Governor Kathy Hochul announced on November 1st that construction is now underway at The Rise, a $50 million, 72-unit affordable and supportive housing development in Brownsville.
In addition to being 100% affordable, the development will offer an array of health, wellness, employment and legal services to support residents and benefit the surrounding community. The Rise is part of the state’s Vital Brooklyn Initiative to address chronic social, economic and health disparities in Brooklyn’s high-need communities.
“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.”
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.
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.
All apartments will be affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. Forty-seven 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.
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.
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. One Brooklyn Health (OBH)/Brookdale Hospital Medical Center had occupied the now demolished and underused building on the site. OBH will offer mental health services on the ground floor of the new building alongside office and programming space for the service providers.
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.”
Assemblywoman 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.”
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 healthcare 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. “
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.”
Central Brooklyn has long suffered from disinvestment and marginalization that hinder the well-being 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 healthcare.
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. Five projects have begun construction, with the remaining projects and phases beginning over the next few years.