Crown Heights

200 new ‘deeply’ affordable homes to be constructed in Crown Heights

Residences to be developed for low-income and formerly homeless seniors

June 22, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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CROWN HEIGHTS – The Department of Housing and Development, the city Housing Development Corporation and NYCHA announced plans to develop 200 affordable homes for older residents – including 60 for formerly homeless households and 35 for NYCHA residents – in Crown Heights.

The project, named Weeksvillage, will be developed by CAMBA Housing Ventures (CHV) on underutilized NYCHA land on Kingsborough Extension within the Kingsborough Houses campus. In addition to affordable housing, the new development will bring a range of services for the community focused on improving health, fostering community, and supporting economic development.

“In the midst of a severe housing shortage, our administration understands we need to be creative to provide the housing New Yorkers desperately need — especially housing affordable for our lowest-income neighbors. The Weeksvillage project brings together underutilized NYCHA land with city financing to deliver exactly that housing need,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “At the same time, we are building so much more than housing. These homes will support not only residents’ financial health, but also their public and mental health as well as environmental health — creating the kind of high-quality living environment all New Yorkers deserve.”

“The enormity of our housing crisis requires a response of equal scale, and the Adams administration is leaving no stone unturned to support our fellow New Yorkers find homes that match their needs and aspirations,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “I applaud CAMBA Housing Ventures and the various City agencies who worked diligently to bring more affordable housing to the Crown Heights community on underutilized NYCHA land, proving that innovative partnerships, resident engagement, and creative problem-solving are key to helping us address this crisis.”

“Older New Yorkers are the heart and soul of our communities and must be integral to how we address the city’s housing shortage. The Weeksvillage project exemplifies the highest quality of housing and support we can provide our older neighbors, including those who have experienced homelessness,” said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “With a health screening center, teaching kitchen, food pantry, and small business center on site, not only will Weeksvillage provide the housing we need, but the community resources we need in Crown Heights as well. We’re excited to partner with CAMBA Housing Ventures on this project and look forward to seeing it come to life.”

“As the biggest Public Housing Authority in the nation and the largest provider of affordable housing in New York City, NYCHA understands firsthand the need for, and importance of, housing like Weeksvillage,” said NYCHA Interim CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “This project illustrates the results of productive interagency partnerships and resident engagement, while delivering tangible benefits to the New Yorkers who will call this building home. We are thrilled that we could utilize this space on the Kingsborough campus to support the development of 200 affordable units for seniors.”

“In addition to delivering much-needed affordable housing for low-income and formerly homeless seniors, CAMBA Housing Ventures will offer an array of workforce development, as well as health and wellness resources to the surrounding community,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “Congratulations to the development team and thanks to all our partners for their ongoing commitment to creating a stronger, healthier, more affordable city.”

“CAMBA is honored to have the opportunity to provide our life-changing supportive services to the future residents of Weeksvillage and the surrounding community,” said Joanne M. Oplustil, President and CEO of CAMBA/CHV. “We will ensure the seniors living there are empowered to age in their community with dignity and fulfillment. Our services will foster engagement, promote mental and physical health, and create a stable environment for residents to thrive.”

“Weeksvillage will transform the underutilized open space within the Kingsborough Extension by providing 200 units of contextual, sustainable, supportive, and affordable housing for seniors to age in community,” said David A. Rowe, Chief Administrative Officer of CAMBA/CHV. CHV is thrilled to build a transformative community asset that will add vibrancy and improve the Weeksville legacy for decades to come. With thoughtfully designed spaces, green building certifications, curated artwork, supportive services, and more, CHV will bring dignified, elegant senior housing to the neighborhood.”

CAMBA is an award-winning nonprofit affordable housing developer and a social service provider with over 44 years of experience. Selected as a part of the Seniors First Kingsborough and Morris Houses RFP, their winning proposal includes 200 affordable homes, a mix of 156 studios, 43 one-bedroom units, and one superintendent’s unit. All households will benefit from Section 8 project-based vouchers, and all homes will be affordable to senior households earning up to 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). A portion of the homes will be set aside for NYCHA residents and seniors experiencing homelessness.

The project is part of the City’s Senior First initiative to develop and preserve senior housing on NYCHA land and support the growth of New York’s aging population. As a part of NYCHA’s engagement process, in 2019, NYCHA worked with residents and resident leaders of Kingsborough and Kingsborough Extension to develop a Community Vision for Kingsborough. Priorities included: ensuring homes were affordable and accessible for seniors; improving safety, security, and the pedestrian experience; providing personalized support and healthcare; increasing food access; and more.

In response to those priorities, the selected development includes a range of services for the community:

CAMBA Health Homes & Screening Center will provide health screenings, medication management, and memory care services.
A senior and community teaching kitchen will provide nutrition sessions taught by New York Enrichment Group, culinary classes, flower arranging classes led by Bloom Again Brooklyn, and a CSA drop off location operated by the Horticultural Society of New York.
CAMBA Food Choice Pantry will provide market-style access to fresh, local fruits and vegetables from nearby farms.
CAMBA Center for Workforce Development and Small Business will provide job training and placement, small business workshops and loans, and technology and financial counseling for aspiring entrepreneurs.

The team has established goals for Passive House, Enterprise Green Communities (EGC) 2020, WELL, and Fitwel certifications to provide high-performance healthy housing. In addition, the 13-story building is designed to be fully accessible, promote independent senior living, and foster healthy living and socialization. The ground floor will include a lounge and game area as well as a multi-purpose room for larger community events that opens to an outdoor plaza. There are additional community rooms and a fitness center on the second floor that will connect to an outdoor terrace with a walking loop, exercise and stretching area, and social deck. There will also be a library, computer room, and additional decks indoors and on the roof.

The building’s design, including the height, geometry and color palette of brick red tones, is contextual and respectful of the greater Kingsborough campus and townhouses on Bergen while still being a modern design. Additionally, the building is oriented southwest to northeast to optimize sunlight and reflect the site orientation and building direction of Kingsborough Houses. The Development Team also incorporated the principles of NYCHA’s Connected Communities Guidebook for construction on NYCHA campuses. It is seen most notably in the activation of all frontages and the connections to the elevated terrace west of the site; the project’s design provides residents with a welcoming, accessible, attractive place to live, reinforces a strong sense of place, and supports positive community interactions.

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso expressed his support for the project, stating, “What we need to address NYC’s housing crisis is more truly affordable housing like what’s being built on the NYCHA Kingsborough campus that both meets community needs and provides an affordable and age-friendly supportive place for Brooklynites. Kingsborough’s services, which were decided by community input, lend easy access to health care, job and financial training, and increase access to healthy eating for its residents. Thank you to HPD, NYCHA, HDC, and CAMBA for creating a community-centered affordable building for our community to age in healthily and call home.”

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