Governor Hochul, Xenolith, CPC And Partners Announce Start Of Construction On $50 Million Affordable And Supportive Housing Development In Brownsville

72-Unit Development is Part of the Vital Brooklyn Initiative to Foster Healthy Communities in Central Brooklyn

Development Receives NYSERDA Buildings of Excellence Award for Sustainable, Carbon-Neutral, All-Electric Design

Rendering Available Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that construction is now underway at The Rise, a $50 million, 72-unit affordable and supportive housing development in Brownsville, Brooklyn. In addition to being 100 percent affordable, the development will offer an array of health, wellness, employment and legal services to support residents and benefit the surrounding community. The Rise, already honored for its climate-friendly design, is part of the state’s Vital Brooklyn Initiative to address chronic social, economic and health disparities in Brooklyn’s high-need communities. A rendering of The Rise is available here.

“We are moving full steam ahead to ensure that long overdue investments in housing, wellness, and economic empowerment reach our Brooklyn communities,” Governor Hochul said. “With construction now underway at The Rise, we are one step closer to bringing deeply affordable housing to dozens of New York families and vital support and services to the entire neighborhood of Brownsville. I thank our local and state partners for their help in bringing this project to life, and I look forward to a ribbon-cutting soon.”

The Rise complements Governor Hochul’s goal to achieve two million climate friendly homes by 2030 and her sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable and stable. In the Fiscal Year 2023 State Budget, the Governor introduced and successfully secured a new $25 billion, five-year, comprehensive housing plan to increase housing supply. It will create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes across New York, including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations as well as the electrification of an additional 50,000 homes.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority selected The Rise design as a winner of its Buildings of Excellence competition in recognition of its design as a clean and resilient building. When complete, The Rise will meet both Passive House and LEED Gold Standards and achieve a carbon neutral performance.

All apartments will be affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. 47 of the homes will be set aside for criminal-justice involved women and their families, supported by services and operating funding under the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative. Eight of these will only receive Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative service subsidy.

Supportive services will be available for residents, as well as eligible members of the community, by the Women’s Prison Association and the Osborne Association. Services will include case management, job-readiness training and job placement, legal assistance, support groups for reentry transition and the development of social and wellness skills. Community Capacity Development, an organization that provides a capacity building program for the Brownsville community, will provide programming focused on critical thinking, conflict resolution, violence reduction, and health and wellness for members of the Brownsville community.

The development will also include approximately 10,000 square feet of green space for residents and the broader community to enjoy, including a rooftop farm and greenhouse managed by Project EATS that will provide healthy food options and job training. Rooftop solar panels will cover Project EATS’ greenhouse, allowing year-round urban farming programming.

Additional amenities will include lounges, community room, laundry rooms, outdoor terraces with raised gardening beds, and bicycle storage. Free Wi-Fi will also be provided throughout the building for residents and visitors, which is a hallmark of Governor Hochul’s commitment to increasing internet access across the state.

The development site is on the southwest corner of the intersection of East New York Avenue and Strauss Street in Brownsville, Brooklyn. One Brooklyn Health/Brookdale Hospital Medical Center had occupied the now demolished and underused building on the site. One Brooklyn Health will offer mental health services on the ground floor of the new building alongside office and programming space for the service providers.

The Rise is being developed in partnership by Xenolith Partners, LLC, the Women’s Prison Association and the Brownsville Partnership. The building was designed by Magnusson Architecture & Planning PC.

State funding for The Rise includes Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $21.1 million in equity and $13.8 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is providing $10 million through Homeless Housing Assistance Program. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is providing more than $1.2 million though the Buildings of Excellence Competition and the New Construction – Housing program and the project will be eligible to apply for additional support through the NY-Sun program for the solar component.

The Community Preservation Corporation provided pre-development and other financial support for the project through its equity investing division and has also committed to providing long-term permanent financing. This is the first project to close under the Community Preservation Corporation’s partnership with Xenolith, in which it provides capital and other assistance aimed at helping the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises company scale its capacity and business infrastructure.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The Rise exemplifies everything that we are striving for with Governor Hochul’s housing plan, the Vital Brooklyn Initiative, and the state’s aggressive roadmap to confront climate change and create healthier communities. This new $50 million, 72-unit building is brick-and-mortar evidence of our commitment to the health, safety, and financial sustainability of hard-working New Yorkers, especially those who have been impacted by the criminal justice system and deserve a real chance to start over. Thank you to our many partners in bringing this great new housing opportunity to Brownsville.”

In the last five years, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested more than $1.1 billion to create or preserve more than 6,000 affordable apartments in multifamily buildings in Brooklyn.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “Advancing clean, resilient and affordable housing is a key component of New York State’s comprehensive emissions reduction strategy and I am thrilled to see construction begin on The Rise, an award-winning project. Through the Buildings of Excellence Competition, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is proud to support projects like this that are expanding access to healthy energy efficient homes, while demonstrating how effective design can deliver a cleaner greener outcome, in support of the State’s goal to reduce harmful emissions from the buildings sector.”

The $40 million Buildings of Excellence Competition, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, was launched in March 2019 and has awarded more than $31 million to more than 40 exemplary new construction projects to date. It is the only competition of its kind, with the awarded projects becoming part of a comprehensive data collection effort that is showcasing how to cost-effectively deliver clean and resilient multi-family buildings. The Rise was selected under Round Two of the BoE Competition. The project also received a Blue Ribbon for Design Excellence award from the Architectural League of New York.

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, “This impressive development will provide safe, secure housing for justice-involved women and their families with access to onsite services to help them remain stably housed. We eagerly anticipate the completion of The Rise and the positive impact it will have not only on the lives of those who will reside there, but the surrounding community as well.”

State Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie said, “Access to affordable housing is a basic human right and an area many New Yorkers, especially those in Brownsville, have been severely underserved in. I look forward to seeing the development of the Rise and applaud them for serving our community.”

Assemblymember Latrice Walker said, “I am so excited for this day. The Rise addresses two of the most pressing issues in the Brownsville community – the need for affordable housing and the need for supportive housing. Justice-involved people, in particular, often need help with job training, job placement, legal assistance and other services that might help them with re-entry. Secure housing really is a matter of life and death for some people in my community. It can stabilize families and communities. Kudos to Xenolith Partners, LLC, Women’s Prison Association (WPA), and the Brownsville Partnership. I look forward to continuing a long and fruitful working relationship.”

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said, “With mental health services, a rooftop farm, and so much else, The Rise is bringing more than affordable homes to Brownsville. The housing we build can expand opportunities for residents, and the health care and social services housed within The Rise will offer the foundation for a safe, supported community. I’m particularly proud that Brownsville will gain another supportive home for families affected by the justice system, with services available and accessible on-site. Thank you to the many partners and agencies who worked together to make this project possible.”

Chief Executive Officer of One Brooklyn Health System, Inc. LaRay Brown said, “One Brooklyn Health is very pleased to be part of this exciting project and the Vital Brooklyn Initiative. Safe affordable housing and accessible health care are inextricably linked and intrinsic to the economic stability of a community.  We look forward to continuing to work with each of the partners in serving the families who will make The Rise their home. ”

Xenolith Partners Director of Design and Construction Chris Lebron said, “Xenolith Partners is thrilled to celebrate the groundbreaking of The Rise, a supportive housing project for formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. We’re proud to be part of NYS HCR’s Vital Brooklyn Initiative and to embody its principles of health, affordable housing, economic empowerment, and resilience. The Rise’s WBE and non-profit development partners thank New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for their Buildings of Excellence award enabling us to take The Rise to maximum standards of sustainability through Passive House design. Along with Brownsville Partnership, Women’s Prison Association, CPC, and our local program partners, we are committed to a deep, productive and long-standing relationship with the Brownsville community.”

