New apartment complex opening next to Holy Martyrs
By Vanessa Denha Garmo
Inside Holy Martyrs church last November both Fr. Manuel Boji and Nohra Hailo offered a sneak peek into the new residence being built next to the church in Sterling Heights. “It is an independent living residence,” explained Fr. Boji. “As long as one family member is 55 years or older, they qualify to rent one of the apartments.”
It’s been a few years since the Chaldean Diocese built a senior living facility. The first one – Chaldean Manor – next to the Mother of God Cathedral was built in 2000 with the second phase being built in 2002. There are 68 units at Chaldean Manor.
About 50 percent of the 98 units next to Holy Martyrs are leased and are priced at lower than market value. There are both one and two-bedroom apartments along with a deluxe room that has a bonus room. The units are available inside the three-story building set to open early 2019. The rooms range from 730 square feet to more than 800 square feet ranging from $750 to $975 a month. Water is included in the price. Each apartment is equipped with appliances, granite countertops, washer and dryer in a carpet-free environment.
“The community here is larger than the Southfield Location,” said Fr. Boji. “The need is greater here in terms of offering a senior living facility. We struggled in the beginning at the Mother of God Location. It was a new concept for us. There was this belief that people were abandoning the parents when in fact this offers more care for them. This does not mean the children are not taking care of their parents.”
Hailo, who will be moving her office inside the apartment complex and running the day-to-day operations, already has a variety of activities planned for the residents. “We are already creating a calendar for next year that will have monthly activities on it,” she said. “We will host cooking classes and exercise classes as well as religious classes.”
The calendar will be passed out to residents and displayed inside the dining room, Chapel and exercise room. The plan is to have activities every single day. Hailo has already reached out to various members to lead some of the activities.
She is also considering having cooking contests like who can make the best pot of dolma. “We can have so much fun and we plan to create a great living environment.”
The facility is equipped with a public kitchen with warming stations where events can be held. “We are planning for potluck nights where each resident cooks a different dish and we enjoy a meal together in the first-floor kitchen,” said Hailo.
She also has outside activities planned where she hopes to take field trips and bus tours such as a tour of Churches. “We want to keep our families busy and entertained,” she said. “We are creating a quality of life for them.” Hailo is also considering a bus tour to Frankenmuth, for instance.
Currently, there are Chaldeans living in Senior Living facilities in the area but they are not Chaldean owned. “This enables them to engage with their own community members. They are making new friends,” said Fr. Boji. “They can speak the language and enjoy our food and feel like they are living in one big extended family together.”
In addition to having a shared kitchen and exercise room, the facility has a chapel. “We plan on celebrating mass there, especially in the winter when it may be too difficult for some residents to walk over to the church,” noted Fr. Boji.
They had a meet and greet scheduled for last December and will have a ribbon cutting scheduled for this year. The grounds also include a community garden with a Stations of the Cross path.
A volunteer committee of community members with experience in the buildings and trades helped facilitate the project. The oversite committee members included:
Fr. Manuel Boji, Fr. Andrew Seba, Naji Abdal, Fadi Seman, Steve Kranjnik, Francis Boji, and Isam Yaldo. Architects for the project is GAV Associates, Inc. (Ghassan Abdulnoor). Construction management for the project is provided by K4 General Contractor, Construction Management is Jamal Kalabat and Aram Palanjian.