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Mount Hope Housing Company Announces Grand Opening of Affordable Housing Development Incorporating Green Building Elements in the Bronx

New York, NY – May 7, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Mount Hope Housing Company, a nonprofit community development organization and provider of social services in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx, along with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. announced today the grand opening of the New Hope Walton Project, a 63-unit environmentally friendly, affordable housing development for low-income residents. The creation of affordable housing in neighborhoods across New York City is part of the City’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan to create jobs for New Yorkers today, implement a vision for long-term economic growth and strengthen and stabilize neighborhoods.

“Mount Hope Housing Company is steadfast in our commitment to meeting the needs of our community and providing services that help our residents to move up the economic ladder,” said Shaun M. Belle, President & CEO of Mount Hope Housing Company. “The New Hope Walton Project exemplifies this commitment and is the latest success in our decades-long effort to revitalize the Mount Hope community.”

Since its founding, Mount Hope Housing Company has invested over $100 million in neighborhood infrastructure, workforce, youth, and wealth development programs. Financing for the project was provided by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., a leading nonprofit provider of development capital and expertise for affordable housing, HDC, HPD, and Citibank. HDC and HPD together have financed the development or preservation of more than 85,000 affordable homes as part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan.

“Enterprise is a strong partner of the Mount Hope Housing Company, and we commend Mount Hope on the New Hope Walton Project as the latest milestone in the successful revitalization of the Mount Hope community,” said Keith Fairey, Regional Operating Officer at Enterprise. “Environmentally friendly housing is especially important for low-income residents, who suffer disproportionately from high energy costs and environment-related health issues, such as asthma. The green elements of the New Hope Walton Project will help to provide sixty-three Mount Hope families with a beautiful, affordable and healthy place to call home.”

“Together with Mount Hope Housing Company and Enterprise we have built a development that signifies the continued transformation underway in the Bronx,” said HPD Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero. “The New Hope Walton project brings stability to the families it houses, as well as to the neighborhood at large. Its green elements exemplify our commitment to forging solutions that meet the growing demand for affordable housing and ensuring long-term affordability by reducing energy costs. We are proud to have been a part of this endeavor.”

HDC President Marc Jahr said: “There are few more effective ways to ensure the rebirth of a neighborhood than street-level, true grassroots organizing. The Mount Hope Housing Company grew organically out of what was real despair along Walton Avenue. No-one could have predicted back then how tenacious and successful they would be. We at HDC are proud of our partnership with them in this project. We are glad to have played a part in making this new affordable housing a reality.”

Tenants are selected through a lottery and screened for income eligibility, among other things. All of the units in the building are reserved for households with incomes up to 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) or $46,080 for a family of four. Three of the units are set aside for families earning up to 50% AMI ($38,400 for a family of four.) Rent up is underway and should be completed by the end of June. Built with non-toxic construction materials, the project was designed to minimize residents’ exposure to toxic pollutants and maximize their air quality, access to natural light, outdoor space and public transportation.

Enterprise contributed to the project $7.1 million in tax credit equity, a $50,000 pre-development grant and a $25,000 Green Communities grant. Launched in 2004, Enterprise Green Communities has invested $570 million nationwide to create over 13,500 environmentally friendly affordable homes as part of Enterprise’s goal to make environmentally sustainable development the standard in the affordable housing industry. HDC issued $8.1 million in tax-exempt bonds to cover construction costs, while HPD provided $2.27 million in HOME funds and an additional $245,000 from its Mixed-Income Rental Program (MIRP). Citibank serviced the construction loan and provided the letter of credit. Originally budgeted at nearly $16 million, the developer was able to complete construction on time and under budget.

The opening of the New Hope Walton Project, located at 1775 Walton Avenue, adjacent to the new Mount Hope Community Center, brings the number of apartments managed by Mount Hope Housing Company to 1,313 in thirty-two buildings, providing affordable homes to approximately one out of every seven Mount Hope community residents. The building is expected to be fully occupied by the end of June 2009.

“I feel truly relieved that this new building is complete,” said new tenant Mariam Balde, an immigrant from Guinea, Africa. “We were living in a homeless shelter in Queens, but now my husband and I will have a stable and safe home to raise our two children.”

About HDC
The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) provides a variety of financing programs for the creation and preservation of multi-family housing that meets the wide range of affordable housing needs of the City’s economically diverse population. It is the nation’s number one issuer the nation’s top issuer of affordable housing bonds. In 2008, the Corporation issued more than $1.3 billion worth of bonds in the calendar year, including approximately $500 million in tax-exempt housing revenue bonds, enabling HDC to finance the construction and/or preservation of 7,371 apartments. HDC is implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers. The New Housing Marketplace Plan is the largest municipal affordable housing effort in the nation’s history.
About Mount Hope Housing Company
Mount Hope Housing Company was founded in 1986 by community residents and leaders in response to the dramatic deterioration of the Mount Hope section of the Bronx. Mount Hope’s intense efforts in community planning and development of the community infrastructure reflects its commitment to area sustainability and can be measured in reduced crime, increased property values, a growing local economy and improved quality of life.

About HPD
HPD’s mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. It is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing, HPD also actively promotes the preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/hpd.
About Enterprise
Enterprise is a leading provider of the development capital and expertise it takes to create decent, affordable homes and rebuild communities. For more than 25 years, Enterprise has introduced neighborhood solutions through public-private partnerships with financial institutions, governments, community organizations and others that share our vision. Enterprise has raised and invested more than $10 billion in equity, grants and loans to help build or preserve more than a quarter of a million affordable rental and for-sale homes to create vital communities.
Enterprise is currently investing in communities at a rate of $1 billion a year. Visit www.enterprisecommunity.org and www.enterprisecommunity.com to learn more about Enterprise’s efforts to build communities and opportunity. Enterprise New York has been working to revitalize low-income communities across New York City since 1987. In that time, Enterprise New York has housed nearly 100,000 men, women, and children, developed more nearly 30,000 affordable homes, and committed $2 billion in equity, grants, and loans to community development projects across the city.

Christina Sanchez (HDC), (212)-227-2644, csanchez (at) nychdc (dot) com