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As Part of Housing for Health Initiative, NYC Health + Hospitals, NYC HPD, and Comunilife Break Ground on New $41.5m Building with 93 Units of Affordable and Supportive Housing

Apr 27, 2023

NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull CEO Gregory Calliste, NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President for Housing and Real Estate Leora Jontef, NYC HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr, Comunilife President and CEO Dr. Rosa Gil, and others celebrate the groundbreaking for a new apartment building at 171 Throop Avenue (Credit: Samuel Rodriguez, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull)

As part of the system’s Housing for Health initiative, NYC Health + Hospitals, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Comunilife today broke ground on the Comunilife Throop Residence, a new, $41.5 million 93-unit apartment building at 171 Throop Avenue in Brooklyn on the campus of NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull. Patients of NYC Health + Hospitals who are experiencing homelessness will be selected for the building’s 56 units of supportive housing, and they will receive services from Comunilife and health care from Woodhull Hospital. The remaining apartments comprise 21 affordable homes for extremely low-income seniors, 15 affordable homes for low-income New Yorkers, and 1 super’s unit. A video of the groundbreaking is available here.

Expected to open in late 2024, this is the second phase of affordable and supportive housing development on NYC Health + Hospitals Woodhull campus. The first phase, the Woodhull Residence at 179 Throop Avenue, was also built on NYC Health + Hospitals land, financed by HPD, and developed by Comunilife. It opened in 2019 and has 89 units of affordable and supportive housing. This project is one of several that will contribute to Housing for Health’s commitment to create nearly 650 new affordable homes in the next five years; upcoming projects include Just Home in the Bronx and 1727 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. Last year, NYC Health + Hospitals provided care for 49,800 patients experiencing homelessness. Developing housing on hospital land is a key part of Housing for Health, NYC Health + Hospital’s initiative to connect patients experiencing homelessness to stable, affordable housing and a strategy outlined in Mayor Eric Adams’ housing plan, “Housing Our Neighbors: A Blueprint for Housing and Homelessness.”

“In the Housing Our Neighbors blueprint, our administration committed to an array of bold ideas to create more safe, stable homes for New Yorkers,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Today, we’re seeing how NYC Health + Hospitals, HPD, and other partner agencies are collaborating to change lives by giving more New Yorkers a place to call home.”

“The evidence is undeniable that stable housing allows patients to better manage their health,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “NYC Health + Hospitals is in the business of caring for our patients, and that extends to finding them a permanent place to live. Today, we’re using our land to create nearly 100 new apartments on our campus at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull. We hope health care systems nationwide follow suit.”

“With this new building, we will double the housing on the campus of NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President of Housing and Real Estate Leora Jontef. “Using our land to create new units of affordable and supportive housing is a key part of our Housing for Health initiative, and today’s groundbreaking will help us house even more of our patients.”

“On behalf of Woodhull’s staff, patients and community, I express our thanks and appreciation to Comunilife for their vision and dedication to this Comunilife 2 Building project. The partnership between NYC Health + Hospitals, Woodhull, Comunilife, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and the other partners has been solid. Our joint shared commitment to addressing the problem of homelessness for the underprivileged population of this community has helped us to overcome obstacles to make this a reality. The Comunilife 1 project has been extremely successful in this regard and we expect continued success of this objective with this second building which should be completed by the end of 2024,” said Gregory Calliste, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull.

“New York City has a dire need for supportive housing for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “With on-site services provided by Comunilife, health care from Woodhull Hospital, and 93 high-quality affordable homes, we’re providing future residents of 171 Throop Ave with the level of care and attention they need and deserve.”       

“Our new 93-unit Comunilife Throop Residence will build on Comunilife’s continuum of 3,059 units of supportive and affordable housing and is an example of our mission to provide vulnerable communities with housing and culturally sensitive supportive services,” said Dr. Rosa Gil, Comunilife’s President and CEO. “Comunilife believes that no one should be without the housing and supports they need to lead a healthy, meaningful life. We all know that housing is a key social determinant of health and that without a safe, affordable and permanent place to live, it is almost impossible for vulnerable New Yorkers to overcome their health and social issues. By partnering with NYC Health + Hospitals, which is equally as committed to providing housing as a means of improving health outcomes, we know that the residence, when it opens in late 2024, will have a profound effect on the lives of the 56 supportive housing clients who will call it home.” 

Supportive housing residents at Comunilife Throop will receive supportive services through awards from the NYC 15/15 program. Comunilife is the project’s developer and service provider. Comunilife serves 3,000 low-income and vulnerable New Yorkers annually with supportive services and affordable housing.

Amenities at Comunilife Throop will include 24-hour security, laundry, a community room, a computer room, and a bike room. The new building will connect to the previous building on the first floor and share a commercial kitchen, community space, and a back garden. The new development meets design and sustainability standards set by Enterprise Green Communities, the green housing standard for affordable housing, including a smoke-free building, energy efficient appliances, solar panels on the roof, and landscaping that uses native or adapted species with efficient irrigation.

NYC Health + Hospitals contributed the land to the project through a 99-year ground lease. Financed through HPD’s Supportive Housing Loan Program, the project includes $14.6 million in City subsidy, $500,000 in Reso A funds from the Brooklyn Borough President, $15.5 million in NYC Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and $7.5 million loan from Webster Bank. The project also receives funding for rent and supportive services through the NYC 15/15 program, which Mayor Adams committed to accelerating in the Housing Our Neighbors Blueprint to create 15,000 supportive homes by 2028.  

Housing for Health is NYC Health + Hospitals’ comprehensive initiative to facilitate housing opportunities and supports for patients experiencing homelessness. Recognizing that the chronic health issues of unhoused individuals cannot be treated without stable housing, this initiative seeks to improve their health and wellbeing of New Yorkers by focusing on four strategic areas: navigation services, medical respite beds, affordable housing on hospital property, and social service support for patients in permanent housing.

MEDIA CONTACT: 212-788-3339; PressOffice@nychhc.org

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development  
HPD promotes quality and affordability in the city’s housing, and diversity and strength in the city’s neighborhoods – because every New Yorker deserves a safe, affordable place to live in a neighborhood they love. We maintain building and resident safety and health, create opportunities for New Yorkers through housing affordability, and engage New Yorkers to build and sustain neighborhood strength and diversity. HPD is entrusted with fulfilling these objectives through the goals and strategies of Housing Our Neighbors: A Blueprint for Housing and Homelessness, Mayor Adams’ comprehensive housing framework. To learn more about what we do, visit nyc.gov/hpd and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing. 

About Comunilife
Comunilife was opened in 1989 by Founder, President and CEO, Dr. Rosa Gil. For 34 years, Comunilife has been committed to providing vulnerable communities with housing and culturally sensitive supportive services for 34 years. We believe that no one should be without the housing and supports they needs to lead a healthy and meaningful life. With programs that include supportive and affordable housing, medical respite services and Latina adolescent suicide prevention activities, Comunilife served more than 3,000 low-income and vulnerable New Yorkers in 2022. Ninety percent (90%) of our clients are African American or Latino; and 50% have Spanish as their primary (or sole) language. All struggle with profound challenges including chronic homelessness, HIV/AIDS and other major medical issues, serious mental illnesses, and substance abuse. Comunilife’s 3,059 units of affordable and supportive housing address the need for safe, affordable, service enriched housing for a low-income population that has difficulty maintaining stable housing. Comunilife develops programs to meet emerging community needs and gap in services as evidenced by our Medical Respite and Life is Precious™ Suicide Prevention Programs. More information about Comunilife is available at www.comunilife.org