Project Category: Building Affordable Housing
Organization Name: CAMBA Housing Ventures, Inc.
Organization Website: https://www.cambahousingventures.org
560 Winthrop Street
Brooklyn, New York 11203
Project Cost: $99,786,839
CAMBA Gardens Phase II (CGII) provides 293 units of sustainable, permanent, supportive and affordable housing located on re-purposed hospital property in the Wingate neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Developed by CAMBA Housing Ventures, Inc. (CHV) – a nonprofit housing developer and affiliate of Brooklyn-based, multi-service organization, CAMBA – CGII represents the second phase of the unique national model and partnership between a public hospital, nonprofit developer, and social service provider. In NYC, where the need for affordable housing is high, yet available land is scarce, CHV has been innovative in its approach to develop new housing models that transform underutilized public properties. CGII enabled the demolition of a former psychiatric facility (Building G) on the campus of Kings County Hospital, and the creative re-use of a previously derelict site into a vibrant, new housing development for nearly 450 people. CGII creates synergies by providing housing opportunities for formerly homeless and low-income residents, while also elevating design standards for affordable housing through thoughtfully selected building materials, creating a truly beautiful building and community asset. CGII is designed to achieve LEED-Gold, HPD/Enterprise Green Communities and NYSERDA standards, exemplifies transit-oriented design, and provides healthy indoor air quality, non-toxic finishes, local and culturally relevant artwork, and green spaces for all ages. CGII deserves to be recognized for its innovation as a national model of supportive and affordable housing development, successfully co-locating housing and healthcare, and providing an anchor of affordability in a Brooklyn community experiencing rapid real estate market escalation. In addition, CGII and has brought $100 million of public/private investment into the Wingate community – creating jobs and increasing revenue for local businesses, and demonstrated excellence in architectural and sustainable design.
Current Status: Construction was completed in December 2016 and is now 75% leased up.
Community Needs Addressed:
There is a critical need for affordable, supportive housing in NYC. As of April 2017, more than 58,000 New Yorkers (including 23,000 children) reside in homeless shelters. And, within any given year, hundreds of patients experience extended stays in hospitals and nursing homes and make unnecessary emergency room visits due to the lack of stable and affordable housing. In addition to lack of affordability, there is also a need for safe and sustainable housing, as 1 in 4 low-income residents live in overcrowded and substandard housing. Low-quality living conditions like poor ventilation, pest infestations, and lack of outdoor space increase the risk of asthma, obesity, diabetes and mental health issues. The housing crisis is worse in Brooklyn, where gentrification is rampant, making renting or home-buying unaffordable for many residents. Brooklyn currently has 26,000 affordable rental units, of which 18% could be lost by 2022. Median sales prices for homes are at an all-time high – now at $770,000, a 16% increase from the previous year. In Brooklyn’s Wingate neighborhood, the area median income (AMI) is under $42,000, 19% of families live in poverty, and the high unemployment rate is at 16%. More than 50% of households are severely rent burdened, paying more than 35% of their income on housing. In an effort to address this growing crisis, CHV has excelled in transforming underutilized public space into safe, affordable and beautiful homes for people who need it most. For CGII, CHV secured public/private financing to ensure that every unit was reserved for low-income households earning 60% or less than the AMI, and for those leaving shelter. This model has also been proven to save tax dollars – a 2014 NYC Department of Health study showed that supportive housing resulted in nearly $10,100 in savings per tenant in jail, shelter, hospital and Medicaid utilization.
