Affordable Housing and Social Services During COVID 19

Organization Name: Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association

Project Title: Affordable Housing and Social Services During COVID 19

Project Location: South Bronx

Project Description:
As the COVID 19 crisis seemingly is demonstrating, our South Bronx community (Community Districts 2 and 3 primarily but also CD 1 and 4) is plagued by inequality of access to basic human needs. Our challenge during this time is to do all we can to continue to preserve affordable units that are threatened by successive waves of speculation, almost always accompanied by tenant harassment and disruption to families and our communities; made more urgent because of the systemic inequalities that are present in our communities. As an essential service provider Banana Kelly, since March 2020, delivered heightened building maintenance services through the worst of the pandemic and we will continue these heightened services for the foreseeable future in order to ensure that our buildings are operating efficiently and safely, guaranteeing that they are kept constantly clean and disinfected. Our community organizers are developing creative ways to keep in touch with our residents while keeping within the social distancing guidelines - refraining from face to face meetings and group activities and connecting with our residents remotely, via phone, text and emails.

Community Impact:
Banana Kelly is somewhat unique in that we continue to work diligently to be a locally-based organization controlled by neighborhood residents and one that is engaged in housing, economic development, and social issues – especially in this time of uncertainty and fear brought on by COVID 19. We focus a great deal of our resources on developing a strong and dynamic resident leadership in order to preserve a strong and lasting affordable housing sector. As we expand our portfolio we impact the lives of our residents above and beyond keeping some segment of the local housing stock affordable. We believe that Banana Kelly is stronger, and has a lasting impact, working collectively with our residents to accomplish the preservation of affordable housing and create a community that actively engages our residents. We are building broad leadership, community participation and civic engagement in our neighborhoods through organizing and mobilization. With our work, our community is able to address the historic inequalities that residents have faced in a manner that unifies, connects and strengthens the bonds between people.

Organization Description:
Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc. is a nonprofit community development corporation and mutual housing association located in the South Bronx. Our mission is to provide affordable housing and to facilitate the empowerment of residents by providing vocational, educational, and cultural programs that foster self-sufficiency and collective capacity through self-help, mutual aid, cooperation, community organizing and advocacy.

Team Members:

Hope Burgess, President & CEO
Brian Sahd, Chief Operating Officer
Yeleny Perez, Director, Property Management
Ian Gray-Stack, Director , Community Organizing

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