This piece was originally published in Norwood News
The Jericho Project, a not-for-profit group aiming to ease homelessness among the country’s veterans, broke ground for its latest veterans-only supportive housing on July 7. A total of 89 apartments will be available for veterans at 2065 Walton Ave. in Burnside–56 for veterans referred by the Bronx VA Medical Center and 33 for young adults ages 18-25 from Bronx Community Board 5, via referrals from BronxWorks, Covenant House, and other local non-profit organizations that work with young adults in need. Officials said they’ll also place a heavier focus in offering housing to veterans of the LGBT community.
The project is aligned with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York initiative, which looks to create more affordable housing options in New York City over the next decade. At a July 13 news conference in the Bronx, de Blasio announced a record-breaking number of new affordable housing in the city, with a total of 4,981 units either preserved or built in the city, according to the city’s figures.
July 7, 2015 by RealEstateRama
Partnership between the City and the Jericho Project Advances the Mission to Help End Veteran Homelessness in New York City.
The Bronx, NY – July 7, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and New York City Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs joined The Jericho Project, B & B Supportive, and other partners to announce the start of construction on 2065 Walton Avenue, a new development that will provide affordable housing and supportive services to formerly homeless veterans and at-risk young adults, with special attention to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender homeless youth population. This project builds on the de Blasio Administration’s commitment to helping achieve the national goal to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. The Mayor’s Housing New York plan outlines the City’s approach to address the housing needs of homeless veterans, which includes the use of federal Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) Vouchers and active collaboration with non-profit organizations like the Jericho Project and U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA).2065 Walton Avenue is being financed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan. The plan aims to create and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing. The most comprehensive affordable housing plan in the City’s history and largest municipal housing plan in the nation, its goal is to help address New York City’s affordability crisis by reaching more than half a million New Yorkers ranging from those with very low incomes to those in the middle class, all of whom face ever-rising rents.
“The women and men who serve in our nation’s military sacrifice willingly and put the needs of our country before their own,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “For many of our veterans the process of transitioning from military to civilian life can sometimes be difficult, but that doesn’t mean they have to go it alone. A safe, stable, affordable home coupled with specialized services and an environment that recognizes their unique needs and honors their service can be the hand up that our veterans need to achieve their best. I’m proud to work with outstanding partners like the Jericho Project, the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs, and our elected officials who share the mission of ending veterans’ homelessness by supporting the men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting ours.”
“Today’s groundbreaking ceremony provides tangible evidence of how New Yorkers are heeding Mayor de Blasio’s call to action and committing themselves to ending veteran homelessness,” said Loree Sutton, MD, Brigadier General (retired), Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs (MOVA). “Mayor de Blasio has pledged to expand affordable housing across the five boroughs and to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015—and today’s groundbreaking is a powerful symbol of both of these critical commitments. I applaud the Jericho Project and B&B Supportive for their leadership and ingenuity and am both heartened and inspired by so many individuals and organizations who are likewise stepping up to participate in this historic movement. Working together, we will uphold our collective moral imperative to support those who have served and sacrificed so much on our behalf.”
“We are committed to ending both veteran homelessness by the end of this calendar year and protecting LGBT youth on the brink of homelessness, and we are proud to collaborate with the Jericho Project initiative whose daily work provides supportive services and affordable housing for homeless veterans and LGBT youth,” said Gilbert Taylor, Commissioner, NYC Department of Homeless Services.
“This is a landmark moment for Jericho Project as we deepen our commitment to veterans and extend our services to young adults who are in dire need of housing and support,” said Jericho Project Executive Director Tori Lyon. Jericho currently serves over 1,600 adults and children, including 550 veterans, across the five boroughs of New York.
“B & B Supportive is proud to be collaborating with Jericho to expand the supply of affordable housing for New Yorkers in need,” said Alan Bell, Principal of B & B Supportive LLC, which is committed to developing supportive housing throughout the City for individuals and families.
“Bank of America Merrill Lynch is pleased to provide $17.6 million in debt and tax credit equity to support the Jericho Project and B&B Supportive in this inspirational and innovative project,” said Maurice Coleman, senior client manager, community development banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Projects like Walton Avenue demonstrate the bank’s commitment to building safe and supportive housing, in this case, helping veterans and formerly homeless youth.”
Joe Wimberley from The Home Depot Foundation said, “The Home Depot is dedicated to improving the homes and lives of U.S. military veterans and their families, enabling them to attain the housing they deserve after bravely serving our country.” The Home Deport Foundation generously granted $500,000 in support of the Walton Avenue residence.
Citi served as the first corporate partner to support the Walton Avenue project through a $40,000 contribution through Citi Salutes, a company-wide initiative to help meet the needs of service members, veterans and their families. Citi’s support will provide vital technology infrastructure for the project.
On-site supportive services will be provided by the Jericho Project. The non-profit began its Veterans Initiative in 2006 in response to the crisis of veterans homelessness, and is now also working to address the rising number of homeless young people, ages 18-25.
Jericho will provide its full range of services to all tenants including case management, individual and group counseling, employment and educational assistance, family reunification, and social activities. Various workshops, health fairs, computer classes, and other events will also be scheduled and will be open to members of the community.
Fifty-six (56) apartments will serve homeless veterans referred by the Bronx VA Medical Center. Thirty-three (33) apartments will serve young adults ages 18-25 from Bronx Community Board 5, via referrals from BronxWorks, Covenant House, and other local non-profit organizations that work with young adults in need.
