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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room


October 30, 2002

Press Contacts:
Carol Abrams (212) 863-5176
Kim Brown (212) 863-8076

New Town Homes Transform Vacant Lot in Brownsville

Former Site of Church Crusades Provides Hope and Opportunity for new Homeowners

Six years ago, when Chyvonne Roach Charles attended a crusade sponsored by her church on a city-owned vacant lot on Thomas S. Boyland Avenue in Brownsville, she never dreamed that she was sitting in what someday would be her back yard. She and her husband, David Charles, will soon be moving into their newly constructed two-family home in the row redbrick townhouses now occupying the lot. "I'm thrilled to have found a beautiful and affordable home just four blocks from my church, close to my two aunts and an easy commute to my job," said the Barbados native who arrived in Brooklyn as a teenager and is now a rehabilitation manager at a clinic in Manhattan.

Today at a ceremony attended by government and housing officials, community and business leaders, the Charleses joined their soon-to-be new neighbors and community activist Bishop London E. Penn in cutting the ribbon for Bishop London E. Penn Homes. The 17-three and 7-two family homes were developed by the Progress Group, Inc. through the New Foundations, a new homeownership program created by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Financing was provided by the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC).

Launched in 2000, New Foundations produces one- to four-family owner occupied homes on city-owned land with no direct city subsidies. The developers, chosen through a competitive Request for Proposal process, are responsible for obtaining all necessary construction financing from private sources. At least one unit in the home must remain owner-occupied for twenty years following initial purchase from the developer.

HPD Commissioner Jerilyn Perine said, "Homeownership is critical to ensuring vibrant communities with good schools, safe places to play, shopping and affordable quality housing."

Each two-family home in the Bishop London E. Penn development, sold for $300,000 and includes a three-bedroom/two-bathroom owner duplex and a three-bedroom rental unit. The three-family home sold for $350,000 and includes a three-bedroom/two-bathroom owner duplex, and a one-bedroom and three-bedroom rental unit. CPC provided the $4.3 million construction loan; the developer's equity is $887,671.

Community Preservation Corporation President and CEO Michael D. Lappin said, "CPC has long recognized that home ownership is a foundation of solid communities. The pride that comes with ownership rejuvenates neighborhoods and attracts new business and additional housing upgrades. CPC is particularly proud to have financed the Bishop London E. Penn Homes."

The new homes are named in honor of long time community activist and advocate, Bishop London E. Penn, pastor and founder of the Universal Temple Church of God and President of the 73rd Precinct Clergy Council.

Said City Councilwoman Tracy L. Boyland, who asked that the development be named in honor of Bishop Penn, "As the former chair of the City Council Foreclosure and Abandonment Committee, I'm gratified to see vacant lots in this city, especially in Brooklyn, developed into affordable housing and become available to residents. Our community is going through a renaissance."

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 or 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

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