Breaking Ground and African American Planning Commission Inc. Celebrate Groundbreaking of New Supportive and Affordable Housing Development in Brooklyn
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – Breaking Ground, New York’s largest supportive housing developer, broke ground today on Edwin’s Place, a new affordable housing development in Brooklyn. Breaking Ground’s new residence will bring 125 units of permanent affordable and supportive housing to the Brownsville neighborhood in addition to a community space, new retail, and a landscaped courtyard. Breaking Ground celebrates the occasion with project partner the African American Planning Commission Inc., as well as partners at New York State Homes & Community Renewal, New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance/Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and Wells Fargo.
“We are thrilled to break ground at Edwin’s Place today, and celebrate the creation of 125 new homes for families and individuals in need” said Brenda Rosen, President and CEO of Breaking Ground. “Many people came together to make Edwin’s Place a reality, and we are especially grateful for our friends at East Brooklyn Congregations, who stood shoulder to shoulder with us to advocate for this project. We’re excited to invest further in Brownsville and join our State and City partners in making New York a place where people can live stable, secure lives in thriving neighborhoods.”
“Safe, affordable housing combined with supportive services are essential in the fight against homelessness in New York State,” Governor Cuomo said. “Edwin’s Place is a prime example of how we can provide those in need the opportunity to be independent, thriving members of the community, leading to a stronger New York for all.”
"Breaking Ground is the largest and most successful developer of supportive housing for the formerly homeless. Some people talk about helping the homeless – Breaking Ground does and has been doing it for decades. Edwin's Place will transform a vacant city-owned lot into homes for more than 125 local families. East Brooklyn Congregations and Metro I.A.F. are proud to stand with Breaking Ground on this exciting project which will continue Brownsville’s regeneration," said Rev. David K. Brawley, pastor and leader of East Brooklyn Congregations-Metro I.A.F.
Located at the corner of Livonia Avenue and Grafton Street, the building will feature 69 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, as well as 56 studios. Onsite social services will be offered to all residents in the building, funded by a contract between the African American Planning Commission Inc. and New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Edwin’s Place will be Breaking Ground’s seventh building in Brooklyn.
88 units at Edwin’s Place will serve formerly homeless individuals and families, including veterans, and 37 will serve low-income community residents. The eight-story, 115,500-square foot building will feature a 24-hour attended lobby, state of the art security systems, 3,000-square feet of retail space, community facility space for the onsite social services provider, a laundry room, exercise room, and multipurpose room that opens up onto an exterior landscaped courtyard.
“The development of Edwin’s Place has been a twenty-year odyssey for our organization, but we have persevered” said Matthew Okebiyi, Founder and CEO of African American Planning Commission Inc. “It is a dream come true that will fulfill some of the housing needs of our community, as well as provide supportive housing to various special need New Yorkers, including formerly homeless households and veterans. We would like to express a special “Thank You” to all the members of Brooklyn’s Community Board #16 for their steadfast support; to our elected City Councilwoman, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, to all the community stakeholders who came out in support of the development of Edwin’s Place, to the legal firm of Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A., and to our development partner, Breaking Ground, for their support. Sincere gratitude is also extended to all our funders from the State, City and private sector, without whom this project would never have come to fruition.”
The $75 million project received capital funding from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, and Wells Fargo, N.A.
Through the Mayor's accelerated and expanded Housing New York plan, we are working aggressively with all our partners to ensure more of the city’s most vulnerable residents have the security of an affordable home, and all our neighborhoods have the assets they need to thrive,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “This groundbreaking represents a key milestone in the Brownsville Plan, as Edwin’s Place will bring both 126 affordable homes with supportive services, and a dynamic community facility space in a beautifully- and sustainably-designed development that will add to the vibrancy of the Livonia Avenue retail corridor and the entire Brownsville neighborhood. I would like to thank Breaking Ground, the African American Planning Commission Inc., Robert A.M. Stern Architects, our partners at the State, and all those who share our commitment to creating a more affordable, equitable New York City.”
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts said, “Edwin’s Place will play a vital role in helping some of the most vulnerable individuals and families in the Brooklyn community gain better health and stability in their lives. We are proud to be a part of this project, which is yet another step forward in New York’s commitment to ending homelessness throughout the state once and for all.”
“With the housing crisis around the city, I welcome opportunities for sensible community development and real affordable housing to the district,” said Alicka Ampry-Samuel, New York City Councilmember for District 41. “Breaking Ground’s ‘Edwin’s Place’ will bring much needed supportive housing to Brownsville, while also energizing and lighting up the Livonia Avenue corridor. I am glad to see that people are investing in Brownsville and thinking about ways to activate spaces like Livonia Avenue. I always look forward to seeing investment in housing stock for both families and seniors, especially when it makes sense and complements the needs of the community.”
Designed by the renowned Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Edwin’s Place will set back from the street to accommodate the curve of the adjacent elevated New York City Subway tracks. A metal and glass window wall above the entry will provide a focal point to the south facade and light to the elevator lobbies. Accessory community facility space will be incorporated into the ground floor to contribute to the developing Livonia Avenue retail corridor. The L-shaped building will cradle a sunken courtyard that will provide various outdoor amenities as well as natural lighting to lower level offices for building management and social service staff, a fitness center, a computer lab, and meeting rooms.
"To build is an act of optimism," said Robert A.M. Stern, founder and senior partner at Robert A.M. Stern Architects. "As we begin to build Edwin's Place, we embark on the construction of a new building that will enable Breaking Ground to welcome some of our most vulnerable citizens—formerly homeless individuals and families—as well as low-income Brownsville residents, into new homes in the community. "
Edwin's Place will continue Breaking Ground's dedication to sustainable and affordable development. The design features a robust yet economical structural system of precast hollow-core floor planks and reinforced concrete block walls; continuously insulated walls; triple-glazed windows; a green roof; and a photovoltaic solar array – all contributing to reduced energy use. The project is being constructed to meet Enterprise Green Standards.
About Breaking Ground
Breaking Ground is New York’s largest supportive housing provider. With 24 transitional and permanent housing residences under management, primarily in New York City, Breaking Ground provides safe, stable, beautiful housing for those who need it most. Breaking Ground also runs, under contract with DHS, street homeless outreach services in all of Brooklyn, Queens, and a portion of Manhattan. Since 1990, Breaking Ground has helped more than 13,000 people escape and avoid homelessness.
About African American Planning Commission Inc.
African American Planning Commission Inc. (AAPCI) is a nonprofit organization committed to reducing homelessness and addressing the related issues of domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, mental health disorders, substance abuse, shortage of affordable housing, and unemployment in the communities in which we live and serve. Under contract with NYC HRA, AAPCI currently operates two of New York City’s largest transitional (Tier II) domestic violence shelters and is one of the very few organizations that accepts male survivors of domestic violence and their minor children as shelter residents. Under contract with NYC DHS, AAPCI is tasked with providing comprehensive social support services to over 1,100 homeless working adults, Citywide, who currently reside in commercial hotels. AAPCI assists them in locating affordable housing, while helping them maintain their employment status.
About the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan which was recently expanded and accelerated through Housing New York 2.0 to complete the initial goal of 200,000 homes two years ahead of schedule—by 2022, and achieve an additional 100,000 homes over the following four years, for a total of 300,000 homes by 2026. For full details visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 26, 2018
CONTACT: Jovana Rizzo or Kate Treen, 646-452-5637