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The Network’s Capacity Building Initiative

09.19.2017


The Network's recent panel on the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI).

Ever since last year, when the state and city committed to create 35,000 new units of supportive housing in two separate initiatives over the next fifteen years, the Network has focused on supporting our community in meeting this unprecedented opportunity. 27,500 of these units will be single-site. The state’s commitment of 20,000 of these units – the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) –  will be developed through an annual statewide RFP process, while New York City’s 7,500 single-site units – part of NYC 15/15 – will be developed through an open, rolling RFP. The total number of units is three times that of any previous commitment.

The Network has embarked on a multi-year Capacity Building Initiative for our nonprofit community. Last winter, we surveyed members to gauge their interest in developing supportive housing and to identify any  impediments to the process. The results of this survey pointed us towards the types of trainings, convenings, and connections our nonprofit members needed to move forward.

In the first eight months of 2017, we convened our state partners for an ESSHI question and answer session which was attended by 100 members of our community. In February, we piloted  a small, hands-on training on how to structure a joint venture with representatives from ShermanLaw, Bank of America, and Richman Housing Resources. Throughout the spring, we presented at various forums to help faith-based organizations partner with affordable and supportive housing developers, including a gathering we hosted with the Mayor’s Center for Faith and Community Partnerships. Eight of our annual conference workshops were aimed at helping the supportive housing community implement NYC 15/15 and ESSHI.  And in July, we held our first Joint Venture ‘mixer’ – bringing together for-profit developers and nonprofits interested in partnering to develop supportive housing…in a bar!

Over the next several months, we will be holding a number of events across the state on topics including financing a tax credit deal, joint ventures, and HCR’s unified funding process. While we will be sending out specific invitations to each of these events, we wanted to keep you abreast of what we’re planning to offer.

We would love to hear your thoughts on what else the Network could do to help us all meet our collective vision: ending chronic homelessness in New York State through the creation of sufficient supportive housing.

The Network would like to thank our funders for the Capacity Building Initiative, without their support this work would not be possible: Bank of America, Capital One, Deutsche Bank, New York Community Trust, the Oak Foundation, Robin Hood, and the van Ameringen Foundation.

| What's New, New York State, New York City, Network Events


Comunilife and NYC Health + Hospitals Break Ground on Comunilife Woodhull

09.01.2017


Breaking ground on Comunilife Woodhull.

On August 16th, elected officials, funders, and other partners joined Comunilife and NYC Health + Hospitals to break ground on a new supportive/affordable housing building on the campus of Woodhull Hospital.

Of the residence’s 89 studio units, fifty-four will be set aside as supportive housing for patients of NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull who have behavioral health issues and a history of homelessness.  The other 35 units will be available to low-income individuals.

The building will include a multi-purpose community room, a community kitchen, a laundry room, bike storage, and a computer room. The property will feature a 2,400-square-foot landscaped backyard, as well as a 2,300-square-foot front yard along Park and Throop Avenues.

Woodhull Hospital CEO Gregory Calliste opened the program congratulating the health and housing stakeholders on bringing the project to fruition. He introduced NYC Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio who remarked, “Health does not happen within the four walls of a doctor’s office, it happens foremost at home. These supportive housing units will go a long way to helping the residents who live here be their healthiest selves.”

Dr. Palacio was followed by Comunilife’s Board Chair & CEO, Dr. Rosa Gil, who noted that the project had been a dream for many years.

Stanley Brezenoff, Interim President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals commented “Our mission is reflected in this building and our commitment to the community.”

“This development will have the power to transform lives,” said New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas. “I am proud to join our fellow partners in the public and private sectors who combined their dedication and expertise on behalf of the 89 residents who will call Comunilife Woodhull their home.”

Other distinguished speakers included NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)’s Emily Lehman, Council Member Robert Cornegy, NYS Assembly Member Tremaine Wright, Council Member Antonio Reynoso as well as Deputy Borough President Diane Reyna and a representative of Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez's office.

