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Creston Avenue Residence Opens in the Bronx with $4.6 million from OTDA’s Homeless Housing Assistance Program

May 18, 2015—New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) joined with Volunteers of America-Greater NY and The Housing Collaborative LLC to announce the completion of Creston Avenue Residence at 2388 Creston Avenue, in the Fordham section of the Bronx, the first supportive housing residence in New York City funded with the State’s Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) savings. The building, developed by Volunteers of America-Greater NY and the Housing Collaborative provides 66 affordable homes for low-income tenants and residents with special needs including veterans, who will benefit from on-site support services.

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New Yorkers who were chronically homeless or living in housing that lacked supportive services now have safe and decent homes with on-site social services that will help them live more stable, fulfilling and productive lives,” said Darryl C. Towns, Commissioner/CEO of New York State Homes and Community Renewal. “Most of these folks are afflicted with disabilities and chronic health conditions that force them to rely on emergency rooms for care and faced frequent and lengthy hospital admissions. That’s why HCR is proud to have developed this new supportive housing with our sister government agencies, the Department of Health, the Homeless Housing Assistance Corporation at the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), and the Office of Mental Health. We congratulate our community partners the Volunteers of America and The Housing Collaborative on bringing such an important development to completion that strengthens the community and our state.”

In 2011, Governor Cuomo charged the Medicaid Redesign Team with the mission to identify more positive therapeutic results for Medicaid clients while simultaneously delivering taxpayer savings on Medicaid expenditures. In what was a win for the state and a win for vulnerable New Yorkers, the MRT identified billions in savings for taxpayers over the past four years. Of that amount, over $300 million has been invested in supportive housing.

Experts in medical policy have recognized that stable housing with co-located social service support is intrinsic to furthering recovery and sobriety. The MRT found that high-need Medicaid clients were not being helped by cyclic admissions to hospitals that have also been straining the State’s expenditures. The MRT Capital Program forges interagency collaboration with the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) to fund social service support for tenants with psychiatric disabilities as well as provide an annual stipend for operating expenses for supportive housing.

Creston Avenue Residence is a state-of-the-art, high-tech building that offers 24-hour security, rooftop gardens, a recreation area for social interaction, community space for special events and a bilingual TransitScreen, with real-time local transportation status updates. The development is expected to receive a LEED for HOMES Platinum rating. Green elements include green roofs, rainwater harvesting system, high efficiency boiler, Energy Star windows, water saving features, and more. Volunteers of America-Greater New York provides on-site social services.

“Safe and affordable housing is the bedrock from which individuals can begin their journeys to recovery,” said Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan, M.D. “The Creston Avenue Residence will empower its residents with a sense of independence, dignity, and pride that adds to the impact of supportive services funded by the Office of Mental Health. I applaud Governor Cuomo for bringing together such a wide coalition for this valuable project and wish the residents success in the pursuit of recovery!”

“At the Governor’s direction, state agencies are increasingly partnering on projects like this that will better meet the needs of homeless individuals, recognizing the connection between housing and health,” said Sharon Devine, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), which oversees the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP). “Supportive housing provides much-needed stability along with the services necessary to avoid homelessness.”

“Creating affordable, supportive housing like the Creston Avenue Residence allows Volunteers of America to fulfill its mission to help individuals and families in need create positive and lasting change by offering them the support they need and by empowering them to live safe, healthy and productive lives,” said Tere Pettitt, President and CEO, Volunteers of America-Greater New York.

Creston Avenue Residence received financing through New York State Homes and Community Renewal, including: $11.4 million in bond financing; $8.8 million in Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and $3.1 million in State Low Income Housing Tax Credits; and $2.62 million in New York State Medicaid Redesign Team funds. Other state funding included: a $4.6 million loan from the New York State Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP); $89,000 in solar tax credits; and Section 8 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing tenant-based voucher subsidy for approximately eight units. The development also received a $680,000 loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank.

Since 2012, the state has financed 1,074 units with Medicaid Redesign Team funding, providing safe and decent homes for vulnerable New Yorkers across the state.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate the opening of the beautiful new Creston Avenue Residence. Creston is the first residence to use Medicaid Redesign Team Supportive Housing capital which recognizes the importance of housing high cost Medicaid users in supportive housing,” said Laura Mascuch, Executive Director, Supportive Housing Network of New York (the Network). “It is a great addition to our community and will offer vulnerable families and individuals the resources they need to get their lives back on track. We are honored to support your important work, Volunteers of America-Greater New York and The Housing Collaborative, our heartiest congratulations to you, and to your staff and tenants!”

“The Housing Collaborative is extremely proud to open the Creston Avenue Residence,” said Robert Sanborn, Principal of The Housing Collaborative. “Not only does this innovative development provide safe, affordable homes for families in an exceptionally designed, green building, it will result in critical savings for New York State taxpayers.”

“Chase is proud to have partnered with VOA, The Housing Collaborative and New York State to build affordable supportive housing options for people with chronic health conditions living in the Bronx,” said Priscilla Almodovar, Managing Director and Head of Community Development Banking at Chase. “We’re also proud to be part of the first opening of a housing development financed under the state’s innovative Medicaid Redesign Team Housing Capital Program, and we congratulate all of our partners.”

“Red Stone Equity Partners was pleased to provide over $12 million in low income housing tax credit equity to support the Creston Avenue project. We want to congratulate our partners at VOA, The Housing Collaborative, JP Morgan Chase and the State of New York on this innovative project. Not only does this building—provide much needed housing in the Bronx, it also serves as a model for the many projects to follow which plan to use this unique financing. We are proud to be a part of this collaboration,” said Richard Roberts, Managing Director of Red Stone Equity Partners.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) consists of all the State's major housing and community renewal agencies, including the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others. In 2014, HCR set an agency record by financing the creation or preservation of 9,363 affordable housing units, including affordable homeownership opportunities for more than one thousand families. 2015 marks the third year of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion statewide House NY program, whose goal is to create or preserve 14,300 affordable units by 2018. As the largest investment in New York State’s affordable housing stock in at least 15 years, House NY investments will keep thousands of low- and moderate-income Mitchell-Lama units affordable for another 40 years. The House NY initiative works in tandem with HCR’s unprecedented efforts to protect more than two million rent-regulated tenants, with the greatest strengthening of the state’s rent laws in 30 years, and the creation of HCR’s Tenant Protection Unit which proactively audits and investigates landlord wrongdoing and has returned 40,000 units to rent regulation.

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