Posts Tagged ‘The Birches at Esopus’

Resident Profile – Ruth Rosu

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Ruth Rosu loves to paint. She’s been interested in painting all her life – from the time she was a very young girl to her golden years. But, it was only about 15 years ago that she really started enjoying her hobby.

More than five years ago, she was living in Daytona Beach, Fla., taking care of a friend who had had a stroke. She had painted while staying with him to keep him company. It was a way to pass the time together, she said. When he passed, Rosu wanted to be closer to her two daughters, who live in Saugerties and Stone Ridge. So, she moved back to Ulster County.

Ruth Rosu at The Birches at Esopus

Ruth Rosu designed and painted this tugboat to reflect The Birches at Esopus. The tugboat was featured in a Memorial Day Parade and was later auctioned off for charity.

With a desire to paint landscapes, she discovered that she wanted to live on a property with more scenery. She was inspired by the Hudson River views and landscapes, making Birchez communities the perfect home. “I wanted to have that magnificent view,” she said.

Today, Ruth lives at Chambers Court – where her cottage overlooks the woods. Those woods are often the subject of her paintings. “I love the trees. I love to paint them.”

Why did she move to a Birchez property? “I think it’s the way seniors should be living,” she said.

Specifically, she likes that Birchez offers her a community of senior citizens who she can talk with, relate to and socialize, housing that is built with seniors’ safety in mind and are beautiful inside and outside, and activities such as craft club, garden club, movie club, social club, book club and Bible study.

Now that Ruth has friends at all Birchez locations, she visits each community regularly. For example, she goes to The Birches at Esopus each Thursday to visit their crafts studio and gallery as part of the Busy Bees Crafters group and on Monday afternoons you can find her in the crafts studio at Chambers.

She has primarily painted in oils and has done some watercolors. She even volunteered to design and paint a tugboat for the Tugboat Trail Festival. The tugboat was designed to reflect the style and look of The Birches at Esopus community. The tugboats were featured in a Memorial Day Parade and later auctioned off, with the proceeds going to charity. The tugboat is now on display at the gallery in Birches at Esopus. Now, she is experimenting more with craft painting, painting boxes and trying different techniques. “I must be getting brave in my old age,” she laughed.


Affordable Senior Housing – High Quality, Lower Price

Monday, November 4th, 2013

As seen in the February 2013 issue of Hudson Valley Magazine

Birchez in Hudson Valley MagazineMaryann Banks and her husband, William, are in their early 60s. Maryann has been living on disability since 1980, when she had to give up her job as a chambermaid because of a bad back and arthritis. William has been working at a garage in Albany for 33 years. Their apartment, located on a crime-ridden street in Kingston, had a leaky roof and often ran out of heating oil in the winter. Once, Maryann recalls, the temperature inside fell to 33 degrees, which only made her arthritis worse. “But there was nowhere to go because the rents were high,” says Maryann. “I almost had a nervous breakdown.”

At length, she found a solution: affordable housing for seniors. For the past two years the couple has been living at the Birches at Esopus, an 80-unit community overlooking the Hudson River. “It changed my whole life,” she says. They pay around $900 a month in rent, which includes their utilities.

Affordable senior housing — which is not the same as Section 8 government-assisted housing — is enabled by a combination of low-interest loans and low-income housing tax credits for the operators. Birchez Associates owns Birches at Esopus, as well as four similar facilities in the Valley; the firm hopes to get three more up and running this year. The demand is simply overwhelming. “The waiting lists are significant,” says founder and managing partner Steve Aaron. “I could take the waiting lists and fill the 72 units of my new property without doing any outreach. It’s becoming obvious that we’re going to be full all the time.”

At Esopus, the minimum age requirement is 55 — as opposed to 62, which is standard at most affordable senior housing facilities. Rents range from $664 to $961 for one- and two-bedroom apartments. Income (retirement funds and Social Security payments) may not exceed $31,080 per year for a household of one, or $35,520 for a household of two.

In the deal, residents also get extensive amenities and services — like a fitness room with a trainer, a media room, and a senior advocate — as well as access to additional support or care, provided by service partners typically covered by Medicare or Medicaid. In 2010, Birches at Esopus was honored as New York State’s Affordable Housing Project of the Year.

As far as the Bankses are concerned, their new digs far outstrip their old ones. “Where we were was a nightmare,” says Maryann. “Here we feel safe, and I have a lot of new friends. It’s the kind of place where people will visit, but they also won’t bother you if you don’t want them to.”


