Brooklyn, NY Concern for Independent Living, a leading non-profit provider of supportive housing, held a ribbon cutting to officially open The Concern Heights Apartments. The total development cost for the project was $30.8 million. The architect was Dattner Architects and the contractor was Mega Conracting, Inc.
The project was made possible by support from the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), The N.Y.C. Comptroller's Office and The N.Y.C. Pension Funds, The Community Preservation Corp. (CPC) (www.communityp.com), the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, Astoria Federal Savings, and National Equity Fund.
The 90-unit Concern Heights Apartments is located on a formerly vacant lot which was purchased by Concern in 2009. With the support of Brooklyn Community Board 9, the agency began construction on a six-story apartment building which includes studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The Concern Heights Apartments represents Concern for Independent Living's first mixed-use building, providing housing and supportive services to formerly homeless individuals recovering from mental illness and to low-income individuals and families from the community. All units are wired for high-speed Internet access, cable and telephone.
The building features multiple lounges, a computer room, exercise room, community room and outdoor gardens.
When Concern purchased the site, they promised to improve the neighborhood by developing an attractive building that is an asset to the community; increasing employment opportunities; encouraging the stability, self-sufficiency and productivity of adults living with mental illness; and increasing affordable housing opportunities for individuals and families in the neighborhood. This project has succeeded in achieving all of these goals.
OMH commissioner Dr. Mike Hogan said, "Concern for Independent Living has a great track record in providing quality affordable housing for people recovering for mental illness. Common sense and our experience suggest that stable housing is a foundation for recovery. Concern has also been able to develop properties that enhance their neighborhoods. We congratulate them on the grand opening of The Concern Heights Apartments."
"As a Brooklyn resident, I know how important this project is for the neighborhood. Concern for Independent Living is at the forefront in recognizing how supportive housing helps to create better social and medical outcomes and overall cost savings for high-need clients with mental illness, substance abuse, chronic illnesses and developmental disabilities," said New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO Darryl Towns. "Under governor Cuomo's leadership, $75 million in statewide investment, from Medicaid savings, is being made available for supportive housing as an alternative to repeated unnecessary emergency room visits and admissions that don't enhance the quality of life for the neediest clients. This project will help improve the living conditions for scores of residents, improve the neighborhood, and create jobs for people in the community. Whole neighborhoods benefit when government works with the community, and non-profits and private resources are aligned to work for the people."
"Thanks to Concern for Independent Living, many low-income individuals, the formerly homeless and people with disabilities now have a beautiful new apartment to call home," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "The Concern Heights Apartments not only offers 90-units of affordable housing in Crown Heights but also a computer room, high-speed internet access, an exercise room and other supportive services that truly represent a bright, new beginning for so many of our residents in need. Bravo to Concern for Independent Living, the New York State Office of Mental Health, the New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and all of their partners for creating much-needed housing and for ensuring that Brooklyn remains proud home to everyone from everywhere."
"This beautiful new building serves the people of Brooklyn and New York State in several important ways," said OTDA executive deputy commissioner Elizabeth Berlin. "It provides safe, affordable housing for persons with disabilities as well as for individuals and families from the surrounding community. This project has benefited the entire community by providing employment opportunities for local residents and contributing to neighborhood revitalization."
Early in the planning, NYC comptroller John Liu on behalf of the NYC Pension Funds committed to financing Concerned Heights' $13 million, 30-year mortgage, which helped make construction possible. The fixed-rate mortgage was funded through Comptroller Liu's and the Pension Funds' Economically Targeted Investments program, which invests in under-capitalized New York City neighborhoods. Funding will be provided by the New York City Employees' Retirement System, the New York City Police Pension Fund, and the Teachers' Retirement System of the City of New York.
"The Pension Funds' $13 million mortgage sets an example for the kind of creative partnerships we need to increase our City's affordable housing stock," Comptroller Liu said. "With rents through the roof and homelessness at a record high we need to build more affordable homes like the Concern Heights Apartments, rather than shelters."
"For more than a decade, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York has been a proud supporter of the tremendous work Concern for Independent Living does across New York," said Alfred A. DelliBovi, president and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. "Since 1999, we have partnered with our member, Astoria Federal Savings, to provide Concern with 10 Affordable Housing Program grants totaling more than $6 million. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to assist Concern in its mission of providing housing and support services for those New Yorkers who need it most."
"CPC believes in the power of quality affordable housing to rebuild, strengthen, and transform vibrant neighborhoods, and safe supportive housing to meet and accommodate New York State's special needs community," said Rafael E. Cestero, President and CEO of The Community Preservation Corporation. "Concern Heights wouldn't be possible without the vision of committed partners like Concern for Independent Living and the New York City Pension Funds, which helped support our loan. Now, 90 individuals and families will have homes to call their own and enhance the Crown Heights community."
The total development cost for The Concern Heights Apartments was $30.8 million. Financing included 9% Tax Credits issued by New York State Homes and Community Renewal, a grant from the New York State Office of Mental Health, a grant from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance/Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, a $13 million loan from The Community Preservation Corporation, and an Affordable Housing Program grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York through Astoria Federal Savings.
Concern for Independent Living, Inc. is a non-profit agency committed to helping low income persons and persons with disabilities to live in the community with dignity and enhanced opportunities through the provision of housing and support services. Concern is one of the largest housing agencies of this kind in New York State, currently serving nearly 800 individuals and families in over 200 locations. Concern offers a variety of housing options with individualized support services designed to support personal growth and independence.