents of the senior development receive the social services and maintain the community connections that help them live independently.
LaGuardia Houses Addition is home to almost 200 residents ages 55 and up – many are Chinese and have limited English proficiency; most rely on Social Security, SSI, and pensions.
Open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, the office in 2K is staffed by Grayson Lin, Senior Resident Advisor in the Family Partnerships Department. He helps residents fill out forms for recertifications for SNAP, Medicaid, and Medicare; makes phone calls for transportation or medical appointments; visits residents at their apartments when needed; and much more.
Mr. Lin speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, and English, and a major part of his day is translating written materials from English to Chinese: “Probably about 80 percent of the people living here are Chinese and they don’t read any English, so things like bank statements, Medicaid letters, all kinds of mail, they don’t understand.”
LaGuardia Addition is one of 11 NYCHA developments featuring the Elderly Safe-At-Home (ESAH) program. ESAH provides on-site social service assistance and crime prevention and intervention services to seniors. Residents can drop by during office hours, receive referrals for needed services, and participate in meetings and workshops that address safety, healthy living, nutrition, home care, and benefits.
Mr. Lin has worked in this role since February 2019. In addition to being multilingual, what makes him perfect for the job is that he is also a NYCHA resident, having lived at LaGuardia Houses for almost seven years.
“As a resident, I already know some of the protocols that I can help residents with, and because I live close by, if there’s any kind of emergency I could come over really quick.” He feels good knowing he’s helping his fellow community members and said it’s nice to sometimes bump into the residents he assists after hours and on the weekends.
ESAH also includes floor captains, seniors who volunteer to serve as the eyes and ears for their neighbors. Fai Chan, 83, a LaGuardia Addition resident for 26 years, is a floor captain as well as captain of the floor captains. He’s been volunteering since he retired from the food service industry at 65.
Mr. Chan said he informed NYCHA that seniors at the development needed a Chinese speaker: “We needed someone who could speak multiple languages to serve the seniors, so they could have a better life.”
Mr. Chan said the ESAH program helps seniors maintain relationships with their neighbors and get a helping hand, when needed.
Richard Rosado, 67, became a floor captain because he loves to help and interact with people. The former doorman has lived at the development for two years and enjoys working with Mr. Lin and Mr. Chan and translating for Spanish-speaking residents. He thinks that Mr. Lin is doing a marvelous job.
“Seniors want to stay here, this is your home,” Mr. Rosado said. “If Grayson were to leave and we didn’t have services here, where would people go for help? They need help, they don’t speak English. And coming here, it’s like coming to their grandson or their son.”
LaGuardia Addition’s ESAH program is located at 282 Cherry Street, Apt. 2K, New York, NY 10007. The Elderly Safe-At-Home program is also located at:
- Boston Road Plaza, 2440 Boston Road, Bronx, NY 10467
- Bronx River Addition, 1350 Manor Avenue, Bronx, NY 10472
- Butler Houses, 1402 Webster Avenue, Bronx, NY 10456
- Courtlandt Avenue, 372 East 152nd Street, Bronx, NY 10455
- Jackson Houses, 799 Courtlandt Avenue, Bronx, NY 10451
- Morris Houses, 3663 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10003
- Randall-Balcom, 2705 Schley Avenue, Bronx, NY 10465
- Marcus Garvey/Reverend Brown Houses, 1630 St. Marks Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11233
- UPACA 5 and 6, 1940 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10035
- Latimer Garden/Leavitt Houses, 139-10 34th Avenue, Queens, NY 11354