Preservation of 789 MacDonough Street HDFC

Organization Name: Habitat for Humanity NYC and Westchester

Project Title: Preservation of 789 MacDonough Street HDFC

Project Location: 789 MacDonough Street, BedStuy, Brooklyn, NY

Project Description:
The Board of 789 MacDonough Street HDFC decided that the interior of the building needed a new coat of paint. “The first time we painted, the painting company charged us multiple thousands of dollars to paint the building,” Corinne Douglas, Board Treasurer said. Then they found the Habitat NYC Housing Preservation Program, which, among other services, offers income-restricted HDFCs affordable repair and painting services. 789 MacDonough hired Habitat NYC as painters, to fix some crumbling masonry by the windows and on the roof and to work on the interior floors and ceiling. The repairs and the fresh paint and newly shiny floors give a sense of pride to the families who call 789 MacDonough home. “Before the work, I would give my incoming guests a disclaimer,” said Corinne jokingly. “But when everything is new and freshly painted, everyone is proud to bring their guests through and showcase the lobby and building interior because of the first-rate product given to us by Habitat.”

Community Impact:
In the late 1980’s, the residents had had enough of negligent landlords. The building had no heat or hot water. The entrance door was hanging off the hinges, the only security was Tenant Patrol.
To protest the conditions, residents marched for their rights in Albany and even staged a rent strike. In 1989, the City stepped in, and offered the residents the opportunity to purchase their own building, for $250 per unit. “Each person would purchase their unit for $250, and that would buy the building. So everybody paid the money, purchased the building, and so that's how we owned the building,” said Lisa Lanier, Board President.
For New Yorkers the residents of 789 MacDonough, who have lived through so many difficulties, services like those Habitat NYC and Westchester’s Housing Preservation Program provide can be a lifeline – allowing them to remain in their homes, in their neighborhoods.
“We chose to stay [in this building],” said Corinne Douglas, Board Treasurer. “We held up and supported this building and the surrounding community, through the best and worst of times, and we’re still here to tell that story of endurance, perseverance, and most importantly, of success.”

Organization Description:
Habitat for Humanity New York City and Westchester County transforms lives and communities by building and preserving affordable homes with hard-working families—and by uniting all New Yorkers around the cause of affordable housing. With the help of thousands of volunteers each year, Habitat NYC and Westchester builds and repairs homes for families across the region. Learn more at www.HabitatNYCwc.org and connect with us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @HabitatNYC_WC.

Team Members:

Karen Haycox, CEO
Charlotte Bell, Vice President, Housing Services
Bud Highleyman, Senior Director of Construction and Preservation Services
Ben Randazzo, Construction Coordinator

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