Wells Manor celebrates 30 years of helping fixed-income seniors




Rhinebeck – An anniversary celebration was held for Wells Manor on Tuesday, July 11, marking 30 years of offering affordable housing to seniors and people with disabilities.


The 74-unit housing complex opened in 1987 by Northern Dutchess Hospital to provide independent living with supportive service. Hospital officials recognized a need for affordable senior apartments close to healthcare services.


“Wells Manor represents the hospital’s longstanding commitment to the elderly and its responsiveness to community need,” said Lewis Ruge, hospital board president and 42-year board member. He addressed 75 attendees – residents, hospital affiliates and politicians – at the anniversary luncheon held under a tent on Wells Manor Lane.


It took five years to plan and three years to build with a price tag of $3.7 million. On July 11, 1987, a dedication ceremony was held four months after the first tenants moved in.


Today, the hospital-sponsored development is fully occupied with a waiting list of about 50 names, complex manager Tracey Sikula said. Rent is 30 percent of the tenant’s adjusted gross income. Rental eligibility is less than $31,300 in income for an individual.


There is a Social Center, community garden and laundry facilities. Transportation is provided, along with art and exercise classes and monthly educational programs, a flu-shot clinic and more.


“We are very proud of our staff and enjoy the rewarding work we do, caring for our residents,” Christopher Carr, Wells Manor spokesman, said.


Wells Manor was funded in part by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development under its Section 202 program. The program provides affordable rentals so the elderly can continue to age in place with dignity and independence, according to HUD’s website. From 1985 to 1988, nationwide there were about 69 projects built and 45,000 units created, according to HUD.


The 22.7 acres off Astor Drive where Wells Manor sits were donated to Northern Dutchess Hospital by Caroline Thorne Wells in 1967. She suggested using the property for the elderly.


“For more than a century, Northern Dutchess has been helping seniors live as healthfully and independently as possible through progressive projects like Wells Manor,” hospital President Denise George said. “Many thanks to the former hospital officials and board, who had the foresight and fortitude for seeing this project through.”


For general information, visit www.healthquest.org/wellsmanor or call Sikula at 845-876-8053 (TTY: 800-421-1220).