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Governor Hochul Announces Opening of $80 Million Supportive Housing Development in Queens

By on September 20, 2022 0

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the opening of The Kira, an $80 million affordable and supportive housing project in Jamaica, Queens. This included a newly constructed 21-story mixed-use building with 139 affordable and supportive housing units, 69 of which were supportive.

“Supportive housing is a critical part of our work to ensure that all New Yorkers have a safe and affordable place to call home,” Governor Hochul said. “The Kira will provide women who have experienced homelessness and domestic violence with easy access to the support and services they need and deserve to build a better life for themselves and their children.”

The Kira complements Governor Hochul’s sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable and stable. In the State Budget for Fiscal Year 2023, the Governor introduced and successfully secured a comprehensive new five-year, $25 billion housing plan that will increase housing supply by creating or preserving 100,000 homes homes in New York, including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations, plus the electrification of 50,000 additional homes.

Developed by New Destiny Housing, BFC Partners and SMJ Development, The Kira comprises 38 bachelor, 64 one-bedroom and 37 two-bedroom units, including one reserved for an on-site building superintendent. A total of 32 one-bedroom units and 37 two-bedroom units will be set aside for victims of domestic violence whose income is at or below 40% of the region’s median income. The remaining units are reserved for households whose income is equal to or less than 80% of the AMI.

Facilities include a children’s recreation room, fitness room, laundry facilities and an outdoor activity area. The project also includes over 5,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. There is also a dedicated community room and offices for onsite support programs and supportive housing staff.

The Kira’s energy-efficient design and features comply with Enterprise Green Communities certification and the Housing Finance Agency’s mandatory green and energy certification standards for home and community renewal.

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance provides $1.7 million annually in operating funding for support services through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative.

State funding for The Kira included $19.2 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, federal low-income housing tax credits that will generate $26.1 million in equity and $29 million dollars in grants from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested more than $11.49 billion in multifamily buildings to create or preserve more than 42,300 affordable homes and apartments in New York City. Nearly 4,000 of them are in Queens.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said: “For the families who now inhabit these 139 affordable apartments, The Kira is worth far more than an $80 million real estate investment. With a stable, affordable apartment and access to life-changing support services, residents will be able to focus on their own well-being and look forward to new opportunities and future success. Along with Governor Hochul, New Destiny Housing and our other partners, this new development is the embodiment of our shared commitment to the health and safety of our fellow New Yorkers.

Daniel W. Tietz, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Temporary Help and Disability Assistance, said: “By providing safe, affordable housing coupled with easy access to support services, this project exemplifies our ongoing efforts to address homelessness in New York State. The Kira will undoubtedly have a positive effect not only on the lives of those who live there, but on the whole community, and we congratulate New Destiny and our other partners on its success.”

New Destiny Housing Executive Director Nicole Branca said: “Victims of domestic violence often have to choose between living in dangerous situations or becoming homeless. This beautiful new building will allow 69 homeless families led by survivors of domestic violence to reach safety and begin to rebuild their lives. And our trauma-informed on-site services will help survivors stay safe and stable in their new homes.Thanks to project partners SMJ Development and BFC Partners, and funders New York State Homes and Community Renewal and Wells Fargo , as well as the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative which allows us to provide support to survivors and ensure that rents are affordable.”

Juan Barahona, Director of SMJ Development, said: “The inauguration of the Kira is the culmination of years of perseverance through countless obstacles. These pale in comparison to what some of our residents have endured in the search for safe, affordable and permanent housing. I’m proud to have helped make this project a reality alongside BFC Partners and New Destiny. I know that our collective efforts have resulted in a significant haven in downtown Jamaica.

Donald Capoccia, Managing Director of BFC Partners, said: “As a developer with a long history of engaging in housing New York’s most vulnerable populations, I am especially honored to see the new residents of The Kira move into safe, high-quality apartments that they can be proud to call home. The hope of our diverse development team is that The Kira serves as a model for future progress as the work to house New Yorkers in affordable homes continues.”