New tenants are the guests of honor at an event celebrating 64 supportive housing units out of 74 units total at Undercliff Avenue.
On April 16th, the Network joined member Services for the UnderServed (S:US) to celebrate the transformation of a vacant lot in the Bronx into a seven-story apartment building – and the transformation of lives through the offer of permanent homes. With 74 apartments, including 19 reserved for formerly homeless individuals with mental health challenges and 45 reserved for formerly homeless veterans, the housewarming’s goal was to wish the building’s residents “every hope and every dream that comes with having a new home,” said Judith Jackson, Chief of Staff of S:US.
The official program was led by Thorna Davis, one of the building’s earliest tenants who recalled sleeping on the streets and caring for a nine-year-old son alone. “I feel good now, back on track.”
Latoya Joyner, New York State Assembly Member for District 77, said, “Once people secure housing, other things can fall into place.” She thanked residents for opening their homes to her for the housewarming and elaborated on how “home is the greatest and most precious gift that we can give to someone.”
Vanessa Gibson, NYC Council Member for District 16, emphasized how the apartment building – built on what was formerly a parking lot and location for refuse storage – represented “the renaissance of the Bronx.” She said the building was a “long-term investment, providing stability at a time when it’s not available to all New Yorkers.”
Other partners in the project’s development who spoke at the event were Brendan McBride, Associate Commissioner of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD); Grace Bonilla, Administrator of the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA); Myla Harrison, Assistant Commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH); Jennifer Trepinski, Director of Loan Originations at CSH; and William Yates, Director of Citi Community Capital.
The building features rooftop recreation space, a multi-purpose community room, and a computer room; energy-efficient solar panels and a rooftop space for urban gardening are also components. S:US staff provide a wide range of onsite services geared to support tenants’ well-being and development of personal goals and long-term stability through personalized activities of life skills training, job placement, financial planning, and health and wellness activities.
Funding for S:US’ onsite supportive services is provided by DOHMH through NYC 15/15 and through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. Funding for the development was also provided by HPD permanent capital financing and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits; Federal Solar Tax Credit Equity; Citibank; and CSH. Tax credits were syndicated by Richman Housing Resources. The building was designed by James McCullar Architecture, PC, and built by J. Pilla Group.