All of the apartments will be affordable to individuals earning an annual income at or below $18,150. The rents will be subsidized using federal HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers for the veteran’s units and Project-based Section 8 vouchers from NYCHA for the young adult units to help ensure that the tenants will only need to pay 30 percent of their income towards rent.
The total development cost for this project is approximately $30.6 million. The project was financed through HPD’s Supportive Housing Loan Program (SHLP) and received $9.5 million in HOME Funds. The project also received Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from HPD which will generate $14 million in tax credit equity toward permanent financing. Financing will also include a construction loan in the amount of $13.5 million from Bank of America, a permanent loan from the New York City Employee Retirement System (NYCERS) in the amount of $2 million, and a loan of $108,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) will provide a permanent loan of $3.6 million through the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP).
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About the New York City 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. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan to build and preserve 200,000 affordable units for New Yorkers at the very lowest incomes to those in the middle class. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/nychpd and www.twitter.com/nychousing.
About the Mayor’s Office of Veteran’s Affairs (MOVA):
The Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs (MOVA) was established by local law 53 in 1987. MOVA advises the Mayor on issues and initiatives impacting the veteran and military community. Top strategic MOVA objectives include ending Veteran Homelessness in New York City, connecting veterans, active duty military and their spouses to education, mental health and employment opportunities and; connecting veterans and their family members to public and private resources which aid in transition and reintegration after military service. MOVA works with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs (NYSDVA), City Agencies, veteran’s organizations and other stakeholders to offer services to veterans, their dependents and survivors; while encouraging innovative partnerships to ensure creative problem solving. www.nyc.gov/veterans.
About Jericho Project:
Jericho Project is a nationally acclaimed nonprofit that for 32 years has worked to end homelessness at its roots by creating a goal-oriented community that motivates men and women to reach their greatest potential. It has provided supportive housing and counseling services to thousands of men and women to transform their lives for the better: 95% of clients maintain housing stability and 90% of Jericho residents affected by substance abuse maintain their sobriety. Jericho employs rigorous fiscal discipline along with innovative public – private partnerships and a base of passionate donors. Jericho’s housing and extended services cost $13,000 per person annually, compared to $32,000 for a single shelter, $50,000 for a family shelter, and $168,000 for a jail cell annually. For more information, please seewww.jerichoproject.org Twitter: @jerichoproject1
About B&B Supportive LLC:
After leading The Hudson Companies for over 25 years, in 2012 Alan Bell teamed up with his wife Elisa Barnes, an accomplished attorney, to form BellUrban LLC and B&B Supportive to develop new affordable residential and mixed-used transit oriented buildings (BellUrban) and new supportive housing for New Yorkers in need (B&B Supportive). Alan brings to this partnership his decades of success in developing almost 6,000 units of new housing in affordable, market-rate and institutional buildings. Elisa has been a trial and appellate attorney for almost 30 years.https://sites.google.com/a/bandbsupportive.com/b-and-b-supportive/
About Giving Back at The Home Depot Foundation:
Since the first The Home Depot store opened in 1979, giving back has been a core value for the Company and a passion for its associates. Today, The Home Depot, in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation, focuses its philanthropic efforts on improving the homes and lives of U.S. military veterans and their families and aiding communities affected by natural disasters. Through Team Depot, the Company’s associate-led volunteer force, thousands of associates dedicate their time and talents to these efforts in the communities where they live and work.
Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $85 million to provide safe housing to veterans, and along with the help of Team Depot volunteers, has transformed more than 17,000 homes for veterans. To learn more and see Team Depot in action, visitwww.homedepot.com/teamdepot .
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.www.citigroup.com Twitter: @Citi | YouTube:www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://blog.citigroup.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi
About Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 48 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,800 retail banking offices and approximately 15,800 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 31 million active users and approximately 17 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world’s leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Eric Bederman (HPD), bedermae (at) hpd.nyc (dot) gov
Lynthia Romney (Jericho Project) romneycom (at) gmail (dot) com
The Veterans Writing Workshop at Jericho Project was a great success. The participants came, unsure of what the workshop would be like, but curious and motivated to explore the possibilities that writing might have for them.
We began by making it clear to the participants that although they were welcome to write about their military experience, they did not have to, and that they were welcome to write about other periods of their lives. We also made it clear that the workshop was for all levels of writing experience, and that lots of prior writing experience or “being good at writing in school” were not requirements.
The first writing activity encouraged the participants to rely on their own experience (sensory and emotional) to provide strong material for writing descriptions of places and people who had been important in their lives. The participants’ response to the writing techniques was positive and enthusiastic, and they were all surprised and excited by the results.
“I didn’t know I could write this way,” one vet said, “This really just brings it out of you.”
Best of all, the participants truly bonded with each other and became a real workshop. After a few sessions, they started commenting excitedly about each other’s work, complimenting each other and offering positive, constructive comments. The energy in the room was high and positive.
Perhaps the most positive sign of how successful the workshop was occurred when the participants realized that the workshop sessions were drawing to an end, and one participant turned to his fellow workshop-members and said, “But we can still keep meeting on Wednesdays to write and talk about writing, right?” This shows the group’s strong momentum and commitment to the writing process and to each other. I look forward to watching (and helping) it grow.
To learn more about the Veterans Writing Workshop program, click here.