Yellow Ribbon-Cutting for First Veterans Residence of its Kind in New York in 17 Years
Colonel David Sutherland, Special Assistant for Warrior and Family Support, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to Speak
Bronx, NY – The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and the Jericho Project, along with the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs (MOVA) today celebrated the grand opening of “Fordham Village - A Jericho Project Veterans Community,” a new six-story 56-unit affordable development for veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Located at 355 East 194th Street, in the Bronx, Fordham Village will provide first class supportive housing and state-of-the-art services enabling U.S. service men and women to make the transition from military to civilian life with dignity. There are currently an estimated 109,000 veterans who are homeless across America. With the goal of eliminating veterans’ homelessness by 2015, The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is relying on public-private partnerships such as Jericho’s Veterans Initiative to help close the gap.
Fordham Village was built under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP), an $8.4 billion initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by 2014. To date, the plan has funded the creation or preservation of 112,178 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs; 3,333 of those units in Bronx Community Board 7 where Fordham Village is located.
“Our men and women in uniform are called on to make extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of their country, and many return from conflicts bearing both the visible and invisible scars of battle,” said HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua. “At Fordham Village, our veterans have access to top-of-the-line affordable housing coupled with the specialized services they need to make a fresh start. The City is honored to be able to help support the veterans who have valorously committed their lives to public service. I salute the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs for their efforts and the Jericho Project for their continued dedication to our service members.”
Jericho Project Executive Director Tori Lyon, who first envisioned the Jericho Project Veterans Initiative in 2006 in anticipation of the special needs of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, said, “This generation of veterans faces extraordinary challenges in returning home: high combat stress resulting in the invisible wounds of modern war, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury; more female veterans with special needs and family responsibilities, and a difficult economy. We are ready to help them overcome these stresses with therapeutic housing and counseling.”
To help celebrate the grand opening of Fordham Village, Colonel David Sutherland, Special Assistant for Warrior and Family Support, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke at the yellow ribbon-cutting ceremony. A passionate advocate of veterans support, Col. Sutherland commanded the U.S. Army's 3d Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, deployed to Diyala province, Iraq from October 2006 to December 2007.
“The Jericho Project has been a beacon of hope for many returning veterans,” said MOVA Commissioner Terrance C. Holliday. “This new facility can now open its doors for a new generation of veterans in need thanks to the partnership between the Bloomberg Administration and Jericho Project. We look forward to a continued partnership to provide our veterans with the support they richly deserve.”
The six-story Fordham Village development has 56 new affordable units. Forty percent of the units will be reserved for low-income veterans from the community, with priority given to veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sixty percent of the units will be set aside for veterans who have a history of homelessness and substance abuse. All of the units will be affordable to tenants earning no more than 60% Area Median Income (AMI) or what is equivalent to an annual income of $33,300 for an individual. This is the first phase in Jericho’s visionary Veterans Initiative that will eventually serve 200 veterans. The second veterans residence planned for opening this fall, at 2701 Kingsbridge Terrace in the Bronx, will provide housing and services for 76 veterans.
HPD provided $7.84 million though its Supportive Housing Loan Program (SHLP), and an additional $6 million through Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provided $106,000, and $118,000 in developer equity was provided by the Jericho Project.
“Providing our veterans with energy-efficient, environmentally friendly apartments is the least we can do to honor the courage and sacrifice these men and women have demonstrated to protect our freedoms. These apartments are designed to earn both the ENERGY STAR label and LEED Gold rating,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “NYSERDA is proud to have partnered with the Jericho Project and Steven Winter Associates on Fordham Village, and we’re ready to partner on more projects that are healthy and safe for our veterans and our environment.”
At Fordham Village veterans will be able to heal and plan their futures in a supportive environment designed to address their unique needs. Some of the features include a glass-walled community room and garden and computer center. Residents will also have access to Jericho Project’s trained staff that will provide professional counseling to help veterans pursue goals such as employment, family reunification and mental health. With professional support available to meet the needs of veterans of all eras, Fordham Village offers critical access to programs addressing the invisible wounds of modern war; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Advising Jericho in its forward-looking suite of services is its Veterans Advisory Council (VAC) comprised of leaders and veterans from the military, government, business, education, medicine, philanthropy, and the media.
Additionally, the Fordham Village Community Room is being named “Red Tails Community Room” in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen and Tuskegee Commander and Congressional Gold Medal recipient Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., who is also a VAC member and the Director of the Center for Urban Education Policy and University Professor at the Graduate School and University Center of The City University of New York.
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About the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD):
HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. It is responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the construction or preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. Since the plan’s inception, more than 112,000 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hpd
About Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan:
New York City’s affordable housing program to build or preserve 165,000 units of housing — enough to house half a million New Yorkers — is the most ambitious and productive in the nation—creating housing as well as jobs for New Yorkers. In April, 2010 the City reached the critical benchmark of 100,000 units financed—representing an investment of $4.5 billion to date by the City, not including roughly $5 billion in bonds issued by HDC.
The Plan has been recast to maintain production momentum while confronting head-on the economic challenges facing the City, the State, the housing industry, the financial sector and individual New Yorkers and their families. In order to fulfill the NHMP goal of 165,000 units, HPD and the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC) are responding to market realities and focusing on three primary goals: strengthening neighborhoods, expanding the supply of affordable and sustainable housing and stabilizing families by keeping them in their homes. To read more about the NHMP, please visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/about/plan.shtml.
About the Jericho Project:
For over 28 years, Jericho Project has enabled thousands of men and women, many of whom have experienced chronic homelessness and substance abuse, to redirect their lives and achieve their greatest potential. Jericho Project serves nearly 550 individuals and families in five meticulous residences and supportive apartments in the New York area and provides access to comprehensive counseling for employment, education, financial, medical or psychological resources to help them meet their needs and achieve their goals. Jericho’s model of supportive housing and counseling services has enabled 95 percent of its graduates to achieve independent living. www.jerichoproject.org