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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 31, 2008

Neill Coleman: (212) 863-8076


ACORN AND HPD CELEBRATE REBIRTH OF PLEASANT EAST

ACORN and HPD Celebrate Preservation of More Than 100 Affordable Apartments for Low-Income Families Following $8M Renovation of Pleasant East Complex

  January 31, 2007 – New York ACORN Housing Company, government officials and low-income families re-dedicated today Pleasant East Apartments in East Harlem, a set of buildings preserved and renovated over the last three years to house more than 100 tenants in permanently affordable apartments.

  "ACORN Housing is extremely proud to be re-dedicating Pleasant East, and to provide truly affordable housing to more than 100 low-income families,” said Ismene Speliotis, president of New York ACORN Housing Company.  “Unfortunately, the number of apartments available to Section 8 renters in New York City and East Harlem is very low.  To save Pleasant East from demolition and turn it into an safehaven for those families is as rewarding as it is important."

  ACORN Housing acquired the complex from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in December of 2004, and – with help from the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the New York City Council, and The Community Preservation Corporation – made $8 million in improvements.

  “By keeping the Pleasant East apartments affordable to low-income families, the City and its partners are ensuring that the hard-working residents of East Harlem can remain in their neighborhood and maintain the community’s diversity,” said HPD Commissioner Donovan. “Through Mayor Bloomberg’s 165,000-unit housing initiative, HPD has preserved nearly 40,000 units of affordable housing over the past four years by creating incentives for developers and working with our partners at City Council and organizations like ACORN and CPC. Under the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, the City will build and preserve enough affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers, making it the largest municipal affordable housing plan in the nation’s history.”

  "ACORN is to be commended for coming to the aid of the residents of Pleasant East Apartments and helping them save their homes,” said Deborah Van Amerongen. commissioner of the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal and former director of Multi-Family Housing for HUD. “I know that they worked very hard to save this building, and it's wonderful to be here celebrating their success."

  All work was done without displacing residents, and additional, previously unoccupied units are now occupied by low-income, Section 8 families who had been waiting for affordable apartments.  The complex is now at 100 percent capacity, with 100 percent of the units occupied by Section 8 tenants.

“The renovations to the Pleasant East apartments will be a welcome addition to this thriving community,” said Michael Lappin, President and CEO of The Community Preservation Corporation.  “We are delighted to work once again with the New York Acorn Housing Company and help provide quality, affordable housing options for East Harlem’s working families.”

  “Improvements to a building like this are improvements to our community,” said 75-year-old Pleasant East resident Saturnina Montanez, who has lived in the complex for the last 14 years.  ”Now I can live here another 14 years.  It’s wonderful.”

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