‘Everyone deserves quality housing’: New facility serving seniors and formerly homeless New Yorkers opens in Jamaica

The Mieles Housing Facility Ribbon Cutting
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards joins city and state officials to cut the ribbon at The Mieles, Jamaica’s new affordable housing facility providing supportive services to seniors and formerly homeless New Yorkers. (Photos by Paul Frangipane)

City and state officials on Sept. 15 helped cut the ribbon at The Mieles, a new eight-story supportive housing building in the heart of Jamaica. The building includes 70 “deeply affordable” homes, including 42 for New Yorkers struggling with homelessness and 27 for seniors who need a place to live.

(Photos by Paul Frangipane)

Transitional Services New York Inc. (TSINY) will operate the new facility at the corner of 161st Street and 89th Avenue.

“This is TSINY’s second new apartment building in Jamaica, Queens, and we continue to build our history in New York City with more buildings to come,” TSINY CEO Dr. Larry S. Grubler said. “We are coming together as a community to build new homes and provide community-based services for individuals from New York City with low incomes. We are grateful for the support we have received from the Queens community and look forward to being part of the revitalization of Jamaica and our economy, especially during this trying time.”

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said he was thrilled to take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony and his office has committed $1 million toward TSINY’s next facility.

“Think about the 70 families in this building who no longer are loving in shelters, temporary shelters at that. Think about how their lives have been impacted by this facility, by this home, the home they can call home now,” Richards said. “This is what we need to do in our city and state. Everybody deserves to have quality housing and that’s what we’re providing here today.”

The building was named in honor of the generosity of the Miele family of Queens and it was built at the site of Monica House, a groundbreaking supportive housing project developed by Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens. Dr. Grubler explained it was one of the first projects that brought together state and city agencies to test the concept that housing was an answer to homeless persons with mental illness and an alternative to in-patient hospital facilities.

The Mieles will provide tenants with a range of programs and services designed to support recovery and develop daily living skills through assistance and support dealing with substance abuse, budgeting, housekeeping, cooking, building support networks, educational and vocational training, and managing personal healthcare needs.

“When I first started working in mental health, there was nothing like this. There were no homes like this,” NYS Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie Sullivan said. “The mentally ill who were discharged from the state hospitals were living in substandard housing and shelters all across the state. We’ve made tremendous steps to change that and this is one of the beautiful ones.”

(Photos by Paul Frangipane)

The Mieles features three gardens, each with unique characteristics. A first-floor patio area with tables and umbrellas will provide areas for conversation and relaxation to foster social interaction and a sense of community among the tenants and the staff.

Nina Cassius became homeless in 2008 and found shelter at Covenant House before she was sent to Monica House. Not only does she live in the new facility, but she has also worked in TSINY’s bookstore for 12 years.

“I just wanted to say that I’m really happy that this building could be built as a vessel of hope to help provide housing,” she said. “And just a home in the community for the people who are fortunate to be living here.”

Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane.