With the support of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and several other government agencies, Habitat for Humanity NYC broke ground on a new 15-unit apartment complex at 2398 Dean Street in Ocean Hill last week.
The project is aimed at adding to the affordable housing stock in the Brownsville area, and was made possible in part by funding from HPD, state Housing Trust Fund and the Brooklyn borough president's office.
“Habitat for Humanity's creation of 15 low-income homeownership opportunities in the Ocean Hill/Brownsville neighborhood is a great example of our commitment to fostering diverse and affordable communities,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been.
Community Board 16 chair Bettie Kollock-Wallace was among those to help break ground at the ceremony.
“I applaud New York City Habitat for Humanity and partners for the investment in our communities,” Kollock-Wallace said. “We are confident it will be another jewel in [Habitat's] crown.”
According to construction manager Tara Duvivier, permits were pulled earlier in the week on the complex, which will consist of 15 two-bedroom, below-market units in a series of four-story buildings at the intersection of Dean Street and Mother Gaston Boulevard.
The project will be led by Lo Magno Construction, which has worked with Habitat in the past, though much of the work will be completed by volunteers. Duvivier said construction should take about 18 months.
Neil Hetherington, CEO of Habitat for Humanity NYC, believes that by providing “simple, decent, affordable homes,” his organization can, at least for some, break the cycle of poverty.
“Habitat for Humanity is pleased to play an ever-increasing role in creating homeownership opportunities,” he said. “This development is aligned with Mayor de Blasio's plan to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing and we will continue to do our part in ensuring safe, decent and affordable housing for every New Yorker.”
One of the ways they do this is by requiring the future owners to put in at least 250 hours of “sweat equity” on the projects.
“Rather than charity,” said Hetherington, “we give people an opportunity to have a stake in their community.”