Comunilife Opens the El Borinquen Residence


Comunilife Opens the El Borinquen Residence image


On October 21st, Comunilife joined local and project partners to celebrate the opening of the El Borinquen Residence in the Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx. This new affordable and supportive housing residence is named after the indigenous name for Puerto Rico. Of the 148 units, 90 are supportive apartments including 29 for youth aging out of foster care and 61 for formerly homeless adults with special needs. On-site services are provided by Comunilife funded by the NYS Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI).

The building emphasizes the importance of art in health and recovery and features a ground floor mural by local artists Aurelio Del Muro and Marta Blair, based on the poem by celebrated Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos entitled “Rio Grande de Loiza.”

Comunilife President and CEO Dr. Rosa M. Gil, expressed pride in the new residence and said, “This building is a crown jewel for integrating the arts into supportive housing development. It is filled with joy, color, vitality, and inspiration. These are all essential components for healing and people transforming their life. At Comunilife, we are thrilled to enter this new era of supportive housing design and development where quality of life is informed and impacted by the peace, inspiration, and sensibility that art, beauty, and culture can create. Cultural sensibility has been at the core of every initiative we have ever done, but a project of this massive scale brings it to a whole new level.”

State Senator Luis A. Sepulveda also spoke “Over its 33-year history, Comunilife has pioneered the concept of culturally-sensitive supportive services, housing and healthcare in New York City.  This development will fast become pride of The Bronx and all of New York.” 

Council Member Althea Stevens remarked, “I am beyond excited for the introduction of El Borinquen to Morrisania. This amazing investment is vital in the progression of quality life in our community. With its unique approach to fully integrate arts and culture, while providing equitable mental health services, it will be an amazing asset for our community members.”
New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas spoke and said "El Borinquen is a concrete investment in a stronger, healthier, and more equitable Bronx for the future. Thanks to Comunilife, 148 households now have a safe and stable home with access to the care they need to achieve their goals and improve their health outcomes."

New tenant Robert, spoke about having his first apartment and all that it means to him. He said because of his new home, he can see a very successful future.

Remarks were also provided by: Bronx Deputy Borough President Janet Pequero, NYC HRA’s Ryan Murray, Richard Roberts of Redstone Equity Partners, Sharmi Sobhan of JPMorgan Chase, Patricia Hernandez of CSH and Comunilife Board Chair Marlene Zurack. Board Treasurer Jason Torres emceed the event. 

Building amenities include multiple community rooms, computer lounges, a senior activities room, outdoor patios and gardens, indoor recreational areas and on-site laundry. 

Funding for El Borinquen came from Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, NYS HCR, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Supportive Housing Loan Program, NYS Housing Finance Agency bonds and support from Redstone Equity Partners and JPMorgan Chase.  

The architect was Alex Gorlin. The general contractor was Mega Construction.

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