Hamilton House, located just off Amsterdam Avenue on 73rd Street, was designed by the architectural firm of Schwartz & Gross and built in 1919 as a neo-Renaissance style hotel building. In its heyday, Hamilton House fit in beautifully with the style and atmosphere of Manhattan’s upper west side. But times changed and by the early 1970’s the Hamilton had become a notorious “welfare hotel.”
When the city wanted to shut the building down, some fifty community groups and tenant leaders organized to save it for low-income people in the neighborhood. Then, when the owner wanted to turn it into luxury housing, community groups successfully lobbied the city to transfer ownership to Project FIND for senior housing. Cobbling together funding from the City of New York and later the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Project FIND was able to secure this building as a permanent resource for affordable housing designated for older adults.
Today, Hamilton House has 174 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments for persons 62 years of age and older who earn less than 80% of Area Median Income. As of 2016 income for a single person can not exceed $48,350 and for couple $55,250.
In 2005 Project FIND received $9.7 million in loan and grant funding from the New York City Housing Development Corporation to refinance ownership and to embark on a large-scale capital improvement program. This included the expansion of life-safety systems, the installation of energy efficient lighting and emergency power generation, as well as the replacement of the elevators, windows and roof. The píece de resistance involved the beautification of the entrance and public lobby, including the restoration of the gorgeous Tennessee marble flooring that for 40 years had been hidden beneath the dreadful vinyl composition tiles.
Hamilton was also awarded over $120,000 from the NYS Energy Research and Development Agency to support a range of activities to reduce fuel and electric consumption.
The residents of Hamilton House have access to two full time social workers, funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. One of the key functions of the social work team is to monitor and respond to hospitlizations and temporary nursing home placements.
The Hamilton also has a large and active Senior Center in the building which uses a separate entrance.