Funding for the project came from NYS HCR and NYC HPD. Hudson Housing Capital was the project syndicator, and Sterling National Bank and Chase were lenders.  New York State Energy Research and Development provided additional grant funding. On site supportive services will be funded by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and provided by Comunilife. Monica Lopez Architects is the project architect and Mega Contracting will provide general contracting services.

| What's New, New York City, Groundbreakings


Breaking ground at La Central

08.03.2017


Breaking ground at La Central.

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


Concern Bergen Opens in Brooklyn

07.10.2017


Cutting the Ribbon at Concern Bergen.

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.

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| What's New, New York City, Openings


Faster DOB Review for NYC Supportive Housing Projects

06.27.2017

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.

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| What's New, New York City


Norwood Terrace Opens

05.23.2017


Cutting the ribbon at Norwood Terrace.

More than 80 partners, staff, tenants and well-wishers gathered May 19th to celebrate the opening of Norwood Terrace, a new affordable/supportive residence developed by B&B Urban and Concern for Independent Living in the Norwood section of the Bronx. The 115-unit residence features a library, a computer lab, and a roof garden in addition to its mix of efficiency, one, two and three bedroom apartments; the building is now home to formerly homeless individuals as well as families and individuals from the community.

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| What's New, New York City, Openings


A Happy Housewarming for Henry Apartments

05.22.2017


Watering the new garden at SUS’ Henry Apartments.

On a sunny May morning, Services for the UnderServed celebrated the opening of  Henry Apartments, a beautiful new supportive housing development, in Ocean Hill, Brooklyn, co-developed with Alembic Community Development. The new development, consisting of two neighboring six-story buildings is named after community leader Stan Henry, who, for more than forty years, was the owner and operator of a hardware store that occupied one corner of the development site.  As described by Alembic’s Benjamin Warnke, “Mr. Henry worked tirelessly to acquire the long-vacant lot adjacent to the store and to complete this project, the latest chapter in a lifetime of service to the neighborhood.”

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| What's New, New York City, Openings


Dedication of Columba Kavanagh House’s Frances E. Ficklen Lounge

05.15.2017


Frances E. Ficklen in an earlier era.

On Friday April 28th, Columba Kavanagh’s GEMA Hall dedicated their new tenant lounge to a former tenant Frances E. Ficklen surrounded by the tenant’s family members. Tragically, the family had lost touch with Ms. Ficklen due to the onset of mental illness and only found her name associated with GEMA Hall years after her death. The family members found peace in the knowledge that Ms. Ficklen had died peacefully in her sleep surrounded by caring staff and tenants.  

Ms. Ficklen’s sisters and cousins attended the ceremony and spoke passionately about Frances who had been doing fieldwork in Martinique after earning her Master’s degree in Anthropology when she experienced the onset of mental illness. The redecorated tenant lounge – financed as part of the building’s Year 15 refinancing, reflects Frances’ love of the Caribbean.

| New York City, Openings


Westhab’s Gracious Gouverneur Place Apartments Opens in the Bronx

04.28.2017


Cutting the ribbon at Gourverneur Place Apartments.

On a blustery April morning, Westhab opened a gracious new supportive housing residence, Gouverneur Place Apartments, in the Bronx. The residence features 68 units: 50 efficiency apartments for people with mental health challenges and 17 one, two, and three bedroom apartments for low-income individuals and families. Westhab is based in Westchester and has many supportive housing residences in that area – this is their first residence in New York City.

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| What's New, New York City, Openings


Dedication of the Bishop Thomas Daily Residence

04.18.2017


Dignitaries at the dedication ceremony of Bishop Thomas Daily residence.

Some fifty partners, well-wishers and illustrious members of the Archdiocese of Brooklyn and Queens gathered to celebrate the dedication of one of New York’s earliest supportive housing residences as the newly refurbished Bishop Thomas V. Daily Residence on April 5th. First opened in 1985 by Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation, the former grammar school recently underwent a gut rehabilitation turning its SRO units into efficiency apartments, updating the building systems and adding six additional apartments!

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| What's New, New York City, Openings


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