Jennings Hall, which houses 150 affordable living spaces for seniors, is located at 260 Powers Street, on the same block where a fire devastated a row of wooden buildings in 1974, leaving 18 families homeless.
The Alliance sprung from the ashes of that fire, with the help of funding designated by the federal government to improve impoverished urban neighborhoods.
Many neighborhood-based non-profits like St. Nicks were formed around the country in the 1970s to get government money to fix up their neighborhoods. Like St. Nicks’ formation after the fire, many of them started in response to a particular crisis.
In addition to the anniversary, St. Nicks also celebrated a $13 million energy-efficiency renovation to Jennings Hall, along with the success of a 40-bed Assisted Living Program launched in January.
St. Nicks Housing Director Frank Lang spoke at the celebration, which was attended by many Jennings Hall residents, noting the work that went into securing funding for the renovation.
“Many of you are seeing our wonderful facility today and that has to do with not just 30 years of focus and operations, but also a lot of effort in the last few years to see how we could transform this building,” Lang said.
The Assisted Living Program was formed to keep the elderly in the neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Williamsburg, near their families and other loved ones.
Executive Director Michael Rochford said the renovation and the Assisted Living Program met the Alliance’s goals to honor the wishes of its founders.
“There’s some wonderful things that happened in this building,” he said. “It set a firm foundation for us grow and to continue to achieve, and we will continue to pursue the legacy left to us by our founders.”
Councilwoman Diana Reyna also attended the event, where she doted on the Alliance for the work it’s done to improve life in her district.
“For nearly four decades St. Nicks Alliance has provided our community with the means and the resources to live comfortably, to seek employment and to educate our youth,” Reyna said.
“From preserving industrial space to offering affordable housing, St. Nicks Alliance provides services in some of the most needed areas of our economy,” she added. “Jennings Hall is a shining example of these services.”