Development and Preservation of Affordable Housing in Washington Heights

Organization Name: Community League of the Heights, Inc. (CLOTH)

Project Title: Development and Preservation of Affordable Housing in Washington Heights

Project Location: Washington Heights / Northern Manhattan

Project Goals:
The goal of CLOTH's Housing Development Department is to improve the quality of life for all residents of Washington Heights by leveraging the unique culture of the neighborhood. CLOTH's housing and support programs aim to remove barriers between residents and the social services needed for low-income families. Without CLOTH's development and preservation projects, many tenants would face overcrowded living conditions, which is customary with many Washington Heights low-income families. To create safe and affordable living spaces, tenants live in completely rehabilitated units, stocked with new appliances, floors, doors, and windows, and new major building systems.

Project Description:
CLOTH's Housing Development Department is dedicated to preserving and developing the housing stock of the Washington Heights neighborhood for low-income families. Currently, CLOTH owns 557 units and is the largest provider of affordable housing in Washington Heights. CLOTH has rehabilitated and developed over 53 buildings, and has successfully organized and advocated for tenants living in substandard and neglected housing. In 2015, CLOTH rehabilitated the abandoned 552 Academy Street building and created a safe place to live for 72 families. Development projects, including the Dorothy McGowan Apartments and 2142 Amsterdam, fill a critical community need to provide safe and decent housing for all residents who may need intensive on-site social services. In 2013, CLOTH developed the Lucille Bulger Center for Community Life to further access to social services. It is the home to Community Health Academy of the Heights, a Healthcare Network Clinic, and CLOTH educational offices.

Community Impact:
CLOTH reaches over 30,000 people each year through an inter-connected array of programs and partnerships. In addition to providing affordable housing for low-income families, CLOTH has developed a holistic approach to social services that support every member of the family. For our youth, we provide year-round, educational afterschool programs, a PAL Playstreet each summer, summer youth employment and the Community Health Academy of the Heights, a public community school for grades 6-12. At CLOTH's Technology Center and the Lucille Bulger Center of Community Life, CLOTH provides healthy lifestyle, job training, adult education and language learning courses for the entire family to enjoy. CLOTH also provides merchant organizing and advocacy for small businesses along the Broadway corridor, diabetes and asthma health programs, free health screenings during our annual health festival, and a food pantry for over 2,000 families every month.

Organization Description:
Community League of the Heights is a multi-service, community-based organization dedicated to supporting and empowering the residents of Washington Heights. Our mission is to provide the knowledge, resources, and opportunities our residents need to empower themselves and their community. CLOTH's holistic approach to community development provides a comprehensive framework of economic and social services to stabilize and strengthen family and community life.

    2142 Amsterdam Avenue, 2015

    552 Academy Street, 2015

    Community Health Academy of the Heights, 2013

    Dorothy McGowan Building, 2010. Credit: UAI

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