Birchez Associates Continues to Strive for Excellence with Opening of New Resident Craft Studio and Gallery

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Going far beyond what’s required for affordable housing communities, Birchez Associates is known for its strong commitment to the properties it develops, often adding a number of unique amenities that make residents truly feel special.

In August, the company demonstrated this commitment once more with the grand opening of a craft studio at the Birches at Esopus, an award-winning senior living community in Esopus. The studio, dontated by Birchez founders Steven and Judy Aaron, offers a central place for residents to explore their creativity, as well as an opportunity for a club called “The Busy Bee Crafters” to display its wares onsite to support additional projects and local causes.

“Being a part of the club and sharing our talents with the community gives us a sense of purpose,” said Marie Shultis, a founding member of the Crafters. “Steve and Judy [Aaron] have provided us with a gift. Everything they do for their properties has created a way of life.”

Craft Room at Birches at EsopusWhile impressive, the craft studio at the Birches at Esopus is just one example of the company going above and beyond the norm at its properties.

Founded in 2002, Birchez Associates strives to find solutions to the shortage of housing for those who need it most in the Hudson Valley. Its team prides itself on offering high-quality, affordable housing to senior citizens, veterans, and workforce families. The company currently manages five properties throughout the region, and it continues to add value to communities long after they open.

Ever since Birchez Associates launched, the Aarons have emphasized this commitment to excellence, providing a greater overall quality of life for residents. To make this happen, the company adds amenities usually reserved for high-end, gated community-style retirement living, while maintaining the affordability of its units.

In taking this approach, Birchez provide residents with amenities that they would enjoy in their own home. The newly opened craft studio, for example, creates a better sense of community at the Birches at Esopus, serving as a welcoming space that encourages seniors to step out of their apartments and into a more social setting. The property also features a community club area, movie theater, bocce ball court, fitness center, library and game room, where residents can gather and socialize throughout the day.

Birchez has been praised throughout the Hudson Valley for their commitment to excellence at each of their affordable housing properties. In addition to a number of amenities, the company’s properties provide aging-in-place opportunities and feature a wide range of green initiatives. As a result of its efforts, hundreds of seniors in our local communities have been able to enjoy more fulfilling, interactive lives.

“Long after the Birches at Esopus project completion, Steve and Judy continue to demonstrate their love and commitment to the seniors in our community,” said Esopus Town Supervisor John Coutant.

Birchez Associates manages affordable housing properties in Kingston, Saugerties, Ulster and Esopus.


Come join our community!

Friday, May 18th, 2012

The Birches at Esopus, an independent and affordable living community for individuals 55 years and older, is now accepting applications for our one and two bedroom units.

Don’t just visit! Call The Birches at Esopus your new home. Take a peaceful stroll and relish the views and soft breezes of the majestic Hudson River. Relax at one of the gazebos or patio areas, tastefully and strategically placed in the charming landscape.

Our unique location provides easy access to the Library, Town Hall, Restaurants and Shopping.

Don’t drive? No Worries!  We are on the Kingston City Bus line, which makes frequent daily stops outside our spacious atrium.

Amenities: Heat and Hot included; Wall-to-wall Carpet; Spacious Closets; Emergency Pulls in each Unit; Large, Secure Storage Area Per Unit; Fitness Center, with Instructor; On-site Laundry Facilities; Closed Circuit Security System; 24-hour Maintenance Service; Craft Room, Library & Game Room; Large Community Room; Media/Theater Room; Outdoor Patio with Gas Grill; Bocce Ball Court; Off-street Parking; On-site City Bus Transportation

Don’t Delay! Come join us for a tour of Ulster Park’s best kept secret — you won’t want to leave! 

The Birches at Esopus

35 Dick Williams Lane

Ulster Park, NY 12487

(845) 338-6173


Travel article features resident of The Birches at Esopus

Friday, April 8th, 2011

The Poughkeepsie Journal on April 6th covered the three-day Travel conference that focussed on the mid-Hudson River Valley as a tourist destination. Looking for ideas for The Birches at Esopus Residents’ Club was Mary Jackson, who was pictured speaking with Captain Jeffrey Pyle of Empire Cruise Lines in Poughkeepsie.

The event was sponsored by two of the region’s group travel-related companies, Hudson River Valley Tours and Destinations of New York State, and drew tour operators from as far as Ottawa, Canada. Judging from the buzz, we’ll see many of the tour operators back with full buses and boats in the not so distant future.

