Organization Name: The Bridge, Inc. & the Leviticus Fund
Project Title: 3500 Park Avenue Apartments
Project Location: The Claremont Village section of the Bronx, New York City
A safe, affordable place to call home and a sense of belonging are basic human rights, but they carry far greater meaning to someone who is coping with mental illness or chronic homelessness. The new development at 3500 Park Avenue in the South Bronx will provide supportive housing with on-site services to formerly homeless individuals with special needs and affordable rental units for the community, offering residents access to critical health services along with quality housing.
The supportive units will serve high-need individuals who are ready to live independently in a residential setting with on-site case managers focused on recovery and self-reliance. All residents will benefit from design features that promote safety and security, and amenities that affirm their dignity and foster pride in where they live. The project will also support resident involvement and community building with participation in tenant committees, cooking and nutritional programs, and gardening clubs.
3500 Park Avenue Apartments is the construction of 115 studio and two-bedroom apartments in a seven-story building designed for integrated supportive and affordable housing. Sixty-nine of the studios will be for homeless veterans with disabilities, chronically homeless adults with mental illness, and frail or disabled homeless seniors. The remaining 46 units including a live-in super will serve low-income seniors and families living at or below 60% of area median income. Solar roof panels will provide on-site energy regeneration, and utility sub-metering will pass along savings to residents. Energy Star appliances will be installed in the building to reduce energy usage, while triple-pane windows will satisfy noise reduction requirements. Building amenities will include 24/7 front desk coverage, two elevators, a multi-purpose room with a warming kitchen, a laundry room, computer lab, a playroom and outdoor recreational space with access to a community garden and a walking path.
A modern, eco-friendly building will erase an unsightly parking lot along Park Avenue in the South Bronx, and create neighbor-to-neighbor linkages between tenants and a wide array of existing community-based services and businesses. Beyond the benefits of on-site case management and access to medical, educational and job training programs, the project’s attention to quality design features and amenities will promote a sense of pride, dignity and rootedness in the community, contribute to the streetscape and convey a welcoming presence to the community. The development will also afford benefits to the surrounding neighborhood by bringing safety and security with 24-hour staffing, cameras and lighting; creating 15 new jobs including for qualified residents as social workers, pre-professionals and maintenance staff; providing neighborhood access to the building’s community room and kitchen for community meetings; and stimulating local economic development by using local businesses.
This project is the largest development by The Bridge, Inc. in its 63-year history. The multi-service, multi-borough agency is recognized as a leading housing innovator in New York City for its programmatic approach to serving vulnerable people who have been referred from psychiatric hospitals, the streets, shelters and the prison system. The Leviticus Fund is a regional nonprofit affordable housing and community facility lender that uses its mission-driven, flexible capital to promote stability and opportunity for people that are the most marginalized and underserved. The Bridge turned to Leviticus for an acquisition loan to purchase the vacant property because of Leviticus’ reputation for low fees, efficient underwriting and depth of knowledge of supportive housing. With Leviticus’ loan, The Bridge was able to gain site control and strengthens its applications for services and rent subsidies under the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and construction financing applications.