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Bell Rings to Announce Launch of St. Augustine Terrace

Posted on April 9, 2019 by Catholic Charities Admin  |  Share

By Fanny Gomez

Although New York City saw a decrease in the unemployment rate in 2017, almost 60,000 New Yorkers were living in homeless shelters that same year – an increase from 2016. Rent increases prompt low-income families to find a new place to stay. The housing crisis is one that Catholic Charities of New York has been trying to play a role in, especially because many of our clients are low-income families struggling to get by. Everyone deserves an affordable place that provides safety and can be called home. This is why Catholic Charities of New York and Catholic Homes New York joined together to build housing in New York where families can afford to live.

On April 8th, Cardinal Timothy Dolan joined Monsignor Kevin Sullivan and Catholic Homes New York to announce a new housing initiative, starting with St. Augustine Terrace in the Bronx. This 112-unit building will be home to low-income families and one-third of the units have been set aside for adults with mental illnesses who will be served by the Beacon of Hope division of Catholic Charities Community Services. These tenants will receive care from offices directly inside the building.

This new housing project is especially important because it draws so close to home. St. Augustine was built on the grounds of St. Augustine Church, which was closed in 2011 and demolished in 2013. The front of the apartment building now displays the church’s original bell. A smaller replica of that same bell was rung after Cardinal Dolan blessed the building.

Many were in attendance on that windy but sunny afternoon. Stanley Grayson, a Catholic Charities Trustee, welcomed everyone to the event and Monsignor Kevin Sullivan then took the stage to explain why this first project was so important. “When the war on poverty began some 50 years ago,” stated Monsignor Sullivan, “the Catholic Church enlisted very strongly in being the voice for the poor, yes, but being an actor on behalf of the poor. It began more or less around that time of the creation of affordable housing in so many different parts of New York City.”

“St. Augustine is so much more than a building,” said First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray, “For Bronx families who struggle to make ends-meet, the Terrace means security. For New Yorkers living with serious mental illness, it means Stability and the freedom that comes with living independently.”

Other important contributors to this project also voiced their excitement for the new initiative including CEO of Catholic Homes New York, James McSpiritt, Commissioner of NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal, RuthAnne Visnauskas, Deputy Commissioner for Development at NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Molly Park, and Director of the Bureau of Housing Development and Support at the NYS Office of Mental Health,Brett Hebner.

This won’t be the last you’ll hear from Catholic Charities of New York and Catholic Homes New York. There are several other plans in place to build other affordable housing units on church property and other sites in New York. Other locations include St. Vincent de Paul Senior Center in the Bronx, Second Farms in the Bronx, Christopher Court in the Bronx, Grand Street Guild in Manhattan, and St. Phillip Neri in the Bronx.

To see photos of the event, click here. To learn more about St. Augustine Terrace and other affordable housing units under Catholic Homes New York, visit their website here.