The City of New York – News from the Blue Room | February 6, 2003
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined new tenants and City business, housing and community leaders today to mark the opening of the Dorothy Day Apartments, a new supportive housing development located at 583 Riverside Drive in West Harlem. The project is comprised of 70 apartments for low-income families, a childcare center for resident and neighborhood children, employment services, and educational, cultural arts and technology programs available to both residents and youth in the community. NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Jerilyn Perine, Managing Director of the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs Richard T. Roberts, NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal Commissioner Judith A. Calogero, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Brian J. Wing, NYS Assembly Housing Committee Chair Vito Lopez, and Harlem Churches for Community Improvement Chairman the Rev. Canon Frederick B. Williams also attended the announcement.
“Dorothy Day Apartments is an excellent model of the type of affordable housing we intend to continue developing for people with special needs,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The families living in the Dorothy Day Apartments want just what my parents struggled to achieve, and what all parents want for their kids: the security that only good living accommodations in safe and stable neighborhoods can provide. Affordable housing is fundamental to our long-term economic prosperity and our housing investment strategy will guide us towards securing that future.”
Broadway Housing Communities, the nonprofit sponsor of Dorothy Day Apartments, first acquired the vacant building on Riverside Drive and West 135th Street, with a gift from an anonymous benefactor that was made on the condition that the building would be named to honor the legacy of Dorothy Day. Day, born November 8, 1897 in Brooklyn, New York, was an activist for peace and social justice who devoted her life to advocating for poor and homeless people.
The majority of the $16 million total development cost of Dorothy Day Apartments is private equity. Goldman Sachs provided $8 million through the purchase of tax credits administered by the NY State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. The City, through HPD’s Supportive Housing Loan Program made a loan of $2.5 million, and the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Homeless Housing Assistance Program loaned $3 million.
The Corporation for Supportive Housing and the Community Service Society of New York provided low-interest interim financing for the project. The New York Conservancy contributed support to preserve the historic character of the turn-of-the-century property. Significant philanthropic grants from the Rhodebeck Charitable Trust, the Robin Hood Foundation, the Samberg Family Foundation, and other anonymous benefactors combined to complete the financing package.
“The State has a long and dynamic history of investment in this community, not only in the area of housing but also through other economic development initiatives including retail and commercial projects,” said NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal Commissioner Calogero. “Our involvement has helped to fund nearly 65% of the $16 million project and we are proud to have played such a vital role.”
“Dorothy Day Apartments provides an opportunity to make an economic investment and do good at the same time,” said Mr. Roberts, Managing Director of the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs. Mr. Roberts is the former commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development and the current chairman of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.
HPD, the nation’s largest municipal housing development agency, has completed the construction or rehabilitation of more than 204,000 units of affordable housing citywide and invested over $1 billion in Harlem since July 1986. Working with their non-profit partners, HPD has completed over 7,100 apartments with on-site support services for people with special needs from 1991-2002. Another 2,300 apartments are currently in construction or funded for development through 2006.
In December 2002, Mayor Bloomberg announced a $3 billion plan to create and preserve more than 65,000 homes and apartments in neighborhoods throughout New York City over the next five years, which will increase production of new units by 25%, as well a stream of initiatives aimed at facilitating private investment in housing. The Mayor stressed the need to make scarce City dollars go farther and increase private investment in an era when cuts to capital spending for housing are unavoidable.