Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Related Companies and Win on Tuesday, Aug. 4, unveiled The Harriet Tubman Building in Far Rockaway, which will provide supportive housing for families leaving homeless shelters.
Richards was joined by state Assembly members Khaleel Anderson and Stacey Pheffer Amato for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at The Harriet Tubman Building located at 1403 Gateway Blvd.
The building is a 75,049-square-foot, 100 percent supportive housing development that offers 63 high-quality units through a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.
Win (formerly Women in Need), the largest provider of supportive housing for families in the city, will offer on-site, tailored social services for residents. The building, adjacent to Related Gateway Apartments, will also include a 1,200-square-foot community room and a 2,000-square-foot children’s playground that will be open to the public.
“These brand-new units of supportive housing will provide families leaving shelters with a safe place to call home that will help them find long-term independence and stability,” said Christine Quinn, president and CEO of Win.
Win was founded in 1982 with the mission to transform lives by providing the safe housing, critical services and groundbreaking programs needed for families to succeed on their own.
Quinn added that Win is “excited to work with Related Companies to offer wraparound, on-site services to these families, ensuring residents have the support and resources they need to break the cycle of homelessness permanently.”
Jeff Blau, CEO of Related Companies, said approaching the city to create new affordable housing units adjacent to a development they preserved over 10 years ago was important to them as a company and emblematic of their commitment to building strong, inclusive communities for all.
“As one of the largest private owners of affordable housing in the United States, we are extremely proud of this public-private partnership and to work closely with Borough President Richards and Christine Quinn to bring crucial health and human services to those in need,” Blau said.
According to Richards, safe, quality, affordable housing is a human right. But for far too many Far Rockaway families, that has been a seemingly impossible dream.
“We are flipping that script with the opening of the Harriet Tubman Building, a game-changing investment in the overall health of Far Rockaway, our fight against homelessness and the future success of our families struggling to get by,” Richards told QNS. “From 100 percent affordable housing units to on-site social services and more, this development is a model we must follow as we continue to invest heavily in this community.”
The Harriet Tubman Building’s on-site social services will address individual medical and clinical needs including mental and behavioral health services, counseling targeted to support the youngest residents, educational opportunities, job and career readiness development programs, building security, tenant relations, rent collection support, recreational group activities and more.
The building will also have its own case managers who will develop service plans that lay out specific actions and steps a client will take, the actions and steps the case manager will take to support the client, and the additional resources that are available to support the client.
Additionally, a certified psychiatric nurse practitioner will be on site in the licensed area at least two days each week.
The building was designed by MHG Architects and Monadnock Construction serving as the construction manager. All of the units have set aside income limits of 60 percent area median income (AMI) with 10 percent of the units set aside at 40 percent of AMI.
The tenants were referred by the city Department of Homeless Services and many came from Win’s temporary homeless shelters.
Louise Carroll, commissioner of the city Department of Housing and Preservation Development, said pairing affordable housing with supportive services is a critical pillar of the mayor’s housing plan, and the new Harriet Tubman building is the latest project designed to give their most vulnerable neighbors a better opportunity to live an “independent, full and healthy life.”
“Harriet Tubman residents will get individual support for their physical and mental wellbeing, empowering them to seize education and job opportunities to secure a better future,” said Carroll, who thanked Richards, Related Companies and Win for their partnership on the development and welcoming the residents to their new homes.
Jamar Adams, managing partner of Essence Development, said he is proud “to have been a part in bringing 100 percent supportive housing and much-needed resources to the Far Rockaway community.”
The Harriet Tubman Building is part of the final phase of a public-private, multi-phase initiative to bring lasting and impactful investment to Far Rockaway.
That phase is the development of supportive, affordable, mixed-income and market rate housing spurred by the rezoning of downtown Far Rockaway.
In total, the city has pledged or invested $288 million to bring housing, shopping, business opportunities, transportation and infrastructure fixes, arts programs and more to Far Rockaway.
Other upgrades include a completed $25 million sewer system upgrade, a Small Business Service program to renovate storefronts along Mott Avenue, on which Rockaway South sits, and $4.4 million in upgrades to local parks.
Public investment in Far Rockaway, starting with large-scale infrastructure upgrades to the transportation system including new ferry service and bus lines, has continued with a series of other infrastructure upgrades undertaken by NYCEDC.
This effort will culminate with a Snøhetta-designed, Public Design Commission award-winning library set amid a fully redesigned green plaza.
Coupled with the NYCEDC work, the city has designated a long-abandoned shopping center directly across from the subway station in downtown Far Rockaway as an Urban Renewal Area, acquiring the site, which is slated for development by Phipps Houses, for $91 million.
Phipps Houses recently secured loans in the amount of roughly $230 million from Housing Development Corporation to begin the construction of Far Rockaway Village on the site. Far Rockaway Village will include roughly 1,700 units when completed.