FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEBRONX RESIDENTS HAVE NEW HOMES AND NEW "HOUSE SENSE"Public Private Partnership Provides Keys to Homeownership with Affordable Housing and Financial Education
October 28, 2002
Carol Abrams (212) 863-5176
Kim Brown (212) 863-8076
New Bronx homeowners, flush with knowledge that enabled them to navigate the home buying process successfully, received their house keys and the City's efforts to increase the rate of homeownership got a boost today at a celebration marking Homeownership Month.
New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Jerilyn Perine said, "Neighborhood stability is directly related to the commitment of homeowners who work together to ensure clean, secure communities with good schools, safe places to play, available shopping and affordable quality housing." HPD has produced more than 14,000 homeownership units since 1987 and has increased the percentage of homeownership from 29% in 1993 to 32% in 1999, but New York remains a city of renters.
At today's ceremony to commemorate the opening of 10 newly constructed three-family town homes at West 148th Street and St. Ann's Avenue in the downtown Bronx, the Citigroup Foundation announced a $1 million grant to Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of New York City for Financial Education Programs. Payable over five years, the grant will provide low and moderate income New Yorkers with the opportunity to acquire basic knowledge about all aspects of personal finance.
NHS Financial Education covers budgeting, savings, credit and debt management and insurance services as well as pre- and post-purchase issues including the home buying process, and foreclosure, predatory lending prevention and senior home equity. Courses are available citywide with several NHS offices providing bi-lingual classes. NHS-provided homebuyer counseling is accredited by the federally chartered Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.
"At Citigroup, we recognize the positive impact that financial education and homeownership have both helping individuals build their personal assets and strengthening the economic foundation of our communities," said Charles V. Raymond, President of Citigroup Foundation.
Francine Justa, Executive Director of NHS said, "Our ability to help these 10 families become first time homeowners is an excellent example of how the Citigroup Foundation $1 million grant is helping NHS make the dream of homeownership and financial security a reality for thousands of residents throughout New York City."
The owners of the new homes, all first time homebuyers, participated in pre-purchase counseling provided by NHS, whose Bronx affiliate is also the community sponsor of the development. Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., whose office provided $255,000 in subsidies to the $3.8 million development, was on hand to present house keys to all the homeowners.
The homes were built by Stow Contracting through the Partnership Neighborhood Builder Program jointly operated by HPD and the New York City Housing Partnership, the development arm of the New York City Partnership and Chamber of Commerce, an organization dedicated to maintaining a strong and diversified economy in the five boroughs. The Partnership Neighborhood Builder Program was initiated in 1987 to expand the city's homebuilding industry and foster the growth of small as well as women- and minority-owned construction companies. The program provides companies financial, technical, marketing and legal assistance.
Citibank Center for Community Development Enterprise provided a $2.156 million construction loan. The New York State Affordable Housing Corporation provided additional funding of $510,000 to help reduce the price of the homes. The homes were available to qualified buyers with annual household incomes between $32,000 and $75,000 at a selling price of $260,000.
"The New York State Affordable Housing Corporation is committed to helping hard working New Yorkers become homeowners," said Stephen J. Hunt, President and CEO of AHC. "By making homeownership more affordable for families in the South Bronx, we're investing not only in their futures, but in the future of the neighborhood as well."
HPD's mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. The Department is the nation's largest municipal housing development agency. Since fiscal Year 1987, the agency has completed the construction of rehabilitation of 204,000 units of affordable housing. To request a Homeownership Kit, call HPD's Information Line at (212) 863-8000. For more information about affordable rental housing, call HPD's Affordable Housing Hotline at (212) 863-5610 or log on to nyc.gov/hpd.