Gateway Housing is excited to support HELP USA’s transformative redevelopment of the 515 Blake Avenue block in East New York, which was presented last week to the New York City Council for approval under the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). The redevelopment has already been approved by the Brooklyn Borough President and the City Planning Commission, and needs only a green light from City Council to begin construction on one of the most innovative multi-use residential projects in the city this year.

The redevelopment will tear down an aging shelter in dire need of repair to build a new facility with 195 improved units of temporary housing for families. The project will also provide 326 new permanent affordable housing units to the East New York community. More than half of the new housing will be permanently affordable for very low income New Yorkers, including 42 units of supportive housing, 78 units of affordable housing for formerly homeless New Yorkers and 51 units for households making below 50 percent of the Area Median Income.

The new development will be modern and more attractive, replacing the forbidding fence that currently surrounds the existing shelter with outward-facing buildings that enhance streetlife in the neighborhood. The ground floor will offer a licensed early childhood education center, a black box theatre and retail spaces affordable to neighborhood residents.

Most importantly, HELP USA will replace an outdated shelter with two smaller, innovative shelters using trauma-informed design to allow more personalized attention and support to homeless children and their families.

At Gateway Housing, we believe the ultimate solution to homelessness is permanent housing. But in a high-cost city like New York, there will always be people in crisis who need temporary housing. And New York City’s tight housing market means homeless families often take months to find permanent housing they can afford. We owe it to their children to make sure they spend those months – even years – not in dangerous hotels with no services, but in the most supportive, least traumatic environment possible, close to home and integrated with permanent housing in the surrounding neighborhood.

In other words, the HELP USA development at 515 Blake is exactly the kind of community investment that New York needs. Gateway Housing is proud to support HELP USA and the City Council in making this innovative project a reality.

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