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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 14, 2003

Press Contacts:
Mark Hazlin
The Marino Organization Inc.
(212) 889-0808

Eleanor Penziner
VIP Community Services
(718) 582-5150

New 54-Unit SRO Opens in the Bronx

--Abraham Plaza Developed by VIP Community Services with City, State and Private Funds--

Bronx, NY -Abraham Plaza, a new 54-unit supportive housing facility, officially opened today in the Tremont-Crotona section of the Bronx. The building was developed by VIP Community Services, a multi-service substance abuse treatment organization, with more than $4.5 million from New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Supportive Loan Program, and $1.5 million from New York State's Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP).

"We're pleased to be able to offer people brand new, permanent apartments," said Sandra Ruiz Butter, President of VIP. "Abraham Plaza will be a positive environment for those who need a supportive place to live. This building would not have been possible without the support of the City and State and, of course, generous donations from the Abraham Foundation."

The Single Room Occupancy (SRO) facility has 53 units for homeless people with a history of substance abuse and one apartment reserved for the building superintendent. VIP's on-site tenant services will be supported with funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a contract with the City's Department of Homeless Services (DHS), and a grant from the Abraham Foundation, for which the building was named.

"New York City created the model of supportive housing and continues to lead the nation in supportive housing development," said Jerilyn Perine, Commissioner of HPD. "Abraham Plaza demonstrates the effectiveness of combining affordable housing with on-site support services."

"The Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, through the NYS Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, is very pleased to have partnered with VIP Community Services in the development of Abraham Plaza," said Commissioner Brian Wing. "This project will continue VIP's strong history of responding to the needs of East Tremont's most vulnerable citizens."

VIP received more than 450 community and referral applications since July, and all the apartments have been reserved. Most of the residents have moved into the building with the balance expected to be in residence by the end of January. Sixty percent of the tenants were referred to VIP from DHS and the other forty percent are community applicants.

The six-story building features a large community meeting room, an outdoor garden plaza, offices for VIP support service staff, secure lobby, laundry room, and open lounges on every floor. The private, furnished apartments are outfitted with a captain's bed, kitchenette, table and chairs, TV stand, desk and dresser.

"HUD is very proud to support Abraham Plaza, another excellent example of a model housing development built by VIP Community Services," said Marisel Morales, HUD Regional Director for New York and New Jersey. "Now that this project is built, HUD will be providing $2.2 million to fund rental assistance and supportive services to help the residents live full and productive lives."

Tenants are offered one or two-year leases for the individual apartments and have the option to renew at the end of the contract. The DHS referral units rent for approximately $785 per month, and will be subsidized by Section 8 housing assistance. Apartments for the community applicants rent for approximately $280 per month.

About VIP Community Services
Based in the East Tremont-Crotona neighborhood of the Bronx, VIP Community Services is a comprehensive substance abuse treatment organization that has been providing services since 1974. VIP offers outpatient and residential drug treatment, methadone treatment, vocational and educational programs, health care, HIV/AIDS prevention and housing services. VIP also maintains a housing portfolio consisting of 400 units of multi-family rental housing for the community.




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