BROOKLYN, NY - Concern for Independent Living, a leading nonprofit provider of supportive housing, held a ribbon cutting to officially open The MacDougal Street Apartments, bringing an innovative supportive housing development and more than a dozen new jobs to the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.
The project was made possible by support from the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, Astoria Federal Savings, Richman Housing Resources, and New York City.
The 65-unit MacDougal Street Apartments is located on the site of a former residential program for adolescents, which closed in 2005. The buildings on the property remained vacant and boarded up, becoming a neighborhood eyesore until the property was purchased by Concern in 2008. The vacant structures were demolished to make room for a newly constructed six-story building.
Built using modular construction techniques, The MacDougal Street Apartments is the first of its kind in New York State. Eighty-four modules were constructed off-site at Capsys Corp.'s manufacturing plant at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and transported to the project site for "stacking" on the building's foundation. This technique quickly transformed the property into a residence with 65 studio apartments for low-income individuals recovering from mental illness. The residents include formerly homeless individuals and persons exiting OMH's state residency system. All units are wired for high-speed internet access, cable and telephone. The building features multiple lounges, a computer room, exercise room, dining hall 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 disabled men and women. This project has succeeded in achieving all of these goals.
"When you remove an eyesore building, replace it with beautiful housing and create 18 new permanent jobs, there is good reason to celebrate," said Ralph Fasano, Executive Director of Concern for Independent Living.
"The MacDougal Street Apartments does all of that as well as create a beautiful and supportive living environment. I want to thank our partners in government and our not-for-profit and for-profit lenders for making this dream a reality," he said.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO Darryl C. Towns said, "The measure of a society is how it treats those who are most vulnerable. Under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, HCR is working within the Medicaid Redesign Team to find better ways to address the medical and social issues of Medicaid's highest-need clients. Supportive housing has been shown to improve the overall health and well-being of these individuals, helping advance their independence through stable and safe environments. We are proud to be part of the MacDougal Apartments project and part of transforming the lives of the 65 people who will call it home."
Office of Mental Health Commissioner Mike Hogan said, "Housing is a basic need for everyone. For people with mental illness, safe, decent and affordable housing is the foundation upon which recovery is built. Concern for Independent Living has demonstrated an ability to operate outstanding supported housing services. With this project, Concern will help start 65 more individuals on that path to recovery."
The total development cost for The MacDougal Street Apartments was $21.7 million. Financing included 4% Tax Credits issued by New York State Homes and Community Renewal, a grant from the New York State Office of Mental Health, and an Affordable Housing Program grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.
Concern for Independent Living, Inc. is a nonprofit 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 approximately 700 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.