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Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Five faith-based institutions, including a church in Jamaica, have been selected to participate in the New York Land Opportunity Program (NYLOP).

Launched by The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) NYC, NYLOP is designed to help mission-driven organizations find partners to develop affordable or supportive housing on underutilized land.

“NYLOP aligns with LISC NYC’s mission of supporting local champions to address critical community needs,” said Sam Marks, executive director of LISC NYC. “Churches and other mission-driven organizations are the life-blood of NYC neighborhoods and can play a vital role in meeting the challenge of our city’s affordable housing crisis.”

“Communities often seek guidance and support from their spiritual leaders,” said city Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “It is only right that we empower and educate these leaders so they can further strengthen their neighborhoods through the creation of affordable housing and expand community programming.”

In the fall of 2016, LISC NYC held four NYLOP technical assistance workshops in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan. A rigorous application process led to the selection of the first five participating organizations.

Among the five churches that will be participating in the program is Jamaica’s St. John’s Global Ministries, which recently celebrated its 92nd anniversary. The other churches that are participating in the program are The Community Church of New York Unitarian Universalist (Murray Hill, Manhattan), Shiloh Church of Christ (Harlem), Wakefield Grace United Methodist Church and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (Bronx).

The program will help strengthen the churches’ ability to remain anchor institutions in their neighborhoods, even as significant change is taking place around them. With NYLOP, the churches will be able to build housing and continue to provide community programming that address the needs of youth, seniors and those struggling with hunger, poverty and homelessness in their neighborhoods.

NYLOP will also provide free assistance, including access to lawyers and architects and help with issuing requests for proposals so that the five groups can identify and select experienced developers as joint venture partners.

“Working with New York City’s community-based organizations, and particularly faith-based leaders, we are finding new ways to turn underutilized lots into modern affordable housing and community spaces that will benefit New Yorkers in need,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I congratulate these five churches, their communities and the partners that got us to this point. Your work is so important.”

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