The Bridge Opens Doors to Melrose Commons
A new supportive housing project opens in the Bronx.
Some 70 friends and supporters gathered September 14th to celebrate the opening of The Bridge’s new Melrose Commons residence in the Melrose section of the Bronx. Hosted by The Bridge’s Board Chair Cynthia Wainwright and CEO Susan Wiviott, the gathering included electeds as well as representatives from the City, the State and the private sector, tenants and Bridge staff. Melrose Commons will provide permanent supportive housing for 58 formerly homeless individuals with mental health conditions.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. kicked off the festivities by noting that, in addition to Melrose Commons’ transforming tenants' lives, the beautiful new building is contributing to the neighborhood’s revitalization. “I grew up here and I remember playing in the rubble”, said Mr. Diaz. He congratulated all the partners on the project and took time to hug Robert Tandy, the Melrose Commons tenant who spoke at the opening. The Borough President had previously shown support for the project by allocating $600,000 in funding.
State Senator Luis Sepulveda also grew up in the Melrose area and remarked on the positive changes. He also congratulated all involved in the project: “I salute The Bridge for bringing this impressive residence and its services to those in need. I wish I could provide more like it.”
HDC’s Eric Enderlin, HPD’s Molly Park and OTDA’s Dana Greenberg also spoke, noting the amount of time (EIGHT YEARS!) and effort that had gone into the project. Capital One’s Desiree Francis (a Bronx native as well) and CSH’s Maygen Moore participated.
As always, the star of the program was Robert Tandy, a tenant of Melrose Commons. Robert has struggled for many years on the streets and recently moved into The Bridge’s Safe Haven in the Bronx where, for the first time in many years, he felt safe. When Melrose opened, he was ready to consider leaving transitional housing for his own fully furnished studio apartment in a new building offering permanent supportive housing.
The building features a green roof, a large outdoor recreational space that features a garden, a ping pong table, and comfortable seating; a common space with a communal kitchen for cooking classes (using produce from the garden); and a conference room/training center. Comprehensive on-site services (including case management and 24/7 front desk coverage) are funded by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Funding for the building was provided by NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC), NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), LIHTC, NYS Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation. National Equity Fund was the syndicator and Capital One the tax credit investor. Predevelopment funds were provided by the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Citibank and Local Initiatives Support Corporation. The Bridge was awarded the property, which was deeded by the City for $1, through a competitive RFP process. The architect was Magnusson Architecture and Planning and the contractor was the J. Pilla Group.
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