The Birches at Esopus is one of four affordable senior housing communities built and managed through Birchez Associates. For more information, www.Birchez.com

For the full article, click here. PS: knowing Mary, she’ll be available for autographs!

picture credit: Darryl Bautista/Poughkeepsie Journal


Baby Boomers & Digital Media

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

With our last two communities, The Birches at Esopus and The Birches at Chambers, we made a statement in the senior affordable housing arena by adding fully equipped computer labs. Residents can take classes on using the internet, internet safety and more. And rather than incur the cost of an internet service, residents can check on their Facebook page for free at the computer lab. We admit we were ahead of the curve, but we’re seeing more interest — especially with grandparents checking in with the grandkids.

The implications for baby boomers in the social media market are huge. So we thought we’d share what Mashable, a top source for news in social and digital media, had to say about this phenomenon. As author Jamie Carracher puts it, boomers “will challenge us to rethink how we use the web and how we engage older people with newer technologies”.

Seniors are among the fastest growing demographics for online usage. And connecting with friends and loved ones is one of the primary drivers to get seniors to embrace digital media. Searching for information, especially about health issues, drug interactions, and more is helping seniors and their caretakers help themselves. For the full article click here.

K.J. McIntyre, Director of Marketing, Birchez Associates kjmcintyre@birchez.com


Spring Expo shows off Birchez Associates

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

This year’s Lions’ Club Expo at the Hudson Valley Mall featured a new participant: Birchez Associates. Shown to the left with our booth are Teri Sola, Property Management Compliance, and Cheryl Meehan, Property Manager at both The Birches at Esopus and The Birches at Saugerties. Throughout the two day event we were also represented by Judy Fitzpatrick, Senior Property Manager, Paul Watzka, Director of Community Affairs, and K.J. McIntyre, Director of Marketing.

Last but certainly not least, the one and only Alice Tipp, Senior Advocate for The Birches Communities, held court for several hours on Sunday. After her 30 years in the legislature and over five years with us, Alice is known far and wide. One couple who stopped by, married for over 50 years seemed to take almost more pride in their voting record for Alice from the beginning of her career in public service.

One unexpected treat for the staff was the number of residents who stopped by, frequently showing off photos or stopping to point out parts of the videos being shown to their friends and family. We hope that many of our visitors will in fact submit applications so that we might add them to the wait lists. Sooner you are on the list, the sooner a spot might open with your name on it! If you didn’t make it to the mall, stop by one of our communities (call first to assure a tour and application will be ready for you). Just click on the communities tab or one of the community photos on the home page for contact information.

K.J. McIntyre, Director of Marketing, Birchez Associates, kjmcintyre@birchez.com


Baby Boomers: How a Retiring Generation is Keeping Community and Wellness in Mind

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Kingston, 11/10 by Meghan Zanetich

Active Adult Communities (AAC) are continually changing and upgrading the concept of amenities, offering more to potential residents than ever before. These days, the 55-and-better community is taking notice, and choosing to retire in places where they can continue to live full and enriching lifestyles.

In these communities “active” is the operative word. It is active participation by the residents that is attracting attention. “There has been much more focus on personal control in your life,” says Barbara Devine, personal trainer at The Birches at Chambers, one of five Birchez Associates, LLC, communities. She says that people are looking to improve their quality of life, and physical activity is a huge part of that. “Workouts give people a chance to socialize, talk, and most importantly, gain confidence,” Devine says.

In addition to a fitness studio, The Birches at Chambers offers a community room, media room, computer lab, crafts room, and library, all with full accessibility to residents like 63-year-old Candace Belles. “All of the amenities are geared to keeping you active as possible – one of the reasons I wanted to be here,” Belles says. She was recently elected activities chair and says that people are taking interest in developing clubs and participating in many things.  Bus trips to the Monticello Casino and Raceway and the Eastern States Exposition Fair in West Springfield , MA, are being planned, in addition to movie nights and dance lessons. “Dancing is very big around here – we’ve even had salsa dancers come to our community room,” Belles says.

While most activities are done on-site, a lot of residents’ hard work is sent off into the community. Groups will gather to weave and embroider lap blankets for local hospitals, or even to become foster grandparents in the community, like Belles does. The range of activities in most of these communities is based around your state of mobility, but many places offer buses for non-driving  residents. . .

As the baby boomers redefine the “golden years,” this active generation will once again start a trend of what retirement can really mean.  As they downsize their homes and downshift from corporate careers, they will continue to live a life full of socializing, educational, athletic and service-oriented activities, wellness, and fun. In addition to the lifestyle they will continue, or begin, in an AAC, the 55-and-better  demographic will see longer days while keeping a sense of community in their life.

