Categories: New York City, Openings
Supportive housing units revitalize a formerly vacant row house in Brooklyn
Dozens of supporters gathered last Friday to celebrate the opening of Jefferson Avenue Residence, a 12-unit supportive housing residence in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford Stuyvesant.
Attendees braved below-freezing temps to hear from the project’s partners and witness the ceremonial ribbon cutting just outside the building. Jefferson Ave. brings the total number of supportive housing units from Housing Works, the versatile NYC nonprofit known for its commitment to individuals with HIV/AIDS, to 214 units.
Twelve formerly homeless New Yorkers will soon have a place to live thanks to this $3 million development. The residence will house individuals coping with both mental illness and chemical addiction (MICA). A preference will be given to individuals who also have HIV/AIDS.
In addition to their very own studio apartments, tenants will have access to an array of on-site social services, including case management, health care and life skills classes. Housing Works hopes to have the building rented up within the next few weeks.
Last week's outdoor ceremony was a quick one given the frigid weather. Housing Works President Charles King began the morning with some words on the importance of Jefferson Avenue Residence.
“This building is a testament to something we say all the time: that housing works. That housing is healthcare. That housing is HIV prevention,” Mr. King said.
Andrew Coamey, Housing Works’ Chief Financial Officer, took the microphone next to thank the project’s many funders. Mr. Coamey also shared insights on the four-story building’s history. Prior to Housing Works’ gut renovation, this row house had sat vacant and had previously suffered both a fire and a flood.
“I came here in 2006, and you could stand in the basement and literally see blue sky,” said David Galdun, Project Manager at the Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation (HHAC), on the building’s former derelict state. “That tells you how far this building has come.”
Mr. Galdun also took a moment to discuss New York City’s current record levels of homelessness. For the 57,000 homeless people in New York, residences like Jefferson Ave. offer a sliver of hope.
“Supportive housing is invaluable in providing such individuals a chance to stay off the streets and out of shelters,” he said. “Supportive housing allows individuals to stabilize their health, which in turn allows them to gain job skills, continue their education and regain hope in their lives.”
The day’s final speaker was Jacqueline Alexander, Assistant Commissioner of Property Disposition & Finance at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Ms. Alexander used the opportunity to reaffirm HPD’s commitment to double its production of supportive housing.
“We are now committed to doing 1,000 units of supportive housing each year,” she said. “This year, we are actually making it. These 12 units are a part of that.”
Jefferson Avenue Residence is the newest residence to open with funding through the New York/New York III Supportive Housing Agreement. The residence received capital funds from the NYS Office of Temporary Disability and Assistance (OTDA)’s Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP), Federal Loan Home Bank and HPD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Operating and services funding comes from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Supportive Housing Program and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).
McNeil and Associates served as the architect of Jefferson Avenue Residence while Aleem Construction served as the contractor.
We wish to congratulate Housing Works and its many partners on this terrific new residence. Your work will mean the world to the future tenants of Jefferson Ave.
Photo credit: Alan Barnett Photography