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Press Release

July 22nd, 2002

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Helps Break Ground For Supportive Housing

Nation’s First Residential Career Development Program for Youth At Risk of Homelessness

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today celebrated the groundbreaking for The Chelsea Residence, located at 206 West 24th Street in Manhattan. The Chelsea Residence was made possible with $16.9 million of funding from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)’s Supportive Housing Loan Program. Once the building is completed in 2004, it will offer 207 apartments of affordable supportive housing. The residence will also work closely with the City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) on the country’s first “Foyer Program” – a residential career development program for young people aging out of the foster care system within 18 months, who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. HPD Commissioner Jerilyn Perine, ACS Commissioner William Bell, Homeless Services Commissioner Linda Gibbs, New York State Division of Housing & Community Renewal Commissioner Judith A. Calogero, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Regional Director of NY & NJ Marisel Morales, Center for Urban Community Services Executive Director Tony Hannigan, Common Ground Executive Director Rosanne Haggerty, and Common Ground Board Chairman and Managing Principal of the Quadrangle Group, LLC, Peter Ezersky were among those who attended the event.

“New York City is a model for the nation in supportive housing development,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our City, once again, will step to the national forefront with the country’s first ‘Foyer’ youth housing program. Approximately 1,000 youths leave the foster care system each year in this City. The Administration for Children’s Services strives to ensure that when young adults leave foster care they will have a stable place to live, meaningful connection to an adult in the community and are either in school or employable. With Foyer, we will help young people develop the tools and skills necessary to avoid homelessness as adults.”

The Chelsea Residence, formerly known as the residential annex of the McBurney YMCA, was developed and is operated by Common Ground Community. The residence will house two separate components. The first is the Foyer Program – an innovative housing-based career development program targeting young adults. Designed to prevent homelessness by offering a comprehensive transitional experience to independent adulthood, participants will work over an 18-month period towards goals of permanent housing and stable employment with career skills by the time of graduation. Residents will participate in employment, educational mentoring and life-skills training programs. The 40-unit program is based on a similar European model and will be the first of its type in the United States.

For the provision of job training, placement, educational and GED preparation services, Common Ground will use its linkages with local employers and corporations, including the three Ben & Jerry’s PartnerShops that Common Ground owns and operates in Manhattan. Ben & Jerry’s donated the franchises to Common Ground, waiving franchise fees and providing management support.

The second component of The Chelsea Residence includes 167 units of permanent supportive housing. The efficiency apartments will house low-income working people and formerly homeless adults, including those with special needs referred by the New York City Department of Homeless Services, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Human Resources Administration, and the HIV/AIDS Services Administration. Support services for tenants will be provided by the Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS), who will offer case management, counseling, vocational assistance and coordination of medical health care.

“Many people came together to support the plans for this building, and we are grateful to the City of New York,” said Common Ground Director Rosanne Haggerty. “This day could not have been possible without our community partners and the various banks and foundations working with us.”

"Combining permanent housing and supportive services is a solution to homelessness, and the Chelsea Residence is a prime example of how to accomplish this goal," said CUCS Executive Director Tony Hannigan.

The building renovations will be completed in two phases over 22 months. Phase I, involving The Foyer Program and 48 units of the permanent supportive housing will be completed by the summer of 2003. Phase II, with 119 supportive housing units, is scheduled to be completed in spring of 2004. The general contractor for the project is Jerome Construction Co., LLC and the project architect is Richard Vitto of Oaklander, Coogan, and Vitto Architects.

Common Ground was able to acquire the property and commence renovations with funding of $16.9 million from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)’s Supportive Housing Loan Program, which provides financing to qualified not-for-profit organizations to develop permanent supportive housing for homeless single adults, including people with disabilities such as mental illness and AIDS. In addition to HPD, the New York State Homeless Housing Assistance Corporation, the Office of City Council Member Christine Quinn, and the Office of State Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried are also providing project financing for the residence. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provided Common Ground, through HPD, with a McKinney SRO moderate rehabilitation rental assistance award for 100 of the units. The McKinney rental assistance ($6.5 million over 10 years) will keep the rents affordable.

Astoria Federal Savings contributed a $1 million grant to the project under the auspices of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York’s Affordable Housing Program. Additional capital will be raised through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, an application for which is pending with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

Predevelopment support was provided by Booth Ferris Foundation, Butler Family Fund, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Newman’s Own, Sirus Fund, Rhodebeck Charitable Trust, Viacom, Mutual of America and Washington Mutual. Manhattan Community Board Four has provided significant support to the project.


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Phone: 212-341-0999
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