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Strong Relationships and Shared Values Star at S:US’ Housewarming in the Bronx

05.29.2019

Vacant lot in the Bronx’s Fordham neighborhood is converted into 11-story building housing 94 individuals and families.

Photo credit for photo at right: Diane Cho for HPD.

On May 14th, overcast skies were brightened by purple and yellow balloons greeting guests at Network member Services for the Underserved’s (S:US) housewarming at 2264 Morris Avenue in the Bronx. Government partners, local elected officials, and private supporters celebrated the completion of the 11-story, mixed-income building, co-developed by S:US and Bronx Pro Group. The building contains 94 units, including 31 units of supportive housing: 17 for at-risk young adults and 14 for formerly homeless adults with mental illness.

The speaking program kicked off to a crowd that flowed out of the room.

Donna Colonna, CEO of S:US, Arlo Chase, Senior Vice President for Real Estate at S:US, and Samantha Magistro, Managing Director of Bronx Pro Group, all emphasized the strength of the joint venture, built upon a shared belief in partnering with local communities. Magistro stated that while broad partnership had brought the project together, now only the residents would determine its future.

Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan, Commissioner at New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), highlighted the diversity of the building’s resident community, from families to individuals to young adults. She offered a “big thank you to the community” for truly welcoming and working with the development team.

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), noted that amidst “so many partners and wonky tax credits and bonds and subsidy loans… really what it’s about is you,” referring to the residents present.

Jane E. Silverman, Executive Director at Chase, called the project a “poster-child for inter-agency cooperation” and asked with wonder, “How is it that you can possibly make everybody happy? Including of course the tenants!”

Juan Tavarez, a resident of the building, expressed happiness at finding a true home in the S:US residence in February. He also shared enthusiasm for how his new home had led to other opportunities, like the chance to contribute to the local community by working at a food pantry nearby.

Also present to express excitement about the project were Brendan McBride, Associate Commissioner at the New York City Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and Ross Clarke, Community Investment Officer at Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH). The official program ended with the group outside, planting new shrubs that added to the building’s outdoor space.

The supportive housing residents at 2264 Morris Avenue receive personalized, onsite services from S:US assisting with daily needs, job placement, financial planning, and health and wellness counseling. These services are funded by the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH).

Completed in December 2018, the residence was designed by Bob Santoriello and built by Notias Construction. The building features laundry facilities, community rooms with computers, landscaped outdoor recreation areas, and a 15-space parking lot.

State sources of funding for the development included the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT), Homes for Working Families, NYS OMH, and HCR through tax-exempt bonds. New York City sources of funding included the Housing New York initiative and HPD. Development was also supported through federal Section 8 rental vouchers. Other funders and supporters included CSH, Chase, and Red Stone Equity Partners LLC.

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