Interfaith apartments generate praise

September 15, 2004|by TARA REILLY

Julia Humelsine pointed out the benefits of living in Francis Murphy Apartments - the exercise room, the hair salon, the safe environment, a bus stop on the property and the "lovely ladies" she's met.

"Of course, there's some gentlemen here, too," Humelsine joked Tuesday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for 56 units recently added to the apartment complex for low-income seniors.

The complex, with 120 apartments, is off Robinwood Drive near Hagerstown.

Interfaith Housing Alliance Inc. of Frederick, Md., built the $12.5 million apartment complex, which is managed by the Washington County Housing Authority.


"It has been a pleasure moving in," Humelsine said. "There's just so many things that we have that's a plus. So thank you."

Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, said he saw "a lot of shiny, happy faces" among residents of the complex.

He said the apartments provide a safe place for tenants to enjoy their retirement.

Many of the seniors who qualify to live in Francis Murphy Apartments are those who worked in places where retirement benefits were not offered or who have had their benefits disrupted by business closures, according to a written statement from Interfaith Housing.

Seventy-five percent of the tenants live only on Social Security, and more than half of the residents receive Section 8 assistance or other rental subsidies, according to the statement.

The apartments are named after the late Bishop P. Francis Murphy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, one of the founders of Interfaith Housing.

Craig Russell, Interfaith Housing board chairman, described Murphy as an honorable man with a passion for developing affordable housing.

Interfaith Housing President James Upchurch said if Murphy were alive, he would remind him that more work needs to be done to find affordable houses for low-income residents.

Upchurch said he expects the number of senior citizens to greatly increase in the area by 2030.

"When you're trying to make it on a little more than Social Security, it's very tough," Upchurch said.

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