On July 24, Breaking Ground hosted state, city, and local government luminaries to break ground on the first building of what will eventually be a five-building, 1.1 million square foot development in the South Bronx with 992 units of mixed-income housing, a new 50,000 square foot YMCA, a television studio and a skate park! This first building in the La Central project will provide 160 units of supportive/affordable housing for a mix of formerly homeless individuals with special needs and low-income people from the area. As Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. remarked: “La Central will go a long way towards showing the rest of the world that we are back: we are no longer the Bronx of the seventies and eighties.”
The first La Central building is also notable for its funding: onsite services will be partially funded by the NYS’s new Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) in addition to service funding from HRA-HASA, making La Central among the first supportive housing buildings with ESSHI funding to break ground in the City.
Unfortunately, the groundbreaking took place amid torrential rains. Breaking Ground CEO Brenda Rosen, however, took the opportunity to remind attendees that, as uncomfortable as the speakers were huddled under the only available tent, “Imagine what it would be like to be homeless in the midst of this and what an opportunity this building represents.”
Other dignitaries who spoke at the event included Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas of NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR); Commissioner Samuel Roberts of NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA); Deputy Commissioner Molly Park of NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD); and CSH’s Jennifer Trepinski.
Comunilife CEO Dr. Rosa Gil echoed the Borough President’s remarks about the project saying, “La Central marks a new era for this neighborhood.” Comunilife will be providing onsite services in the building.
In addition to 160 units of supportive and affordable housing, the La Central supportive housing residence will also include a 4,500 square foot community facility space.
La Central has received capital funding from NYS Housing Finance Agency, NYS HCR, NYC HPD, NYS OTDA, Wells Fargo, and CSH. Wells Fargo is the syndicator. The building was designed by FXFOWLE Architects and MHG Architects. The general contractor is Monadnock Construction, Inc.| What's New, New York City, Groundbreakings
Within the past month, the House appropriations committee proposed flat-funding Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) programs for Fiscal Year 2018, while the Senate committee modestly increased HUD funding levels. These two proposals serve as starting points for budget negotiations between the two houses of Congress. Since none of the other budget committees have put forth proposals, it is unlikely that there will be further action on the Federal budget before the end of the fiscal year.
On July 17-19, one week after the House released their budget proposal, the Network joined forces with the National Alliance to End Homelessness to make 25 lobby visits with 40 advocates from across New York State. These meetings covered a variety of budget concerns as well as legislative issues. Members of the New York delegation were particularly supportive of the Tiberi-Neal Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. (The program is also referred to as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”) program). One of the many provisions of the legislation would allow for income averaging in LIHTC developments to help reach lower income tenants.
Thanks to all who participated and special thanks to our talented Princeton intern, Marcia Brown, who organized a special meeting, attended by both New Yorkers and Ohioans, with the Senate Banking Committee.| What's New, Federal
In 1994, I returned to my home town of Syracuse to help Central New York Services open the first upstate supportive housing residence. I was fortunate to have Housing Visions (HV) as a next door neighbor. HV had been buying and rehabbing multiple properties in the area, using the fairly new Low Income Housing Tax Credit to create neighborhood change. That’s how I came to know the brilliant work of Kenyon Craig, HV’s founder. I was fortunate to see our neighborhood change around us as these investments helped make run-down Greek Revival, Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts homes new again. Over time, the boarded-up, dilapidated and often vacant homes of East Genesee Street have been replaced by well-maintained homes and rising property values: so much so that HV can no longer afford to develop there (not that they need to)!has been transformed.
Housing Visions has continued to grow and innovate since those days, creating extraordinary residences like VanKeuren Square for homeless veterans or replacing an old public housing tower with beautiful garden apartments in another supportive housing development, Maple Heights.
After 27 years of success that began in a church basement in that same neighborhood Ken recently announced his retirement. Over the years, Ken and HV developed about 1,600 units of affordable and supportive housing across New York, from Niagara Falls to Albany, from Oswego to the Pennsylvania border. He showed me the amazing way affordable housing development can lead to community renewal.
I wish you well in retirement, Ken!| What's New, New York State, Member News
Please plan to attend the 2017 Network Gala on Wednesday, October 18th at Capitale. We have much to celebrate this year, so please save the date for this wonderful event!
We'll be honoring RuthAnne Visnauskas Commissioner & CEO of NYS Homes & Community Renewal as Government Partner of the Year, for her pivotal role in securing the state’s landmark Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative as well as her part in ensuring its swift implementation. We are also delighted to honor the decades-long contributions of Deutsche Bank as Private Sector Partner of the Year, including Deutsche’s creation of the innovative DB Share program and the bank’s longstanding support of both the Network and our nonprofit providers.
Our 2017 Gala Committee will be co-chaired by Hercules Argyriou of Mega Contracting and Ralph Fasano of Concern for Independent Living. This year’s Gala Committee includes Oliver Chase of Hirschen, Singer & Epstein, Mark Fuller of DePaul, Brenda Rosen of Breaking Ground, and William Traylor of Richman Housing Resources.
As usual, we will once again be honoring outstanding supportive housing tenants and residences and have just extended the nomination deadline for both to August 15th. Click here to nominate a residence, and here to nominate a tenant.
We look forward to seeing you and celebrating your achievements this October!
Hope you can join us!| What's New, Network Events
| What's New, New York State
The New York State Department of Health recently released SUNY Research Foundation’s cost evaluation and utilization evaluation of the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Supportive Housing initiative. The two reports are the first installment in a three-year study.
The House appropriations committee has approved a Transportation, Housing and Urban Development budget bill for FY 2018 that endangers desperately needed housing and homelessness programs. There is still time to influence members of Congress as the budget process continues in the coming weeks and months. See more about our current federal budget and policy priorities here.Continue Reading | Federal
On June 30th, a beautiful Friday before the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Concern for Independent Living celebrated the opening of a new residence in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. The newly constructed 90-unit residence stands on what was formerly a blighted lot. Concern Bergen includes 55 supportive housing units for people living with mental illness, including those who spent time in state psychiatric centers, and 35 low-income, affordable units for both individuals and families.Continue Reading | What's New, New York City, Openings
On June 6th, The Community Builders and Unity House held a ribbon cutting for Tapestry on the Hudson (“Tapestry”), a new affordable and supportive housing residence in Troy. The residence, a former collar factory, was converted into 67 apartments, including 19 supportive units primarily for families. Troy is known as the Collar City having been the one-time center of manufacturing for celluloid collars at the turn of the 20th Century.Continue Reading | What's New, New York State, Openings
June has been a busy month for the release of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in the New York supportive housing community. From services and operating, to capital, to congregate, to scattered site, our government agencies have all the bases covered. These RFPs are part of the initial push to meet the ambitious targets set by Mayor de Blasio (15,000 supportive housing units over 15 years) and Governor Cuomo (20,000 units over 15 years).Continue Reading | What's New, Funding
Opening a supportive housing residence entails navigating a maze of government agencies and processes. Many developers know the experience of holding their breath until they receive a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) from the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) while the clock ticks on a deadline set by investors. The good news: DOB has instituted changes to speed up review and inspection timelines.Continue Reading | What's New, New York City