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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room


August 24, 2000

Press Contacts: Ben Metcalf (Common Ground) (212) 471-0873


180 to 200 Units of Affordable Housing with Services to be Developed for Low-income and Formerly Homeless Individuals, Including an Innovative Housing Program for 40 Young Adults at Risk of Homelessness.

NEW YORK CITY, August 24, 2000 Common Ground has signed a contract to purchase the residential portion of the McBurney YMCA on 24th Street in Manhattan for development into affordable housing with social services. Common Ground is also the developer and operator of the 416 unit Prince George and 652 unit Times Square supportive housing buildings. Common Ground will create 140 to 160 units of permanent supportive housing for low-income and formerly homeless adults, as well as an innovative 40 unit program for young adults at risk of homelessness.

Time Equities, Inc. will purchase the 23rd Street portion of the McBurney building and intends to create market rate loft residences. Common Ground's acquisition of the 24th Street residential building is supported by New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Support from local elected officials, other public loan programs, and private equity from the sale of low-income tax credits, will complete the development financing.

Common Ground expects to begin the full rehabilitation of the property in the spring of 2001, with completion anticipated for 2003. The YMCA will continue its operation throughout 2002. The 13 tenants who currently reside in the building will have the option to return to the building following the rehabilitation. They will be offered temporary accommodations at Common Ground's other buildings for the duration of the renovation work.

Half of the 140 to 160 units of supportive housing will be rented to low-income and half to formerly homeless adults, including those with special needs. The Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) will provide on-site services for building residents. Supportive housing combines affordable apartments with comprehensive services to help tenants cope with problems that have undermined their housing in the past. Supportive housing has proven itself both effective (studies put residential stability at close to 85%) and far less expensive than homelessness. Studies that compare the public cost of caring for chronically homeless people versus the cost of supportive housing find that supportive housing is more successful at a fraction of the cost.

"We are thrilled that the former McBurney YMCA will continue to be an affordable housing residence in the Chelsea community," said Common Ground's Executive Director, Rosanne Haggerty. "Many people came together to support our plan for the building, and we are grateful to HPD, the local elected officials, and the YMCA for working with us to make this possible"

Common Ground's 40 unit program for young people ages 18 to 25 who are aging out of foster care or are at risk of homelessness, to be located within the McBurney development, is the first of its kind for the United States. Modeled on successful "foyer" youth housing programs in Europe, Common Ground hopes to partner with New York City's Administration for Children's Services who would support the service component of the program. Services will focus on job training and preparation for independent living.

Common Ground will restore the McBurney's historic elements, dating from its original construction at the turn of the century. The building will feature a wide range of community spaces for building residents.

"New York City is a model for the nation in supportive housing development, with Common Ground being one of the leading providers," said Jerilyn Perine, Commissioner, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, "New York City, once again, will step to the national forefront with the country's first "foyer" youth housing program, and HPD is pleased to work with Common Ground on this innovation."

Common Ground is a not-for-profit organization that works to end homelessness through the creation of innovative programs designed to promote independence and stability for the individuals it serves. For more information, please visit Common Ground's Web site at or call (212) 471-0873.

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