Photographs with captions: top left “At The Birches at Esopus, residents meet in the two-storied foyer as they wait for a ride into town, allowing them to spend time with the others in the community.”

middle right: “A fully-equipped fitness studio staffed by a skilled trainer at The Birches at Chambers allows residents to build strength and gain confidence, while improving their health and wellness.”

bottom left: “Residents at The Birches at Chambers gather in the media room to watch classic films and independent movies produced in the Hudson Valley.”

Excerpted from the full article, Baby Boomers: How a Retiring Generation is Keeping Community and Wellness in Mind, in the Boomer’s Guide to Living 2010 published by Schein Media (Kingston, NY)

The publication is currently available by clicking here.


Redefining Affordable

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Kingston, 11-10 by Kim Plummer

Over the past few years there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of affordable housing developments being built throughout New York State. For aging boomers seeking affordable housing, the key is to start looking early, do your homework, and reach out to local agencies, sources say.

Ken Harris, senior policy analyst for New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (NYAHSA) says the decline in this sort of housing can be attributed to increased costs and zoning issues. “A lot of housing that needs to go through zoning changes is finding opposition from neighbors in many cases,” Harris says. “It’s a recent trend that’s difficult.” . . .

When looking for affordable senior housing, one should keep in mind that affordable housing can still be very competitive with market-rate housing as far as amenities go. A lot of people believe the more you pay, the more services you get, but that’s not always the case, Harris says.

Housing is unique; amenities, transportation services, and communities vary quite a bit, even in the realm of affordable housing units. Harris suggests people do their homework when searching for affordable housing; one element he finds particularly important to seniors is an onsite service coordinator.

“The service coordinator is sort of like a linchpin between the resident and services in the community,” Harris says. “They can help the resident find resources in the community – everything from Medicare, Medicaid, help with information, and supportive health services.”

Currently, The Birches at Chambers in Ulster and the Birches at Esopus in Ulster Park are two ADA-compliant, affordable housing facilities resembling market-rate housing. Amenities in the average rental price of about $750 per month include fitness trainers in the onsite fitness studio, a movie theater, community rooms, a library, fully equipped computer labs with Internet access, and craft rooms. Additionally, The Birches at Chambers is anticipating LEED Platinum certification and has been certified as a NYUSERDA Energy $mart Building. “It’s not what people expect to see for affordable housing,” says K.J. McIntyre, director of marketing for Birchez Associates, LLC.

Most recently, Birchez Associates has received initial funding from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York to build affordable senior housing onto the Elant campus, a nursing home in Fishkill. This will be another ADA-compliant facility. “With the service of Elant close at hand, we can offer additional home health and nursing care as needed, while our residents continue to live in their homes, as opposed to the nursing home environment,” McIntyre says.

Birchez Associates also owns and manages two additional affordable senior housing communities. Chambers Court, completed in 2004, provides cottage-style one- and two-bedroom apartments adjacent to The Birches at Chambers in Ulster. The Birches at Saugerties is another affordable senior community completed in 2006 with 60 garden-style apartments. . . .

Seniors who need assistance finding affordable housing can contact their local Office for the Aging, where they can be provided with additional consultation about affordable housing as well as Active Adult Communities that specially reserve units for affordable housing.

Photo: The Birches at Esopus

Excerpted from the full article, Affordable Housing Trends: Redefining Affordable, in the Boomer’s Guide to Living 2010 published by Schein Media (Kingston, NY)

The publication is currently available by clicking here.


Meet the Candidates

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Ulster Park, October 16, 2010: The Residents of The Birches at Esopus welcomed the candidates for the positions of Town Councilperson and Highway Superintendent for the Town of Esopus. On the panel were incumbent Kyle Barnett and his opponent Robert Wenzel vying for Town Councilperson, and the current Highway Superintendent Al Larkin and his challenger former Esopus Fire Chief  Mike Cafaldo.

At the Saturday afternoon forum, candidates had the opportunity to present their backgrounds and what they bring to the position they sought. Audience members were free to question the panel of candidates — which they did with questions on the budget, on what the role of town councilperson consists of, street lighting, and more senior housing in the area, among other topics.

Showing support for the process were Town Clerk Diane McCord, Town Councilperson Gloria vanVliet and Town Councilperson Donna McAuley, all of whom joined in as information resources during the Q&A portion of the program.

Picture upper right shows Councilperson candidate Wenzel addressing the group. In the picture to the left incumbent Kyle Barnett speaks with a resident after the formal presentation. To left of Barnett is Town Clerk Diane McCord.