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Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams today announced the completion of an $84 million affordable housing development for seniors in the Bronx. The Trinity-Reverend William James Senior Apartments includes 153 apartments, with 57 apartments reserved for seniors who will have access to on-site supportive services through The Fortune Society.
"As we recover from the pandemic, it is critical that we take bold action to make New York a more affordable place for all, which is why my administration launched a comprehensive $25 billion affordable housing plan to help ensure every New Yorker has access to safe, affordable housing," Governor Hochul said. "My administration will continue to prioritize transformative projects like this one that repurpose unused space to aggressively tackle the housing crisis. Every New Yorker deserves a place to live and the resources they need to thrive - not least of all our seniors and those who were formerly incarcerated."
"We are building back New York City more fair and just, and with new homes in the Bronx for formerly incarcerated seniors, this project represents a step in exactly the right direction," Mayor Adams said. "These homes will provide a safe, clean place for some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers, and I will continue to prioritize these goals and communities as long as I am mayor."
The Trinity-Reverend William James Senior Apartments is part of Governor Hochul's sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. In the recently enacted State Budget, the Governor successfully secured a new $25 billion, five-year, comprehensive housing plan that will increase housing supply by creating or preserving 100,000 affordable homes across New York, including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations, plus the electrification of an additional 50,000 homes.
Located at 1074 Washington Avenue in the Morrisania neighborhood, the Trinity-Reverend William James Senior Apartments was constructed on land formerly occupied by a vacant United Methodist church. There are 144 apartments reserved for adults 62 and older with incomes at or below sixty percent of the Area Median Income. Ten apartments are reserved for adults 55 and older.
There are 57 apartments reserved for seniors who were formerly incarcerated. The Fortune Society will provide on-site services to these residents as well as operate a 5,400 square-foot social services space open to the broader community on the building's ground floor. The satellite location provides counseling, case management, vocational and health-related services to individuals with a criminal justice history.
Services and rental subsidies for 47 of the supportive apartments are funded through an Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative award to the Fortune Society. The remaining ten are funded through the New York City 15/15 Supportive Housing Initiative.
Residential amenities include laundry facilities, a tenant exercise room, a sunroom being used as a greenhouse to foster hydroponic plantings, an outdoor residential garden, and bike storage. There is one apartment for an on-site superintendent.
The Trinity Morrisania Church that once stood on the building's site was originally constructed in 1865 but had fallen into disrepair. Elements of the former church building have been brought into the new space, including restored stained-glass windows, pews, and other architectural detail that will remind residents of the property's history.
The development team includes BronxPro, The Fortune Society and United Methodist City Society.
State financing for the development includes $15.9 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $33 million in equity, $11.6 million in subsidy and $2 million through the Community Investment Fund program, all from New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development provided $13 million through the Senior Affordable Rental Apartments program and Project-Based Vouchers for 106 households. Additional financing and development support was provided by Enterprise Community Partners, Freddie Mac, and JP Morgan Chase.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Thanks to our partnership with the United Methodist City Society and BronxPro, the Trinity-Reverend William James Senior Apartments gives renewed purpose to an unused church property by creating 153 affordable homes for seniors with the types of on-site supportive services that will help them achieve stability, independence, and better health outcomes. We're especially grateful for The Fortune Society being an integral part of this development. Their model for assisting formerly incarcerated New Yorkers by providing access to resources and new opportunities, including housing, is critical to our shared mission to make New York a more equitable and inclusive place to live. Our thanks to each of our partners for making this development a reality for the Morrisania neighborhood."
New York City Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz said, "Moments like this — welcoming New Yorkers to their new affordable homes — are the ultimate goal of our work. Congratulations to United Methodist City Society, the Fortune Society and Bronx Pro Group. The Trinity-Reverend William James Senior Apartments are a much-needed new addition to our city that will not only put a dent in the housing shortage but also ensure that seniors have a home where they can age in place with the dignity they deserve."
New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr said, "With today's opening of Trinity-Reverend William James Senior Apartments, we celebrate the homecoming for many our city's elders, providing more than 150 safe, stable, and healthy homes where they may age peacefully in place. For many new residents, we are reversing the cycle of incarceration and homelessness by providing on-site supportive services that address their full range of needs. This would not be possible without the leadership of partners like the United Methodist City Society, the Fortune Society, and Bronx Pro Group, who ensure New York City's most vulnerable populations are no longer ignored. Thanks to all the partners and welcome home to the new residents."
Representative Ritchie Torres said, "As the cost of living continues to rise following the pandemic, affordable housing for seniors is more important than ever. Thanks to this $84 million dollar investment by Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams, we are another step closer to ensuring all seniors in our borough have access to the decent, affordable housing they need and deserve."
State Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, "We owe it to our most vulnerable constituency to provide real affordable housing and supportive services. I want to applaud BronxPro, Fortune Society, and United Methodist Church for coming together to build Trinity-Reverend James Senior Apartments in the neighborhood of Morrisania. Through this project, real affordable housing will be provided to our senior citizens in need who deserve access to permanent housing and high-quality services as they age in place. I hope this project is just one of many more as we work together to address housing insecurity and homelessness."
Assemblymember Chantel Jackson said, "I have long held the belief that housing is a resource that should be accessible to vulnerable groups in our community. I am thankful for the NYS Homes & Community Renewal's announcement of the opening of Trinity-Reverend James Senior Apartments in Morrisania because it will provide housing for individuals who need it the most: seniors, low-income residents, and adults with criminal records attempting to reintegrate into our community."
Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson said, "The opening of the Trinity-Reverend James Senior Apartments in the South Bronx is years in the making and is a huge win for our older adults that will benefit from not only having affordable housing, but also wrap-around services, fitness equipment, a residential garden and other essential amenities without having to leave their home. The Bronx has been devastated by years of systemic inequities that were further exacerbated by COVID-19, and as we attempt to recover from the pandemic, the need for housing has never been more important. I want to thank New York State Homes and Community Renewal, BronxPro, Fortune Society and United Methodist Church for their partnership on this project and commitment to ensuring all New Yorkers have a right to affordable, quality, safe housing."
City Councilmember Althea Stevens said, "I am excited about the introduction of the new development planning to enter the Morrisania community. It is important that we are investing in our older adult population to ensure healthier and equitable accessibility in their daily lives. Also, this development will serve vital assent in the progress in establishing more opportunities for permanent housing, rather than temporary housing."
Samantha Magistro, Chief Executive Officer, Bronx Pro Group, said, "We are proud to team up with our faith-based partner The United Methodist City Society, social service provider The Fortune Society as well as all our financing partners to develop this special senior housing project at 1074 Washington. Working to provide critical affordable and independent senior housing is integral to our mission and with this project, we are able to expand our impact by providing services for formally homeless and justice involved senior citizens. This model of housing will allow for the aging in place with dignity and with safety for some of our most at risk and underserved New Yorkers. Bronx Pro Group has now provided 5 projects of affordable housing, including 1074 Washington Avenue, in this Morrisania neighborhood through a variety of programs and services which enables us to 'block by block' transform the communities and lives of the people we serve."
Bill Shillady, Executive Director at The United Methodist City Society, said, "As people of faith, we believe in transformation. In this case, we took an underutilized crumbling church property and have made it into a beautiful new home for the seniors in this Bronx Community. This is an excellent example of a faith and community partnership that creates mission driven affordable housing that repurposes church property when a congregation ceases to exist and we use it for the benefit of the housing needs of seniors and especially formerly homeless returning citizens. The United Methodist City Society and the New York Annual Conference are thrilled to be a partner with the Bronx Pro Group and The Fortune Society. We are grateful for all who made this building possible. Affordable Housing should be a mission of all religious traditions."
JoAnne Page, President and CEO, The Fortune Society, said, "Our prison and jail population is aging, and as older individuals leave incarceration, they encounter a world very different from the one they left. On top of that, they are faced with mental health, physical health, trauma and substance use issues often exacerbated by years of incarceration. Too many wind up in the shelter system because supportive housing for formerly incarcerated seniors is scarce and there is widespread landlord discrimination. The Mandela Community at the Trinity-Reverend William James Senior Apartments addresses this urgent need by providing extensive, holistic support services—attuned to the experiences of homeless individuals who were previously incarcerated—that complement participants' safe and comfortable new homes. These services also are available to justice-involved members of the broader Bronx community."
Baaba Halm, Cice President and New York Market Leader at Enterprise Community Partners, said, "We are excited to support this incredible project and hopeful that it can provide a model for other developments to address the needs of justice-involved individuals, which so often go unmet. Formerly incarcerated individuals deserve access to safe, stable housing, free from discrimination, as they return to their communities and rebuild their lives, and we're proud that this building will provide that important right to Bronx seniors."
Jane Silverman, Executive Director, Community Development Banking, Chase, said, "We're proud to play a role in the financing of the Trinity-Reverend William James Senior Apartments and contribute to the creation of much needed affordable housing for a growing senior population in the Bronx with designated apartments and support services for formerly incarcerated individuals. The commitment this development demonstrates aligns well with our own Second Chance program to help support the hiring and advancement of people with a history in the criminal justice system."