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Homes and Community Renewal

Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and NYS Homes and Community Renewal, joined by Richman Housing Resources, Dedicates the Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Residence and New Housing for Formerly Homeless Veterans in Brooklyn

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Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Joins New York State to Respond to Veteran Homelessness Crisis by creating 22 apartments for formerly homeless veterans in newly renovated supportive housing building

Building renamed after the late and beloved Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan, advocate for social justice and affordable housing

Brooklyn, NY, November 10, 2015–Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), joined by Richman Housing Resources, celebrated the opening of the Catholic Charities Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Residence, formerly known as Our Lady of Good Counsel Single Room Occupancy Apartments at 800 Madison Street in Brooklyn. HCR financed the $21.7 million substantial renovation of the complex, allowing Catholic Charities to preserve 76 apartments for the formerly homeless and create 22 new apartments designated specifically for formerly homeless veterans.

“A safe, affordable place to live is essential to providing stability to those who have been forced to live in shelters or on the street.  For the formerly homeless and formerly homeless veterans in New York City, we offer a fresh start and hope for the future; they deserve nothing less,” said Msgr. Alfred LoPinto. “Providing and preserving affordable housing is one of the cornerstones of the Church’s mission and we are committed to doing everything possible to provide for those in need.”

‘’Under Governor Cuomo's leadership we are committed to helping troubled veterans get back on their feet and find safe haven,” said NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner James S. Rubin. “It’s significant, of course, that we are dedicating this renovated building with these 22 additional units the day before Veterans’ Day – but this should be clear -- this is a 24/7 365-day-a –year mission. After sacrificing so much to serve our nation and to secure our liberties, we must do everything we can to help these courageous men and women find safe affordable housing. It is our duty to offer those who are homeless respite from the vagaries and violence of the streets.”

Homelessness among veterans is a widely recognized problem. In New York under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, homelessness among veterans saw its sharpest drop, declining 45 percent between 2013 and 2014. In 2014 alone, six projects have been awarded State funding to develop 210 units of supportive housing for veterans. Four others have been completed (in the Bronx, Amityville, Syracuse, and Canandaigua) and two are still in development (Hudson River Housing, 25 units in Poughkeepsie; and HELP Development Corporation in Buffalo). Today, in addition to the dedication ceremony for the Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Residence, HCR is celebrating a groundbreaking in Canandaigua of a new 48-unit $10.7 million supportive housing development for homeless or near homeless veterans.

“The completion of this project is the culmination of the hard work, dedication and commitment of many people. Yet, it all started with Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan responding to the call to serve those most in need,” said Karim Camara, Executive Director, New York State Faith Based Community Development Services.  “The state’s partnership in this project is a testament to Governor Cuomo’s vision and to the significance of his Opportunity Agenda, which is bringing benefits to every sector of our economy. It also clearly demonstrates Commissioner Rubin’s vision and commitment to build homes and communities for those who need it the most. There is no group of people more deserving than the men and women who have made great sacrifices to serve our country.“

“The preservation of affordable housing is one of our goals and the Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Residence is a great example of what can be done through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), that leverages public and private investment and reinvests in housing stock keeping it permanently affordable,” saidMirza Orriols, HUD Region II Deputy Regional Administrator. “RAD and HUD-VASH housing vouchers help us reach the goal set by the Mayors Challenge, a White House initiative that aims to end veteran homelessness by the end of this year.” 

Financing of this renovation was made possible through extensive partnerships among New York State Homes and Community Renewal, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Richman Housing Resources, and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Catholic Charities also worked with the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Mayor’s Office of Veteran’s Affairs and New York City Department of Homeless Services and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for the placement of veterans in the new apartments.

“The Bishop Joseph Sullivan Residence is an outstanding example of what can and should done for our homeless neighbors… provide them with an affordable place to live that restores their dignity as citizens and enables them to participate fully within the community,” said Bill Traylor, President of Richman Housing Resources LLC, which helped structure and secure the financing for the rehabilitation. “I congratulate Catholic Charities for its vision and commitment of service among the poor, and I applaud all the partners, the City and State as well as Wells Fargo, for stepping up to the plate to make the Bishop Sullivan Residence happen,” continued Mr. Traylor.  

“We appreciate that Catholic Charities has partnered with our homeless program in New York city to create a wonderful housing opportunity for our soon to be formerly homeless veterans,” according to Karen Fuller, Director of Homeless Programs, New York Harbor Healthcare Systems. “We appreciate the collaboration to provide the best possible community and support services for these veterans.”

According to the City Department of Homeless Services (DHS), there are currently 1,000 homeless veterans in New York City, of those, 712 are in DHS shelters, 264 are in federal VA-funded housing, and 29 are living on the streets.

“With so many homeless on the streets – including men and women who have bravely served our country – it is critical to provide stable affordable homes,” said Msgr. LoPinto. “The need for affordable housing in New York City is overwhelming, and this newly renovated and expanded residence provides the formerly homeless with the highest quality housing and services in their own neighborhood. We are thrilled that many of these individuals now have a special place to call “home.”

Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens is one of the largest faith-based providers of affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors, families and special needs populations in New York City, having developed over 3,500 units of affordable housing throughout Brooklyn and Queens. 

Located at 800 Madison Street in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, the Catholic Charities Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Residence was previously known as Our Lady of Good Counsel. It was purchased in the mid-1980s from the local parish in Bedford/Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. It was originally three separate structures – an all-boys school, an all-girls school, and a rectory – run by the teaching communities of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn and the Sisters of St. Joseph. Through Bishop Sullivan’s vision and leadership, the property was later converted to supportive housing for formerly homeless adults and was recently renovated to add 22 new apartments. The lobby space was also renovated, along with new common areas and meeting rooms for the building’s 98 residents. The renovations and new additions reflect a philosophy that encourages individual self-sufficiency within the context of a supportive community.

Bishop Sullivan became a proud member of the Catholic Charities family over fifty years ago, where his vision of serving those who need it most need became his life’s work. His life-long passion for social justice and affordable housing has resonated with a number of New York residents and with the help of Catholic Charities his spirit and mission will continue to live on.

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About Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens
For over 115 years, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens has been providing quality social services to the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens, and currently offers more than 160 programs and services for children, youth, adults, seniors, those with developmental disabilities, and those struggling with mental illness. Catholic Charities is also one of the largest faith-based providers of affordable housing in New York City, providing 3,750 units of housing for low-income seniors, families, and the formerly homeless, including 750 units of special needs housing, throughout Brooklyn and Queens. Visit www.ccbq.org.

About New York State Homes and Community Renewal:
New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) agencies include the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others. In 2014, HCR boasted a record year, financing the creation or preservation of 9,407 affordable housing units, including affordable homeownership opportunities for more than one thousand families. 2015 marks the third year of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion statewide House NY program, whose goal is to create or preserve 14,300 affordable units by 2018. As the largest investment in New York State’s affordable housing stock in at least 15 years, House NY investments will keep thousands of low- and moderate-income Mitchell-Lama units affordable for another 40 years.