A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday at TMM Family Services in midtown to make way for 17 new affordable senior living units.

Manuel and Rosa Feliex, three year residents of TMM, were in attendance at the ceremony, sharing their personal story of facing the challenges of affordable housing during a tough time in their lives.

“First and foremost, we thank God for opening this situation to us,” remarked Manuel, in Spanish, as he reflected on the struggles they encountered while seeking affordable housing.

Before relocating to TMM, the Feliex couple underwent a months-long search for an affordable dwelling that could also accommodate Rosa’s battle with rheumatoid arthritis.

“Prior to coming here, we were living in a small studio smaller than a standard studio and it was so crowded for what my wife needed,” Manuel explained.

Their application was approved on the same day they applied, providing them with a newfound sense of security, particularly given Manuel’s fixed income as a retiree.

“If we don’t have a home, how can you sustain anything else?” said TMM President and CEO Christie Lee.

Since making TMM their home, the Feliex family has enjoyed a significantly improved quality of life, with more than a dozen older people eventually being able to do the same.

“Everyone deserves to have a home with dignity, and that’s what we have here,” Lee said. “We’re developing a whole community.”

This strong sense of community is something that Manuel and Rosa are eager to continue as they prepare to welcome their future neighbors.

“We will get them involved in the community,” Manuel stated. “We need to treat each other as friends and with respect so we can have a close-knit community here at TMM.”

Groundbreaking will take place Friday and last about a month. The following year will then involve the permitting process.