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Victory One's Makeover
The Victory One rec room before the makeover
In the neighborhood of Harlem in New York City, some longtime residents—the ones old enough to remember the first Harlem Renaissance—are being priced out of their homes. Fortunately, they have Victory One, an apartment building for low-income seniors. "We provide affordable housing to people who aren't the target of the current real estate market," says Lucille McEwen, president and CEO of the Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, a nonprofit that offers housing, as well as educational and health services, throughout the neighborhood. "Most of the seniors come to us while they still have independent skills, and we link them with the services they need so they won't have to go into a nursing home."

Rents are scaled to what people can afford—as low as $118 a month. But that money doesn't buy a lot of space—one-bedroom units are only 389 square feet. So when residents want to entertain, they rely on the community room, which, according to 79-year-old tenant Eleanora Garrett, wasn't only an unpleasant space, "It was downright homely."