Women’s Prison Association Executive Director Caryn York said, “For 176 years, Women’s Prison Association has stood at the forefront of efforts to ensure formerly incarcerated women and mothers have access to safe housing and community-based supports. As the nation’s oldest organization to lead this work, Women’s Prison Association is honored to be chosen and thrilled to join this team of local partners and stakeholders in the development of The Rise and in redefining how we support women coming home from jail and prison.”

Osborne’s President and CEO Archana Jayaram said, “Osborne is honored to be part of The Rise team. The Rise represents an important commitment to developing affordable housing and services that provide people of all backgrounds and challenges with the opportunity to thrive. Our work with the 12,000 individuals and families that use Osborne services every year has taught us that providing safe and supportive housing is vital for the successful reentry of those returning from incarceration.”

Executive Director of the Brownsville Partnership Kassa Belay said, “The Brownsville Partnership is proud to be a part of this exciting affordable, supportive housing project, and we are dedicated to creating housing in line with Brownsville resident priorities. Our commitment is to ensure that Brownsville residents are first in line for employment opportunities to both build and run The Rise, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that past and current Brownsville residents are prioritized when apartments are ready for rent.”

Vice President, Equity Investments, The Community Preservation Corporation, Alice Anigacz said, “When we help create opportunities for M/WBEs and community-based entrepreneurs, we all benefit from a more robust and diverse development industry. We’re proud that our partnership with Xenolith has helped to scale up their business, giving them an opportunity to show that they can deliver amazing projects like The Rise. As a Passive House certified, supportive housing development, The Rise will provide both housing stability for some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers and will help our city and state partners move closer to their goals of decarbonizing the built environment. My thanks to Xenolith, HCR, NYSERDA, the City of New York, and to all of our partners and elected officials who have put their time and support behind this important project.”

Managing Director for the East Region at National Equity Fund Emily Chen said, “The Rise showcases the tremendous impact organizations can have when they work collaboratively and efficiently to strengthen a community. At NEF, we strive to expand the creation and preservation of affordable and supportive housing and we are excited to live out this mission with dedicated partners who share our values.  Soon, individuals and families will have a safe, stable place to call home with supportive services to help them thrive and live to their fullest potential.”

TD Bank Senior Relationship Manager Matthew Schatz said, “TD Bank is excited about this project and for the future residents who will be able to utilize supportive services to enable them to lead empowered and independent lives. We hope that The Rise can be a model for similar supportive housing projects across the country.”

Revitalizing Central Brooklyn

Central Brooklyn has long suffered from disinvestment and marginalization that hinder the wellbeing of its residents. Residents experience measurably higher rates of health problems; limited access to healthy foods or opportunities for physical activity; and high rates of violence and crime. Central Brooklyn is also affected by wide economic disparities due to unemployment, high poverty levels, and inadequate access to high quality health care.

The ten projects are advancing the Vital Brooklyn Initiative’s commitment to creating 4,000 affordable homes in Central Brooklyn, incorporating social, medical, and community services; recreational and educational opportunities; family housing; and apartments with supportive services.

About the Vital Brooklyn Initiative

The Vital Brooklyn Initiative was launched in spring 2017 to address the range of disparities that affect residents of Brooklyn and to create a new model for community development and wellness in Brooklyn’s most vulnerable communities. Each Assembly Member in Central Brooklyn convened a Community Advisory Council consisting of community leaders, local experts, advocates, and other stakeholders to consider the unique needs and opportunities in their districts, and to develop long-term solutions. State senators representing parts of Central Brooklyn were also actively engaged in the process. A total of 25 community meetings brought together nearly 100 key community stakeholders.  RFPs for the ten sites were released in 2018 and 2019, with development partners selected through 2020. Five projects have begun construction, with the remaining projects and phases beginning over the next few years.