Last Wednesday, local and state officials joined the nonprofit Comunilife to unveil their eighth supportive housing development.
The 89-unit building set aside 54 studio apartments for homeless adults living with special needs. The other 35 apartments were designated for low-income community residents.
Dr. Rosa Gil, president and CEO of Comunilife, said the residence represents a “unique focus” on the intersection between health and housing.
“This is a critical component of how we want to really diminish the social determinants of health,” she said. “Housing is a critical component for the well-being of human beings.”
The development sits on the corner of Throop and Park avenues, at the edge of Woodhull Hospital’s campus in the Broadway Triangle. Gil, the former executive director of Woodhull, said many of the people living at the Woodhull Residence are also patients of the hospital.
“For us, this is a thrill because they are no longer living on the streets,” she said. “They have a home to come to.”
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said the joint effort between nonprofit and government agencies converted what was a “wasteland” into a “place of new beginnings.”
The $29 million project received funding and help from the state Department of Homes and Community Renewal, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the NYC Health+Hospitals Corporation.
“It’s not a building we’re investing in, it’s human beings,” Hochul said. “We can keep replicating this over and over again.”
Dr. Mitchell Katz, president and CEO of Health+Hospitals, committed to offering up city land to build more of these developments.
“There are other instances where we may have a surface parking lot,” he said, “where we should take a third of the parking lot, build a five-floor open parking structure and use the other two-thirds to build housing.
“This is New York City, we can’t be using surfaces for simple parking,” Katz added. “We have people who need housing.”
A Woodhull Residence tenant who identified herself only as Miriam said before she started living at the new building, she was confused and “very suicidal.” She said she wasn’t getting any of the support she needed.
But after she moved in on January 25, Miriam said she has been able to talk to many professionals.
“Since I came here, my health got a lot better, and my mental health,” she said. “I feel that I have my self-respect back.
“I feel like I found myself here, I came back to myself,” Miriam added. “It’s a miracle in itself.”