Many were the prayerful and lofty words spoken before Thursday morning’s ribbon-cutting at Holy Cross Manor II.
What resonated most with some residents at the new affordable housing community for low-income seniors was simple.
This was more than a federally funded project, unit, or development, said John Hazelroth, a Diocese of Venice consultant.
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Home to Vi Polley, Louise Zook and Nelson and Blanka Rosa Olmeda
“I raised five kids and my husband divorced me, so I kind of bounced around for 12 years. I was like a vagabond,” said Polley, 67. “Now I feel like I’m home. I love my apartment. I love the people here. It works for me.”
Home for Zook, too.
“The last place I was at was getting a little rough,” the 81-year-old said. “Everybody’s kind here.”
And home for the Omedas, married 42 years.
“It’s a blessing,” the wife said. “We’re so happy.”
They are among 48 residents at the three-story, 68-unit building opposite the older Holy Cross Manor I. Both are situated across 26th Street West from Holy Cross Catholic Church.
It was an $8 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for residents 62 and older who meet income eligibility criteria.
“It’s the best program HUD has for seniors,” said Bob Harlow, a construction specialist with SPM LLC, the property manager. “Residents typically pay 30 percent of their income and HUD pays the rest.”
Among the dignitaries who spoke at Thursday morning’s dedication was Bishop Frank Dewane, who blessed the new building.
“We are all individually called to take care of our brothers and sisters in need, but the church also must respond in a more profound way -- in this case for elderly people who have a right to not just have a place to live, but be part of a larger family, to not be alone,” he said.
The Rev. Marcial Garcia echoed that sentiment.
“This is great for the elderly to have a home, a place to live with dignity and love,” said the new Holy Cross pastor. “They’ve been working hard their entire life and at the end need a place to rest and live in peace.”
Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant, who also spoke at the ceremony, wished there were more such communities.
“There are so many seniors who are by themselves and need an environment with a little more nurturing,” she said. “It gives these people hope there are these facilities that allow them to have a real home and a sense of security they wouldn’t otherwise have.”
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.