Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that construction has begun on a $22 million LGBTQ-affirming supportive housing development for formerly homeless young adults. Known as Homeward Central Harlem, the development will include 50 apartments with on-site supportive services provided by Homeward NYC.
"Every New Yorker deserves to have a safe place they can call home, and Homeward Central Harlem embraces this mission for young adults who need a secure place to live," Governor Hochul said. "My administration is committed to expanding supportive housing opportunities for vulnerable populations, especially LGBTQ youth who are disproportionately impacted by homelessness. With affordable housing and access to services in place for those who need them the most, we can help all New Yorkers thrive, grow and succeed."
Homeward Central Harlem will consist of a single nine-story building with 50 fully furnished studio apartments and one superintendent unit. Residents must be aged 18 to 24 upon entry and will be referred by the Department of Homeless Services, the Department of Youth and Community Development's Runaway & Homeless Youth program, and the Administration for Children's Services Foster Care. Housing is non-time limited, meaning residents do not age out on their 25th birthday.
Homeward NYC is the provider for on-site housing and social work services. Services include counseling, case management for residents to access financial and health care benefits, connections to community resources, group activities, and skills-building programs. Homeward NYC also owns and operates an Upper West Side intergenerational facility providing family shelter and affordable housing for older adults.
Located at 15 West 118th Street, the building will include energy efficient features for heating and cooling systems, lighting, and appliances. The building will also address disparities in information technology access for residents by ensuring each apartment has access to low-cost internet.
The co-developers are Type A Projects and Azimuth Development Group.
State financing for the development includes an allocation of Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate over $14 million in private equity and $2.5 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. Enterprise Community Partners is contributing $1.8 million in subsidy. KeyBank provided a $12.8 million construction loan.
Supportive services will be funded by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, with matching rental assistance provided by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "This new development will provide 50 young people with the security, guidance and compassion they need to achieve their full potential and live happy, healthy and successful adult lives. Far too often, LGBTQ individuals are met with discrimination and hardships that no young person should have to face. With affordable rents and tailored services, Homeward Central Harlem will provide residents with the safe environment and resources they need to heal. Our investment will reduce homelessness and enrich the LGBTQ community in New York City for decades to come."
HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll said, "Homeward Central Harlem represents the City's unparalleled investments in life-changing affordable housing that serves some of our most vulnerable neighbors. We are grateful to our partners in the City and State, Type A Projects, Azimuth Development, and Homeward NYC for their commitment to providing beautiful, new affordable homes for formerly homeless young adults, who will have access to on-site supportive services designed to help LGBTQ youth thrive."
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer said, "Homeward Central Harlem will provide crucial support to homeless young adults. I'm pleased that construction has begun on this much-needed new facility."
Annie Tirschwell, Principal at Type A Projects, said, "We are grateful for the efforts of so many of our agency colleagues at HCR and HPD whose partnership and leadership throughout these first stages of our project has brought this development to fruition. Their dedication and support will immeasurably change the lives of so many of our city's young adults with the creation of permanent homes and stellar onsite service provision by our development partner, Homeward NYC."
Peter Boboris, Director of Development of Azimuth Development Group, said, "We are proud and excited to be a part of this necessary and thoughtful project. Creating quality housing that also provides permanent support and assistance to the younger generation will be beneficial for the future of the residents being served and for the future of the entire community."
Jeannette K. Ruffins, Chief Executive Officer of Homeward NYC, said,"Homeward NYC is proud to partner with New York State Homes and Community Renewal, Housing Preservation and Development, KeyBank, Hudson Housing and Enterprise Community Partners for financing, Type A Projects and Azimuth Development Group for development, and Kossar + Garry Architects, LLP for design. The partnership demonstrates the State's shared commitment to serving this vulnerable population as both smart policy and the right thing to do. Using a Housing First model, homeless young persons can take a breath, build skills, heal from trauma, and be empowered to move their lives forward. LGBTQ youth and young adults experience homelessness at a significantly higher rate than their peers. They often become homeless younger and remain homeless longer. Supportive housing (that's affordable housing with onsite support services) is a vital part of ending chronic homelessness."
Eric Steinberg, Senior Vice President of KeyBank Community Development Lending and Investment, said, "KeyBank is excited to be working with HCR and the development team to finance this transformative and important project. We are deeply committed to helping underserved populations and are proud to be a partner in providing new, safe and decent affordable housing for homeless youth who self-identify as LGBTQ."
Sam Ganeshan, Managing Director, Hudson Housing Capital, said, "Hudson Housing Capital is proud to partner with Homeward NYC, Type A Projects, and Azimuth Development Group to finance high-quality supportive housing at Homeward Central Harlem. This property will provide some of the City's most vulnerable residents with a safe place to live independently. Developing affordable housing for young people facing homelessness requires teamwork, partnership, and collaboration and we thank and commend all those involved including our investor Santander Bank."
Baaba Halm, Vice President and New York market leader of Enterprise Community Partners said, "Enterprise was proud to provide a $1.8 million grant to Homeward NYC - Central Harlem, which will create 50 units of much needed permanent supportive housing for young adults and provide comprehensive on-site social services ranging from health and wellness services to job readiness in an LGBTQ affirming environment. As New York City's housing instability crisis grows exponentially due to the pandemic and its economic fallout, these new affordable homes will make an immediate difference. We commend Homeward, Type A projects, Azimuth Development Group, the State, and all partners involved for moving this project forward at such a dire time for low-income New York City residents."
Assembly Member Inez E. Dickens said, "I am overjoyed and ecstatic to learn that construction on Homeward Central Harlem is underway to provide safe and affordable housing for young members of the LGBTQ community in our neighborhood. I clearly recall the horror stories of young people being thrown out of their homes, becoming part of the homeless community, physically assaulted, sexually abused and in some cases killed because of their sexual identity. Knowing that we will now house these beautiful young people in an environment where there will be support, warmth and understanding makes me proud to represent Harlem and continue to fight for funding for programs as such in the state legislature."
Carmen Neely, President & CEO of Harlem Pride, said, "Despite the great progress the LGBTQ civil rights movement has made in the past decade, many LGBTQ young people still experience homelessness as a result of family and community rejection, including here in Harlem. I commend Governor Hochul for investing in our community's youth, so they have an opportunity to be themselves and support themselves, while surrounded by an affirming community."