FORMER BRONX PUBLIC HOUSING TENANTS CELEBRATE HOMEOWNERSHIP

Low-income residents purchase and move into affordable renovated co-op units and thank NYCHA and other supporters for enabling the conversion.

Bronx, N.Y. – September 11, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Hundreds of former public housing residents in the Bronx welcomed the unlikely dream of affordable homeownership in once publicly-owned buildings and residents in Mott Haven hosted a family day celebration in honor of those who helped them realize the dream Saturday, September 12, at 12:30 p.m.

The board of directors of the newly established affordable housing corporation, Mott Haven Victory HDFC, credited the success and completion their official conversion – which occurred May 1, 2009 – to supporters, who they invited to share in pot-luck style food, games and music in their courtyard..

“We’re so thankful to all the agencies for all the work that’s been done,” said Board President Kim Castrillo. “Without the hard work of the New York City Housing Authority and our local city officials, this never could have happened.”

For years many of the residents now at 488-500 Southern Blvd. lived in multifamily rentals owned and operated by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Now 114 income-eligible former renters have taken ownership of cooperative units in the 7-building, 137-unit complex thanks to a federal program called the Multifamily Home Ownership Program (MHOP).

What: Public reception, pot luck, and party for residents and advocates of Mott Haven Victory HDFC.

Who:  New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), City Councilmember Maria del Carmen Arroyo; Board President Kim Catrillo , the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, James Rausse for Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz,  40th Precinct Community Council President Alex Diaz.

Where: 488-500 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY – Enter on Southern Blvd. Gathering will be in courtyard or nearby building if raining. (6 train to E.149th St. station)

When: Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009
12:30 PM Press conference, reception and thanks
1:00 PM Party begins

Visuals: Meet tenants who spent many years in public housing & a press tour of units with owners

***Interviews in English and Spanish, will be available***

“Today’s celebration clearly demonstrates what cooperation and the hope of homeownership can achieve,” said John Aber, NYCHA’s Financial Manager for Operations.  “This is more than a place to live.  There is space leased by a daycare center provider, laundry facilities, commercial space, a community room and office space here.”

“This property is the third NYCHA MHOP development to be converted to cooperative homeownership within the last 6 months, and it clearly demonstrates that homeownership can be affordable,” Aber added.

The other two developments are also in the Bronx. Altogether, the complexes represent 224 permanently affordable apartment units.

Aber was joined by several of the other hardworking city staffers who aided in the conversion of the property into a private co-op.

Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, in whose district – the 17th – the buildings are located, also came out to meet the beneficiaries of her efforts. “Mott Haven Victory HDFC serves as an example of what is possible when tenants organize to preserve affordable housing in our communities,” said Council Member Arroyo.

“With the guidance and support from UHAB and the diligent and hard work of the residents, today we celebrate the conversion from renters to owners for many families who otherwise would not have had an opportunity to share in the American dream of home ownership. A happy day for us all!”

Marina Metalios, project manager for the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, helped to implement training and the co-op conversion. “We at UHAB are proud to have played a role in this development. NYCHA was dogged, and the residents were more dogged,” she said.

“The Bronx has been especially hard-hit by foreclosures among rent-regulated multifamily buildings. Some call it the greatest threat to the city’s neighborhoods since the ‘Bronx is Burning’-landlord abandonment of the 1970s. But the fact that there is a permanently affordable homeownership opportunity here, anchored on 149th St., is laudable, and a victory, indeed,” she said.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, “Home ownership is a dream for all Americans, and it is programs like this that help to make that dream a reality. This project has the potential to change the way we look at housing in the long-term, and I congratulate Mott Haven Victory HDFC, UHAB and NYCHA, as well as the 114 families who will now own their own homes thanks to this new venture, for coming together to develop this innovative and unique program.” He was represented at the conference by James Rausse, the borough’s Director of Budget and Housing.

Alex Diaz, President of the 40th Precinct Community Council, shared high hopes for what the conversion would hold in store for the area. “Today we celebrate this venture because it improves our community’s safety and steers our residents out of poverty by allowing them the opportunity to be homeowners,” he said.

About UHAB:
UHAB was founded in 1973 to help transform New York City renters in distressed, foreclosed, and abandoned property into homeowners who collectively own and govern housing cooperatives.

Since then UHAB has created over 30,000 units of affordable co-ops in 1,700 buildings, and continues to work with residents to create and sustain high-quality housing co-operatives that will remain affordable, in perpetuity, to people of modest means. Within in the next three years, 2,000 homeownership units will be generated for low-income families. UHAB is involved in converting 25 former NYCHA buildings into private co-ops run by former tenants. Three co-ops in the Bronx have been completed.

Contact:

Jess Wisloski
Communications, Webmaster
Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
120 Wall St., 20th Fl.
NY, NY 10005
(212) 479-3312
(718) 360-7113 cell

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UHAB was founded in 1973 to help transform New York City renters in distressed, foreclosed, and abandoned property into homeowners who collectively own and govern housing cooperatives.
 
Since then UHAB has created over 30,000 units of affordable co-ops in 1,700 buildings, and continues to work with residents to create and sustain high-quality housing co-operatives that will remain affordable, in perpetuity, to people of modest means. Within in the next three years, 2,000 homeownership units will be generated for low-income families. UHAB is involved in converting 25 former NYCHA buildings into private co-ops run by former tenants. Three co-ops in the Bronx have been completed.

Contact:

Jess Wisloski
Communications, Webmaster
Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
120 Wall St., 20th Fl.
NY, NY 10005
(212) 479-3312
(718) 360-7113 cell

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