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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room


February 20, 2003

Press Contact: Carol Abrams (212) 863-5176
To request a homeownership kit, call 311.
Click here for HPD's lists of affordable homes


New Two-Family Homes, Named in Honor of Community Activist Pastor Martha Udell, Rise on Vacant Lots in Brooklyn

Government and housing officials, community and business leaders and soon-to-be homeowners joined together today to name a new housing development in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn in honor of long time community activist Pastor Martha Udell. Twenty-three two-family homes, developed through the City-sponsored New Foundations Program by Heritage Homes, LLC, are rising along formerly vacant blocks of Chester Street and Rockaway and Dumont Avenues.

When Pastor Udell first recruited volunteers to provide day care for neighborhood children in the early 1970s, Brownsville was experiencing disinvestments and abandonment. Today her organization, Faith Hope and Charity Community Service, Inc. operates six day-care centers as well as after-school, universal pre-kindergarten and senior citizen's programs. Since 1986 the City has produced over 4,500 apartments and homes in Brownsville, transforming the community and making it a neighborhood of choice for people seeking affordable housing.

New Homeowner, Janice Hamilton, a Microsoft network engineer, who as part of today's ceremony executed a contract of sale for one of the houses, was delighted to return to the community she called home several years after arriving from her native Jamaica. "These homes are the best value, beautifully designed, and in a quiet community where friends of our family also own homes. I know this is a good thing!" she exclaimed.

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

Launched in 2000, the New Foundations Program produces one to four-family owner occupied homes on city-owned land with no direct city subsidy. 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.

Each of the Pastor Martha Udell Homes is priced at about $285,000 and includes a four-bedroom owner duplex and a two-bedroom rental unit with hardwood floors, solid oak kitchen cabinets, energy star appliances, inter-com systems and fully tiled baths. JPMorgan Chase Community Development Group provided the $5 million construction loan.

Councilmember Tracy L. Boyland said, "The ability to name these affordable homes after community leaders and clergy like Pastor Martha Udell is an honor and a privilege for me. As we continue to build more affordable homes, we will acknowledge our community leaders and give them the recognition they deserve."

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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