The National Council of Senior Citizens, Inc. has received a $6.5 million loan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to build a housing complex in Marlow Heights for elderly and handicapped persons.

The residential community will include 160 one-bedroom apartments, a community kitchen and dinning room, lounging rooms and outdoor recreation area and will be near the Marlow Heights shopping center and public transport. Hugh Layden, deputy executive director of the NCSC, said the complex will provide a "place for living, not just places for sleeping. This will put the elderly closer to their surroundings and in contact with things."

The nine-story building on Bedford Lane off Saint Barnabus Road will be on approximately 25 acres and will be limited to low-income persons over the age of 62. Rents will be subsidized through another HUD program that will allow residents of the complex to pay only 25 percent of their incomes in rent.

NCSC applied for the loan in June with the support of Sen. Paul Sarbanes, the Maryland Council of Senior Citizens (MCSC) and the Prince George's Council for Senior Citizens (PGCSC).

"We're real happy about this," said one member of the MCSC. "We are glad we are getting the recognition and that we are finally getting the government to pay attention to seniors."

The complex is the 10th residential community for senior citizens that the NCSC has designed with HUD funds.Three housing units are now under construcion, and six others are in planning stages in New Hampshire, California, Arkansas and Florida.

NCSC was formed in 1961 to lobby Congress on Medicare and now has more than 3,800 senior citizens councils nationwide with more than 3.5 million members. The group works with local affiliates such as the MCSC and the PGCSC, Layden said, "trying to make things better for older people and ultimately for all of us."