Upper East Side Patch,NYC Politicians Rally Behind Upper East Side Supportive Housing Development by Brendan Krisel
UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Upper East Side Politicians, community members and even some compassionate middle schoolers braved chilly weather Friday morning to gather in front of the site of a future supportive housing development to announce their support of the project.
Their message: Woman and children in need of supportive housing are welcome on the Upper East Side.
The building site — located on East 91st Street between First and Second avenues — will eventually be home to a 7-story, 17-unit facility that will also contain office space and a 7,000-square-foot Sunshine Early Learning Center. The supportive housing component will be operated by Women in Need (WIN), a nonprofit that helps house homeless women and their children and get them on their feet, which will lease the 17 two-bedroom apartments.
While women and their children live at the supportive housing facility they will receive services to help place the mothers in good jobs and the children in a steady school environment, former City Council Speaker and chief executive of WIN Christine Quinn said Friday. Quinn said that 98 percent of WIN families do not return to homeless shelters. The families living in the supporting housing development will rent the units for market-rate prices, but will receive rent assistance from WIN.
"You can't solve the homeless crisis without providing the transitional service and support necessary to keep people leaving shelter, out of shelter. Moms and their kids still need out help once they walk out of the shelter doors and permanent supportive housing provides the kind of wraparound services that will help them gain greater skills, more independence, and keep them from sliding back from their gains," Quinn said.
Quinn said Friday that East 91st Street between First and Second avenues — a block with two schools in an affluent neighborhood — may not be the first location one might think of when considering supportive housing, but that building affordable housing in these types of areas is key to solving New York City's housing crisis.
A common obstacle for affordable and supportive housing developments is opposition from neighborhood residents. Planned homeless shelters in Maspeth, Queens and, more recently, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, have sparked ugly battles between certain communities and the city.
But Upper East Side residents were clear Friday, "NIMBYism" (not in my backyard), isn't going to stop this development. Representatives from Community Board 8 attended the press conference to voice support for the supportive housing development and for similar future developments in the neighborhood.
"Well run supportive housing is an asset for the community," said David Rosenstein on behalf of Community Board 8. "Nobody should have anxiety."
Rosenstein added that he works with supportive housing developments elsewhere in the city and that the East 91st Street development "covers all criteria for good supportive housing."
Five Upper East Side politicians — City Councilman Ben Kallos, State Senator Liz Krueger, State Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright and representatives from Borough President Gale Brewer and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney — voiced support for the development on Friday.
The building's developer, Azimuth Development Group, expects construction to be complete in late 2018.