Press Releases

Common Ground and Partners Break Ground on New Affordable Housing in the Bronx for Seniors

New Building is One of the First Developments to Use New York State Medicaid Redesign Team Funding

Chase Donates $50,000 Gift To Support Boston Road Tenant Services

BRONX, NEW YORK –New York State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR) and New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) joined Common Ground, and partners to celebrate the groundbreaking of Boston Road, a new 154‐unit permanent supportive residence for older adults that is one of the first projects to use the New York State Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) capital funding to employ housing as a strategy for reducing health care costs. The Medicaid Redesign Team was established by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to create efficiencies in the state’s Medicaid program. Last year HPD and HCR announced
their joint commitment to utilize new tools and resources, including the MRT funding, to double HPD’s production of supportive housing units throughout the City to help meet the needs of New York’s most vulnerable citizens. Also in attendance were Acting Commissioner of the New York State Division on Human Rights/Former New York City Council Member Helen Foster, New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, JP Morgan Chase, RBC Capital Partners, and others.

“Boston Road is part of the MRT’s plan to provide affordable homes and support services to thousands of people in need—and at the same time save the state billions of dollars,” said Darryl C. Towns, Commissioner/CEO of HCR. “HCR is proud to partner with Common Ground and to be part of Governor Cuomo’s innovative initiative that invests in developments like Boston Road across the State. The results will be an increase in affordable homes, better care, and lower costs for New York.”

Governor Cuomo recently announced the MRT will undertake investments to create new affordable homes and provide support to 5,000 high‐need New Yorkers, and put the State on track to achieve more than $34.3 billion in Medicaid savings over the next five years. Boston Road is part of the first phase, which includes a commitment of $46.7 million in capital funds to construct 12 new buildings in the next 24‐36 months.

“Boston Road is the first of what we hope will be many developments to use a unique financing structure that combines New York State MRT funds hand‐in‐hand with HPD Supportive Housing Loan Program funds to develop dynamic supportive housing developments. In this effort, Boston Road is the trailblazer. I thank New York State HCR and OTDA, the staff at HPD, our partners Common Ground, JP Morgan Chase, Services for the Underserved, and all the others who worked tirelessly in supporting this project. This combined financing underpins the ability of this development to move forward and, along with the program and building design, speaks loudly with respect to the most important and rewarding part of our jobs – creating affordable homes for vulnerable populations who need it the most,” said HPD Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas.

“I am so proud to break ground today on Boston Road, which will create safe, comfortable and healthy home for some of our community’s most vulnerable individuals. By 2017, one‐third of Common Ground residents will be 62 or older, so we are dedicated to rethinking aging in place. By using the state Medicaid Redesign Team funding, and piloting our innovative Elder Care Health Outreach program, we hope to be establishing a model for housing providers on how to address aging and healthcare. More supportive housing for older adults who have experienced homelessness will help ease the burden on our society’s healthcare system and help
seniors live longer, healthier lives,” said Brenda Rosen, Executive Director of Common Ground. Boston Road will be constructed under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP), a multibillion dollar initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by the close of the 2014 fiscal year. To date, the NHMP has funded the creation or preservation of more than 156,397 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs. More than 49,167 units have been created or preserved in the Bronx. For every dollar invested by the City for affordable housing, the NHMP has leveraged $3.44 in additional funding for a total investment of more than $23 billion.

Boston Road will have a total of 154 rental studio units with one additional unit reserved for an onsite superintendent. Sixty of the total units will be available to individuals earning up to 60% Area Median Income (AMI), or no more than $36,120 for an individual with a portion of units available to senior age 62 and older. AMI income levels are calculated annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The remaining 94 units will be available to formerly homeless individuals. These units will receive rent subsidy through Project‐Based Section 8. Renters will be responsible for paying 30% of their monthly income toward rent.

The new building will feature a landscaped terrace, green roof, recreational space, exercise room and computer lab. Sustainability features include high performance boilers, energy efficient fixtures and lighting controls, water saving plumbing fixtures and Energy Star appliances. In addition to the lending commitment, JP Morgan Chase has generously donated $50,000 to the project to support tenant services. Common Ground’s community
partner and project co‐sponsor, the New Covenant Faith & Miracle Arena, will be offering programming for neighborhood residents and other social and cultural events and outings. Services for the UnderServed will be providing on‐site support for residents, including mental health services, a Registered Nurse to address medical issues and career counseling. The total development cost for Boston Road is $47.7 million. HCR provided $23.9
million in bond financing and $1.6 million in 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The project received $6.9 million in New York State Medicaid Redesign Team funding. The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) provided $3.7 million from the NYS Homeless Housing and Assistance Program and the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) will provide funding for support services for the tenants. HPD provided $8.2 million in HOME funding and $2 million in Reso A funds from City Council Member Helen Foster.

The project is being syndicated by RBC Capital Partners. Common Ground’s community partner and project co‐sponsor is The New Covenant Faith & Miracle Arena, Inc. A portion of the total apartments in this development will be filled through an HPD-supervised housing lottery. The City of New York requires that subsidized apartments be rented or sold through an open lottery system to ensure fair and equitable distribution of housing to eligible applicants. The lottery for this development has closed. Marketing of the apartments and the application process for the lottery typically begin when construction is approximately 70 percent complete.

For more information regarding the lottery process and to apply to city-sponsored housing lotteries, visit NYC Housing Connect at NYC Housing Connect lets New Yorkers to fill out a single online profile that can be saved and edited, and used to apply to multiple new affordable housing lotteries. People who submit a profile will also be notified via email when new lotteries are posted to the Housing Connect site. You can also click on the name of the lottery/development for instructions on how to apply by mail. Applicants may only apply once per development. Applicants may not submit both a paper application and a web application for the same project. Duplicate applications will be disqualified.

Common Ground is the largest supportive housing developer and manager in New York City. Boston Road, located at 1191 Boston Road, will be Common Ground’s second building in the Bronx, following The Brook’s opening in 2010. When Boston Road is completed, Common Ground will manage more than 400 affordable apartments in the borough for low‐income working New Yorkers and formerly homeless adults. The new $47 million project was designed by Alexander Gorlin Architects and is striving for sustainability certification from Enterprise Green Communities. Using the state MRT funding is another way in which Common Ground is addressing
aging in place. In June, Common Ground launched the innovative Elder Care Health Outreach (ECHO) pilot program with the Center for Urban Community Services at three Common Ground buildings – The Domenech in Brownsville, Brooklyn and The Prince George and The Times Square residences in Manhattan. The new program has established on‐site geriatric medical services as well as programming for seniors to decrease isolation. ECHO will help Common Ground’s seniors realize the best possible physical and mental health as they age and ease the burden on our society’s healthcare system.