In the spring of 2020, New York City was deemed the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. The city was in the middle of a major crisis, with hospitalizations and death rates skyrocketing, skeptics announcing the city would never recover, entire industries shut down, and isolation from friends and family becoming the new normal.
The importance of a place to call home became glaringly obvious. And painfully obvious to our community members who did not have a home.
In tandem with New York City’s COVID-19 crisis, CHV was completing construction and beginning marketing and lease-up on our new development, 212 Hegeman Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn. It could not have come at a better, or worse, time.
The virus severely and disproportionately impacted Brownsville. The death rate per 100,000 (391) ranked 21st out of 177 zip codes within New York City. This community was also already facing an affordable and homelessness crisis. In Brownsville, Brooklyn, 54% of renters are rent burdened, paying more than 35% of their income on rent. The project’s local Community Board 16 identified affordable housing as one of three top priorities for 2021 and as of February 27, 2021, 57,022 New Yorkers were homeless, including 18,453 individuals.
212 Hegeman Avenue provides 42 studio apartments for chronically homeless New Yorkers exiting the NYC shelter system and diagnosed with a serious mental illness and 28 studio apartments to very low, and low-income New Yorkers earning 30%, 50% and 60% AMI. Recently 100% occupied in December 2020, CHV and CAMBA were able to house chronically homeless New Yorkers living with a serious mental illness who were the most difficult to reach and the highest need – those living on the street and in safe havens.
CHV navigated ever-changing protocols and supply chain disruptions to complete Hegeman and deliver these 71 units of much-needed affordable and supportive housing.