Prospect Residence Provides New Homes And Supportive Services For Seniors And Homeless Older Adults Living With HIV/AIDS
New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua, together with Comunilife Inc. President & CEO Dr. Rosa M. Gil today announced the opening of Comunilife Prospect Supportive Residence. Located at 780 Prospect Avenue in the Longwood section of the Bronx, this new development provides 60 affordable apartments with a preference given to seniors and chronically homeless older adults living with HIV/AIDS. Prospect Residence is adjacent to The Melody, a new 63-unit affordable co-op which officially opened earlier this year. Also in attendance were Chief of Staff for New York City Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Kristin Misner, Commissioner Cecile Noel of New York City Human Resources Administration, Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Green.
Prospect Residence was developed under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP), an $8.5 billion initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by the close of the 2014 fiscal year. To date, the plan has funded the creation or preservation of over 125,000 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs; 37,465 of those units in the Bronx with 4,465 units located in Community District 2 where Prospect Residence is located.
“Access to affordable housing is essential for many New Yorkers. In a time when the city and nation as a whole faces an economic crisis and budgets are tightened, we must do what we can to continue to make housing available to those who need it the most,” said HPD Commissioner Wambua. “The housing we are celebrating here today is especially important, as it will be a home and safe haven for seniors and older adults who live with HIV or AIDS. I’d like to thank the New York City Human Resources Administration, the Department of Aging, Comunilife, Enterprise, our elected officials and other partners who have helped to bring housing to this community that helps bring peace of mind to some of our most vulnerable populations.”
Designed as a supportive residence with a preference for seniors and chronically homeless older adults living with HIV/AIDS, Comunilife Prospect Supportive Residence will provide 60 studio apartments with an additional unit for a superintendent along with support services tailored to the needs of the residents. All of the units are reserved for low-income tenants at 50 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI), which is equal to $28,650 per year for a single person. Twenty-five studio units are reserved for low-income seniors and 35 studio units for low-income residents referred by the NYC Human Resource Administration’s (HRA) HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA). The remaining unit is reserved for a building superintendent.
“Prospect Residence is Comunilife’s newest housing development for low-income, special needs New Yorker’s and our first exclusively for older residents,” said Dr. Rosa M. Gill, President of Comunilife, Inc. “We are delighted to be able to improve the quality of life for 60 seniors in need through housing and supportive services and are committed to building additional housing for this population.”
All of the units will include kitchenettes and private bathrooms. Other amenities include a 24 hour/7 days a week staffed security desk, staff offices, a cafeteria, a solarium, an outdoor sitting area and a planting garden for residents. The building will incorporate Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, a comprehensive set of guidelines to encourage green building practices by developers of affordable housing. The criteria was created to yield lowered utility costs, a healthier living environment and increased sustainability while benefiting the financial stability of both tenants and affordable housing owners.
“HRA’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration provides greater care and support to our residents with clinical symptomatic HIV or AIDS than any other program, in any other city in the country,” said HRA Commissioner Robert Doar. “Ensuring our clients live in safe and medically appropriate housing is a priority for HRA. Buildings like Comunilife Prospect Supportive Residence allow us to keep this commitment with our at-risk clients and are solid proof of our long standing supportive housing partnership with The Department of Housing Preservation and Development and Comunilife, Inc.”
HPD’s Supportive Housing Loan Program helps fund supportive housing developments throughout New York City. Supportive housing is permanent, affordable housing with on-site support services to serve the needs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including the homeless and disabled. These buildings are owned and operated by experienced community organizations, like Comunilife, Inc., that maintain a high standard of property management. In some developments on-site social services may include case management to help residents set goals, employment assistance, educational and vocational training, access to health care and counseling, health, wellness and nutrition classes, and peer support. Through supportive housing, disabled individuals and residents with special needs are able to live independent and productive lives with the foundation of stable housing.
“Providing a warm and welcoming home for our elders, embraced with the loving support of organizations such as the Comunilife is a mainstay of my platform as borough president,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Wherever possible, I support the development of housing for seniors. The distinctive design of this and the adjoining building and their cultural statements on behalf of the area’s rich musical heritage are deeply appreciated. I join Comunilife in celebrating another of their wonderful housing developments.”
“Developments like Comunilife Prospect Supportive Residence enable many of our most vulnerable neighbors to break the cycle of homelessness each year. Thanks to Comunilife and the City’s commitment, 60 residents have a new home and access to vital supportive services,” said Abby Jo Sigal, Vice President and Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners. “Enterprise is proud to have supported the project with a $25,000 Enterprise Green Communities grant to help make a home possible for these deserving Bronx residents.”
Comunilife Prospect Supportive Residence is being built at a total development cost of $12.4 million with HPD supplying approximately $6.8 million in federal HOME dollars through its Supportive Housing Loan Program. The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) provided $4.9 million in 9 percent Tax Credit equity and Enterprise Community Partners provided a $25,000 Green Communities Grant to Comunilife for this project as part of the Enterprise-NYSERDA Collaborative Grant Program. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing - Housing Opportunities for Persons with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) provided approximately $721,000 in the form of a loan to support the project.
"RBC Capital Markets' Tax Credit Equity Group was honored to partner on this project by providing tax credit equity financing of $4.9 million. The impact of the LIHTC program adds tremendous value to the availability of affordable housing both in The Bronx and nationwide" said Bob Spangler, Managing Director of RBC Capital Markets’ Tax Credit Equity Group.
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 125,000 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hpd.
About Comunilife Inc.
Comunilife is a not-for-profit organization implementing President Gil’s vision to expand access to the continuum of housing, health, behavioral health, rehabilitation, and social services to children, adolescents, adults, and families living with mental illness, addictive disorders, HIV/AIDS, and homelessness. At the core of this vision is Comunilife’s guiding philosophy to enable individuals to live independent, productive lives in their own communities by tapping their resiliency and mobilizing the social capital of their communities. For more information, visit: www.comunilife.org
About the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA)
The New York City Human Resources Administration/ Department of Social Services (HRA/DSS) provides temporary help to individuals and families with social service and economic needs to assist them in reaching self-sufficiency. HRA serves more than 3 million New Yorkers through essential programs and services that include: temporary cash assistance, public health insurance, food stamps, home care for seniors and the disabled, child care, adult protective services, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS support services and child support enforcement. For more information, visit: www.nyc.gov/hra