Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the opening of The Kira, an $80 million affordable and supportive housing development in Jamaica, Queens. This included a newly constructed, 21-story mixed-use building with 139 units of affordable and supportive housing, including 69 with supportive services.
"Supportive housing is a vital component of our work to ensure that all New Yorkers have a safe, affordable place to call home," Governor Hochul said. "The Kira will provide women who have experienced homelessness and domestic violence easy access to the support and services they need and deserve to build better lives for themselves and their children."
The Kira complements Governor Hochul's sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. In the FY 2023 State Budget, the Governor introduced and 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.
Developed by New Destiny Housing, BFC Partners and SMJ Development, The Kira includes 38 studio units, 64 one-bedroom units and 37 two-bedroom units, including one set aside for an onsite building superintendent. A total of 32 of the one-bedroom and 37 of the two-bedroom units will be set aside for survivors of domestic violence with income at or below 40 percent of the Area Median Income. The remaining units are set aside for households with income at or below 80 percent of the AMI.
Amenities include a children's recreation room, fitness room, laundry facilities and outdoor activity space. The project also features more than 5,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. There is also a dedicated community room and offices for onsite supportive programs and supportive housing staff.
The Kira's energy efficient design and features meet Enterprise Green Communities Certification and the Homes and Community Renewal Housing Finance Agency mandatory Green and Energy Certification Standards.
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is providing $1.7 million annually in operating funding for the supportive services through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative.
State financing for The Kira included $19.2 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $26.1 million in equity, and $29 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested more than $11.49 billion in multifamily buildings to create or preserve more than 42,300 affordable homes and apartments in New York City. Nearly 4,000 of these are in Queens.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "To the families who now call these 139 affordable apartments home, The Kira is worth much more than an $80 million real estate investment. With a stable and affordable apartment and access to life-changing supportive services, residents will be able to focus on their own wellness and look forward to new opportunities and future successes. Alongside Governor Hochul, New Destiny Housing and our other partners, this new development is the embodiment of our shared commitment to the health and safety of our fellow New Yorkers."
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "By providing safe, affordable housing coupled with easy access to supportive services this project exemplifies our ongoing efforts to address homelessness across New York State. The Kira will undoubtedly have a positive effect not only on the lives of those who live there but the entire community, and we congratulate New Destiny and our other partners on its successful completion."
New Destiny Housing Executive Director Nicole Branca said, "Domestic violence victims must often choose between living in dangerous situations or becoming homeless. This beautiful new building will enable 69 homeless families headed by domestic violence survivors to become safe and to begin to rebuild their lives. And our on-site trauma-informed services will help survivors to remain safe and stable in their new homes. Our thanks to project partners SMJ Development and BFC Partners, and funders New York State Homes and Community Renewal and Wells Fargo, as well as the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative which enables us to provide supports for survivors and ensures that rents are affordable."
Juan Barahona, Principal, SMJ Development, said, "The Kira's grand opening is the culmination of years of perseverance through countless obstacles. These pale in comparison to what some of our residents have endured in the pursuit of safe, affordable, permanent housing. I'm proud to have played a role in making this project a reality alongside BFC Partners and New Destiny. I know that our collective efforts have yielded an important safe haven in downtown Jamaica."
Donald Capoccia, Managing Principal, BFC Partners, said, "As a developer with a long track record of commitment to housing New York City's most vulnerable populations, I am particularly humbled to watch The Kira's new residents move into safe, high-quality apartments that they can be proud to call home. The hope of our diverse development team is that The Kira serves as model for future progress, as the work to house New Yorkers in affordable homes continues."