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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the start of construction on a $49 million affordable and supportive housing development in the Wakefield section of the North Bronx. The Plains will provide 98 affordable homes with supportive services, with 49 units reserved for adults experiencing homelessness and living with HIV/AIDS, and another 20 apartments set aside for seniors aged 62 and older.
"Sustained investment in creating and preserving safe, affordable homes for New Yorkers is a cornerstone of my administration," Governor Hochul said. "This new development demonstrates our commitment to increasing the supply of quality homes across the Bronx and to keeping our most vulnerable residents active, engaged, and living healthier, more independent lives."
The Plains is part of Governor Hochul's sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. In the recently enacted 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.
The Plains will consist of a single nine-story building with 98 apartments at 4519 White Plains Road. All apartments will be affordable to households earning at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income.
Forty-nine apartments will be reserved for adults experiencing homelessness who will have access to on-site supportive services funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by The AIDS Institute. The Doe Fund will deliver housing and clinical case management services to residents, including coordination of mental health and medical care.
The project is designed to meet the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's Multifamily New Construction Program Tier 2 and LEED for Homes Gold energy efficiency standards. The building will have a green roof and solar photovoltaic array. Additional energy-efficient features will include high-efficiency, electric, Variable-Rate-Flow HVAC systems; Energy-Star, bi-level, LED lighting with motion sensors; Energy-Star appliances; and low-flow plumbing fixtures.
Residential amenities will include tenant storage, offices for program staff and a multi-purpose room for program and tenant uses alike, as well as 24/7 security and a live-in superintendent. The residence will also feature on-site laundry units, a fitness center and private outdoor recreation space. The Plains is conveniently located near subway, bus, and commuter rail stations.
The development is a joint venture between The Doe Fund and Robert Sanborn Development.
State financing for The Plains includes Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $25 million in equity and $9.7 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will provide $4.9 million through the Homeless Housing Assistance Program. NYSERDA will provide $78,800 in support.
The Doe Fund obtained private sector construction and permanent loans through Merchant's Bank of Indiana and Freddie Mac, and tax-credit equity was syndicated by Richman Housing. The Corporation for Supportive Housing also provided a $4 million acquisition loan that included funds for pre-development.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "In the last decade, HCR has invested over $1.5 billion to create and preserve quality affordable housing, fight homelessness, and expand economic development across the Bronx. The Plains builds on our momentum with 98 new transit-oriented and energy-efficient homes, including 49 apartments reserved for adults in need of supportive services to achieve independence and stability. By working closely with our partners at The Doe Fund and Robert Sanborn Development, we can help the entire Wakefield community benefit from this new development."
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "Housing instability can pose major and often life-threatening consequences for New Yorkers living with a chronic disease-especially for those with HIV. The Plains will provide both stable housing and supportive services to ensure residents have what they need to remain healthy and live independently in their community. This project, like many others supported by the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, represents Governor Hochul's steadfast commitment to ensuring all New Yorkers have a safe, stable place to call home, including the most vulnerable among us."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "When completed, The Plains Apartments will provide highly energy efficient affordable housing for low income and elderly residents in the North Bronx with an array of support services and clean solar energy on-site. This project supports Governor Hochul's commitment to achieving two million climate friendly homes while ensuring that low-income New Yorkers have access to healthy affordable housing and benefit equitably in the transition to a clean energy economy."
Representative Jamaal Bowman said, "I commend The Doe Fund for prioritizing the wellbeing of people through this 98 unit housing development complete with support services that reflects the care-center investments we need to make more of. New York has a devastating housing crisis, and The Bronx is the epicenter of that crisis. In The Bronx, we see rent skyrocketing and record numbers of evictions since this pandemic began. This makes ending homelessness further out of reach in the richest nation of the world - and is a policy failure. I am proud to support this initiative and will continue to push for more equitable, affordable and accessible housing through federal investments - such as with my bill The Affordable CO-OP Act that I introduced recently."
State Senator Jamaal T. Bailey said, "Safe, quality, affordable housing is an essential human right. This project will support residents with high-quality affordable housing and the supportive resources they need to navigate the immediate challenges of the pandemic and beyond. Our state is facing an unprecedented homelessness and housing crisis, and affordable housing is one of the most important tools we have to help vulnerable New Yorkers get back on their feet and achieve long-term stability. I'm thrilled to celebrate the start of construction on this important project in my district and look forward to its completion."
Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz said, "There is no question that our city is in desperate need of truly affordable housing, especially for older adults and people who need additional support structures to help maintain housing stability. I am glad that HCR is continuing the effort to promote affordable housing development in the Bronx, and I look forward to this project's completion."
Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson said, "It is a sad reality that we are in a housing crisis in New York City, which has only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The need for affordable, quality, safe and supportive housing is at an all-time high and is essential in our fight to reduce homelessness. I want to thank the New York State Homes & Community Renewal and New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance for their support of this important project that will provide amenities and wrap-around services to our residents living with HIV/AIDS, our older adults and other vulnerable New Yorkers in the North Bronx."
City Councilmember Eric Dinowitz said, "Affordable housing for vulnerable populations, including low-income, formerly homeless people and older adults, needs to come with support systems in place. That is exactly what The Plains is doing, and the wraparound services they will provide ensures that new tenants will not just have a roof over their heads, but all of their needs are met. The housing crisis is affecting New Yorkers all over the city, which is why I am so grateful and encouraged that this development will serve my constituents in Wakefield."
Executive Vice President of Housing of the Doe Fund John McDonald said, "New York is at a crossroads. Our city's recovery is held back by two things. First is the convergence of eroding public safety and filthy streets, both symptoms of rising homelessness that The Doe Fund's Ready, Willing & Able program is proven and prepared to address. Second is the city's lack of affordable and supportive housing. I'm proud to have overseen the growth of The Doe Fund's transitional, affordable, and supportive housing portfolio to over one million square feet. When completed, the Plains will join this essential continuum of care, providing high quality homes to 90 of our fellow New Yorkers most in need, as well as their families."
Robert Sanborn, Robert Sanborn Development, said, "Robert Sanborn Development is excited to be a partner in the development of The Plains, our second collaboration with The Doe Fund. The Plains represents our continued commitment to developing thoughtfully designed, state-of-the-art homes with integrated services; a comfortable environment with available services that will enhance the lives of all residents. We congratulate The Doe Fund on this latest supportive housing endeavor."
Michael Milazzo, Senior Vice President, Originations at Merchants Capital, said, "The Doe Fund has been a pillar of supportive housing in New York City for over 30 years, and we are honored to have been part of the recent The Plains transaction in the Bronx. As one of the nation's top affordable housing financiers, we at Merchants are always looking for new ways to serve the housing needs of populations across the U.S. By working with The Doe Fund, we are creating safe, new and supportive housing for nearly 100 of New York's most vulnerable residents. The Plains will provide a beacon of hope and necessary services to individuals in need. We are grateful for this partnership and are eager to bolster our housing efforts together throughout New York".