Affordable Building to Provide 112 Units to Low Income Families and Adults with Mental Illness
Catholic Charities Announces New Plan to Construct an Additional 1,500 - 2,000 Affordable Homes, Doubling what the Church Built over the Last 40 Years
New York, NY –April 8, 2019 – Cardinal Timothy Dolan today joined New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas, New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray, head of Catholic Charities of New York Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Councilmember Vanessa Gibson, and NYC officials to formally open St. Augustine Terrace in The Bronx, a new, 112-unit apartment building for low income families.
The new building – the first in 50-years to be built on the site of a former church – was designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning and constructed by MEGA Contracting Group. The LEED Gold Certified building was financed by New York State Homes and Community Renewal as part of Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan to build and preserve more than 100,000 affordable homes and 6,000 with supportive services. The building also received financing under NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development’s Extremely Low and Low-income Affordability (ELLA) program highlighting the department’s dedication to creating new affordable housing opportunities.
At the opening, his Eminence Cardinal Dolan, rang a symbolic bell, marking the connection between the sacred church that served this community for over 150 years and the apartments that will provide homes for these New Yorkers. The bell is now a part of the permanent structure at the entrance.
“This land was sacred before and is so once again,” Cardinal Dolan said. “The church is strongly committed to social justice and ensuring that having a home is a sacred human right. We are delighted that we could transform this church property into homes for New Yorkers with the greatest needs.”
An additional 35 of the units at St. Augustine will be set aside for adults with mental illness, creating much-needed homes for individuals who are often marginalized and segregated in the larger community.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s financing for St. Augustine Terrace includes $12.3 million in tax exempt bonds and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated more than $21.4 million in equity. Other State funding includes $6.5 million in Medicaid Redesign Team subsidy as well as debt service and operating funds from the New York State Office of Mental Health.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “St. Augustine Terrace is the perfect example of what we can accomplish when we bring government, private developers and faith-based leadership together to provide homes for those who need them most. HCR is tremendously proud to partner with Catholic Charities to bring affordable housing to the Bronx as we implement Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented $20 billion Housing Plan to build and preserve more than 100,000 affordable homes and 6,000 with supportive services.”
Dr Ann Sullivan, commissioner of the NYS Office of Mental Health, said, “The supportive housing units in St. Augustine Terrace will allow people with mental illness to live and thrive in their own home and in their own community. Governor Cuomo has again demonstrated his commitment to providing stable housing with services that will yield better health outcomes at lower costs, and allow more vulnerable New Yorkers to become successful members of their communities.”
New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray, who leads the City’s taskforce on Mental Illness, said, “Today, we applaud the work of the Catholic Church and all New Yorkers who recognize the need to reintegrate people who suffer from mental illness into the larger society. These individuals have to deal with tremendous challenges, including economic hardship, and providing affordable homes in a supportive and well-maintained environment is critical to their health and the health of the larger community.”
Beacon of Hope, a division of Catholic Charities Community Services, will provide social services to those individuals with mental illness living at St. Augustine Terrace.
“St. Augustine Terrace is a shining example of what we can accomplish when we work with our colleagues in various levels of government and partner with mission-driven organizations that serve as pillars in communities to create projects that will have a long lasting and meaningful impact for New York families,” said Acting HPD Commissioner Eric Enderlin. “Thanks to the dedication of Catholic Homes, the Archdiocese of New York and our partners in City and State government, 112 households now have a safe and deeply affordable place to call home.”
Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, the head of Catholic Charities of New York, also announced today that Catholic Homes New York, the affordable housing arm of Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of New York City, will develop 2,000 affordable units over the next ten-years, doubling the number of units built and overseen by the Catholic Church in the archdiocese in the last 40 years.
“Today, the Catholic Church of New York City is taking the lead in ensuring that low-income New Yorkers have access to well built, well maintained housing, along with the services to help those with the greatest needs.” Monsignor Sullivan also explained that Catholic Homes of New York oversees 2,336 units of affordable housing in three boroughs and Yonkers, New York at 15 sites. With today’s announcement, the number will increase to over 4,000 by 2029.
Design and public approvals have begun for five new developments the Bronx - St. Vincent de Paul Senior Residence (89 units), Second Farms (319 units), Christopher Court (160 units), St. Philip Neri (177 units) - and Manhattan, Grand Street Guild (400 units). A new website was unveiled highlighting the housing initiative under Catholic Homes New York.
Since the 1970s, Catholic Charities and parishes have developed over 2,000 units of low-income and affordable housing throughout the five boroughs. Today, in response to the tremendous need for affordable housing, the Archdiocese has undertaken a comprehensive review of properties to identify areas where existing properties can be developed as affordable housing.
About Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York
Catholic Charities is a federation of approximately 90 agencies and programs located throughout the 10 counties of the Archdiocese of New York, helping to solve the problems of New Yorkers in need – non-Catholics and Catholics alike – with services that protect and nurture children, strengthen families and resolve crises, assist the hungry and homeless, support the physically and emotionally challenged, and integrate immigrants and refugees.
In 2017, Catholic Charities marked a 100-year legacy of service and launched the next century of providing help and creating hope for New Yorkers in need. Catholic Charities has recommitted to providing basic human services that are efficient, effective, accountable and caring – and to being a valued partner in building the fabric of a caring New York.