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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 19, 2013

Juliet Morris (HPD) 212-863-5682


HPD, STATE OFFICIALS AND COMUNILIFE CELEBRATE THE GROUNDBREAKING FOR EL RIO RESIDENCES IN THE BRONX

The New Supportive Housing Development Will Add 65 New Affordable Units to the West Farms Neighborhood 

Bronx, NY – The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA), and Comunilife celebrated the start of construction on El Rio Residences, its newest supportive housing residence in the Bronx. El Rio, which is located in the West Farms neighborhood of the Bronx, will provide housing to 26 low-income individuals and 39 formerly homeless individuals living with mental illness. Also attending the groundbreaking were Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene, Red Stone Equity, GranKreigel Associates and Fasio Construction.  

The El Rio Residence was developed under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP), a multibillion dollar 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 156,397 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs; 49,162 of those units in the Bronx with 3,954 units located in Community District 6 where El Rio Residence is located. 

“Supportive housing provides New Yorkers who are at-risk and least able to find housing with an opportunity to create a stable and productive future,” said HPD Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas. “The El Rio Residence will be that touchstone for the future tenants who deserve a hand-up and a safe place to call home. Comunilife has been a valued partner to HPD in our mission to provide quality affordable housing and supportive services to our most vulnerable citizens. My thanks to Comunilife, OTDA, DOHMH, Borough President Diaz and all of our partners for their commitment to this great project.”  

Dr. Rosa M. Gil, Comunilife’s President and CEO stated that, “We are very excited to have broken ground on the El Rio Supportive Housing Residence - Comunilife’s second mixed population building – our first – Prospect residence opened in October 2011 and has become a model for the delivery of affordable housing in New York City. Our goal is to help at-risk New Yorkers build a foundation to become self-sufficient, live independently in their communities and be good neighbors to us all. We are grateful to our partners whose help is vital to making El Rio a reality”

El Rio Residence will be an eight-story building that features 65 studio apartments, two outdoor spaces, a large community room with a kitchen and a laundry area. With funding from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the New York State Office of Mental Health, El Rio will be staffed with a program manager, case managers and 24/7 security.  

HPD is providing Project Based Section 8 Vouchers for the 39 formerly homeless residents living with mental illness. The remaining units will be available to individuals earning no more than 60% Area Median Income (AMI), or $36,120 annually for an individual. AMI levels are calculated annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  

El Rio is being developed with funding from the New York State OTDA, the Bronx Borough President’s Office and the HPD Supportive Housing Loan Program. The total development cost is approximately $20.9 million. HPD will provide $11.3 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits which will be syndicated by Red Stone Equity Partners. HPD will also provide $7.2 million in federal HOME funding. The State will provide $450,000 in HHAP funding and the Bronx Borough President will provide $744,000 in Reso A funds. The remaining balance will be made up of developer contributions. 

The City of New York requires that subsidized apartments be rented or sold through an open lottery system to ensure fair and equitable distribution of housing to eligible applicants. Marketing of the apartments and the application process for the lottery typically begin when construction is approximately 70 percent complete. For more information regarding the lottery process, current housing lotteries, how to apply to an open lottery, and if you would like to receive an e-mail when HPD updates its available apartment and home website listings for City-subsidized housing in the five boroughs, please visit the Apartment Seekers and Homebuyers pages at www.nyc.gov 

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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 the end of fiscal year 2014. Since the plan’s inception, more than 156,397 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For regular updates on news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/nychpd and www.twitter.com/nychousing. For more information, visit our website at www.nyc.gov/hpd. 

About Comunilife:

Comunilife’s mission is to improve the quality of life and create a healthier tomorrow for New Yorkers with special needs in the Hispanic and broader communities, by providing culturally competent health and human services and a continuum of affordable and supportive housing. Through its 1,438 units of supportive housing for persons living with HIV/AIDS and/or mental illness and outpatient mental health clinic Comunilife serves more than 3,000 New Yorkers annually.