It's hard to believe that it’s been more than a year since my first day at Enterprise. On that day, I knew I was starting at a critical time.
Our communities were still reeling from the economic and health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the need for quality, safe and affordable housing had never been more important.
As I reflect on this last year, I am humbled by Enterprise’s staff, who have made such a tremendous impact increasing the housing supply, working with partners on innovative programs and advancing important policy priorities, all in the midst of a pandemic. I also feel fortunate to have spent the past year with three talented AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, who learned the ins and outs of Enterprise and contributed meaningfully to our team.
As Vice President and New York Market Leader, I am proud to support Enterprise’s three strategic pillars: Increasing Housing Supply, Advancing Racial Equity and Building Resilience and Upward Mobility.
It is my pleasure to share a few highlights from my first year:
Increasing Housing Supply
Over the year, Enterprise New York completed several innovative deals to boost the supply of housing across the state.
- We partnered with the Fortune Society to convert The Royal Park Hotel into 82 affordable homes on the Upper West Side, with 58 homes set aside for formerly homeless New Yorkers. Enterprise Community Loan Fund provided a $13.2 million acquisition loan for the project, which will foster stability and opportunity for people impacted by the criminal legal system, a population that faces significant barriers to finding stable housing.
- Enterprise Community Loan Fund provided a construction loan to Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) for the preservation of 201-207 7th Avenue in Chelsea, which will turn a blighted corner into 26 affordable co-ops, providing affordable homeownership opportunities in a thriving neighborhood.
- Upstate, we partnered with the Ibero-American Development Corporation and celebrated the opening of Pueblo Nuevo Phase I, which involves new construction and rehab on 75 affordable units, with on-site services in the El Camino neighborhood of Rochester.
We also supported emerging development models, partnering with true anchors in the communities we serve. Our Faith-Based Development Initiative is working to build capacity for faith-based organizations interested in re-purposing their land for affordable housing. And through a partnership with the New York State Attorney General’s Office, we are supporting Community Land Trusts across the state, to provide permanent, community ownership of affordable housing.
Looking ahead, I’m excited to partner with Mayor Adams' administration to ensure the rollout of the new Housing Our Neighbors blueprint is a success, with an integrated approach to solving the housing crisis, a commitment to lift up MBE development partners, and more.
Advancing Racial Equity
Racial equity is at the center of our work. It’s how we confront and dismantle the legacy of systemic racism in housing and close the growing racial wealth gap in New York. Advancing racial equity is a priority for me personally, and I am thrilled with the work we are doing.
The policy team is fighting for equitable, inclusive communities through its fair housing work. The Regional Affordable and Fair Housing Roundtable is working to advance protections for New Yorkers impacted by the criminal legal system, and working to enact minimum affordable housing goals for every community statewide. The Statewide Source of Income Coalition, instrumental in banning Source of Income discrimination back in 2019, continues to push for stronger education and enforcement of the law. Enterprise is wrapping up its Eliminating Barriers to Housing New York program, which funded six fair housing organizations doing fair housing testing, enforcement and education. This past year, we successfully advocated for $2 million in additional resources through the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal, which will build on this program and allow the expansion of these groups into regions of the state with no nonprofit fair housing presence.
As part of Enterprise’s national Equitable Path Forward initiative to dismantle the legacy of racism in housing, I am proud of our market’s two local initiatives, Equitable Path Forward: New York Grants and Equitable Path Forward: Advisory Services. Together, these programs have committed over $4.2 million to support BIPOC-led-organizations in the affordable housing industry in New York State and Puerto Rico. To complement this effort, we have launched a policy roundtable to address barriers faced by black women affordable housing developers in New York City, with six local participants. The Roundtable will develop a shared policy platform.
Finally, as our own racial equity working group embarks on a reflective look at all aspects of our work, I look forward to restarting the internal racial equity work.
Building Resilience and Upward Mobility
Our Housing Career Pathways initiative is implementing a groundbreaking program to train and connect New Yorkers with low incomes to a range of quality, permanent jobs in affordable housing management. Just this June, the first cohort of participants completed skills training with internships that will lead to permanent employment.
In partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Enterprise launched the Medicaid Together Improving Asthma Program, which is working with five Medicaid health plans to demonstrate the healthcare cost savings of investing in housing improvements that seek to drastically reduce asthma hospitalizations for low-income children in New York.
Lastly, through a grant with the U.S. Department of Energy, Enterprise New York is helping to deploy weatherization funds where they are most needed to further climate resilience in low-income communities.
This past year has been a tremendous learning experience for me as I have gotten to know the breadth of work being done at Enterprise and with our partners in the community development arena. While significant challenges lie ahead on meeting the increasing need for more affordable housing in our city and throughout the country, I am continually inspired by the work of the New York office and I’m confident that my colleagues will continue to go above and beyond to tackle the challenges we face. Here’s to one year!