Benefits and outcome:
CGII provides a safe, sustainable and affordable home for some of New York City’s most vulnerable residents. CGII consists of 257,873 gross sq. ft. including 175 studios, 28 1-bedroom, 62 2-bedroom and 28 3-bedroom rental units. Of the 293 total units, 182 (62%) are designated for formerly homeless/special needs residents, many of whom struggle with chronic health conditions, mental health and/or substance use issues. The remaining 110 units are for low-income families earning no more than 60% of the AMI, as determined by HUD. One 3-bedroom unit is reserved for the on-site superintendent. When fully leased, CGII will be home to over 450 residents. CGII has been designed to reduce energy consumption, improve resident health, and provide resources for low-income families. CGII features sustainable design by NYSERDA, LEED and Enterprise Green Communities standards, making it energy-efficient, lowering electricity bills and providing healthy indoor air quality. Residents also have access to a variety of on-site supportive services and recreational opportunities, as well as vast communal open space on the property which features a community garden. Our success at CAMBA Gardens Phase I (CGI) demonstrates the impact CGII will have for residents. From a 79% reduction in multiple ER visits to an estimated $7,300 annual public health cost savings, residents at CGI have seen a profound impact on their health, and the community has seen a reduction in health care costs. In addition to impact on resident health, CGII has yielded significant economic impact on the local community. Through construction and operation of CGII, CHV has created 197 jobs for Brooklyn residents, and generated $30MM in revenue for Brooklyn-based contractors including over $7.2MM to M/WBE’s and $1.2MM of materials purchased from local vendors. Further, the community is experiencing a rapid increase in real estate prices and market-rate non-contextual development.
Project partners and collaborators:
Phases I and II of the CAMBA Gardens developments represent an innovative partnership between a public hospital, nonprofit developer, and social service provider. CHV collaborated with New York City Health + Hospitals, the largest network of health care centers in the nation; Kings County Hospital Center, the campus on which the developments have been built; and affiliated social service provider, CAMBA, which provides on-site case management and counseling services, support groups and educational workshops for residents around topics like nutrition, harm reduction, financial literary, and job readiness. This partnership represents a unique and beneficial opportunity to provide more affordable housing, streamline healthcare services for residents, provide revenue for local businesses, and build upon established relationships with the hospital and community. For CGII, CHV also worked in partnership with NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), NYS Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP), NYS Housing Finance Administration (HFA), Brooklyn Borough President/City Council, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, Enterprise, TD Bank, Bank of America, and NYSERDA. We also worked closely with the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), using their white paper, “Involving Public and Non-profit Hospitals in Supportive Housing” as guiding principles for shaping our innovative housing model. In order to provide critical supportive services to CG II residents, CHV has leveraged funding contracts secured through CAMBA from NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), NYC HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA), and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).
What makes your project unique?
The most unique feature of the CAMBA Gardens national model is the successful partnership between a public hospital, nonprofit housing developer, and social services provider. CGII represents the continuation of this replicable housing model to repurpose underutilized public land, a truly innovative solution to NYC’s housing crisis. CGII relieved Kings County Hospital Center of a costly and deteriorating building while also creating new homes for approximately 450 low-income and homeless New Yorkers. Because housing is co-located with health and mental health care, connection to these critical services is streamlined for residents who struggle with multiple conditions, thus promoting prevention and individualized treatment, and reducing unnecessary emergency room visits and recidivism rates for jail and/or shelter. CHV was innovative in the financing structure for CGII. To secure construction and permanent financing, CHV leveraged 10 public and private sources of financing. This network of partners allows public agencies to distribute and leverage their funding to more sponsors/developers, which promotes greater housing unit production. It also promotes a shared and focused commitment among City and State agencies to be involved in supportive and affordable housing. CHV was able to assemble the same stakeholders as Phase I, and incorporate a new funding opportunity through New York State Medicaid Redesign Team capital funds. This promoted funders’ continued involvement in the national model of CAMBA Gardens. CGII not only provides long-term housing affordability, it also exemplifies thoughtful, contextual design that elevates the standard for affordable housing. What was once a dilapidated facility now stands a beautiful and sustainable, new housing development that represents $100 million of public/private investment in the neighborhood – a true community asset. CGII has redefined what affordable housing looks like both in NYC, and for cities across the U.S.
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