Cypress Senior Housing

The city of Glendale held a grand opening ceremony for the Cypress Senior Living building on the 300 block of E. Cypress St. in Glendale on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / July 29, 2014)

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A once-dilapidated 1920s-era brick building in south Glendale will now have a new life as a home for low-income seniors and retired veterans.

Cypress Senior Living, a two-story building located at 311 E. Cypress St., features 18 units — six of which are reserved for elderly veterans — along with several amenities including a community garden and computer room.

The city of Glendale helped finance more than $1.4 million for the $4.8 million project, developed in partnership with Newport Beach-based Community Development Partners and nonprofit Integrity Housing.

At a grand-opening celebration held Tuesday, Glendale City Councilman and Housing Authority Chairman Ara Najarian said efforts toward creating more low-income housing for seniors had to change after the city’s Redevelopment Agency was dissolved, so remodeling became a more viable option than building something from scratch.

“As the funds got tighter, the Housing Authority looked at the feasibility of renovating the existing units,” he said.

More than 2,600 applications to live at Cypress were filed, and eligible applicants had to be at least 62 years old and make no more than 60% of the area’s median income. Rents vary from about $400 to $800.

One of the retired veterans who lives there is Jesus Gonzales, 85, who signed up for the Navy during World War II and spent three years aboard a submarine.

Tim O’Shaughnessy is another resident who has had active military duty, having served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

Recently relocated from Burbank, the retired Disney employee now counts on a wheelchair to get around, but his apartment is comfortable because it was made to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“My unit is delightful, it’s brand new … it’s convenient,” he said.

A mural was also painted on the side of a building next to Cypress Senior Living that depicts Amelia Earhart flying a plane that’s carrying a banner with a message thanking veterans. She’s shown flying from the then Burbank Airport and heading to Glendale.

Earhart is known to have flown planes out of Burbank, which is something O’Shaughnessy is glad to be reminded of every day.

“She was a local girl who flew out of here, so I thought that would be nice to look at that when I come outside every morning,” he said.