KAI joined the Urban League of Metropolitan Saint Louis Aug. 9 to officially break ground on the organization’s new Senior Apartments and Community Center in North St. Louis County. The 40,000-square-foot facility will be built at 9947 West Florissant in the City of Dellwood. KAI is providing Design-Build services on the project.

The Urban League of Metropolitan Saint Louis’ mission is to empower African Americans and others throughout the region in securing economic self-reliance, social equality and civil rights. The organization is committed to investing in the continued redevelopment of the West Florissant Corridor through Dellwood and Ferguson. This new development will give seniors in Dellwood not only the opportunity to live in a brand new building but to also have easy access to many services and programs offered by the organization, including the popular Senior Empowerment Series.

The $10 million, three-story building will include 44 resident units (40 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units), plus a community room on the main level for 12-15 people and a resident lounge with kitchenette and restrooms. The main level will also include a private managers office, reception area, workroom and shared access to the community room. Construction on the building is expected to be completed in December 2022.

At a time when the shortage of affordable housing in communities around the United States regularly makes the headlines, another less-visible housing crisis is also intensifying, says KAI CEO Michael Kennedy, Jr. The number of elderly people with ‘worst case housing needs’—defined as renters with low incomes who do not receive government housing assistance and pay more than one-half of their income for rent, live in severely inadequate conditions, or both—is increasing rapidly. Nearly 10 million households with an occupant over age 65 spends more than 30 percent of their income on housing; roughly 5 million of those households spend more than 50 percent.

“The growth in the population of Americans aged 65 or older is projected to reach nearly 73 million in 2030, and more than 83 million in 2050, which means that senior households increasingly will be renters,” said Kennedy. “Resources for housing and supporting our aging population are scarce in relation to the scope of the problem. To the Urban League and its board members and donors, the Missouri Housing Development Commission and Michael Gardner and his team at Gardner Capital, St. Louis thanks you; this community thanks you; and I thank you for partnering with KAI to bring seniors in this community this much needed project.”  

Presenters at the groundbreaking ceremony also included Urban League President & CEO Michael P. McMillan, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, St. Louis County Council Chair Rita Heard Days, City of Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones and Missouri State Senator Brian Williams.