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319 Miracles Happen: Catholic Charities is Creating Affordable Housing in NYC

Rendering of Second Farms. Photo: Catholic Charities New York

by Jim Sliney Jr.

Affordable housing in New York City is kind of like a unicorn in so far as neither are real. Or are they? Catholic Charities of New York (CCNY) and the Association of New York Catholic Homes (ANYCH) have figured out how to make unicorns.


On July 12th, Executive Director of Catholic Charities New York Monsignor Kevin Sullivan joined Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., City Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., and representatives from the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to mark the progress on the construction of Second Farms, a new 319-unit, low- and moderate-income building that is expected to open in the fall of next year in the West Farms neighborhood of the Bronx. View photos from the event.

“Second Farms is an important part of our commitment to building affordable housing for New Yorkers. We have over a 1,000 new units planned for the next five years and have renovated and preserved another 2,000 units to ensure that New York remains an affordable place for working families and low-income New Yorkers. This is our commitment to ensuring a basic human right – a roof over every family’s head,” said Monsignor Sullivan.

“I’m excited to celebrate the progress we have made on delivering 319 units of low-income family housing here at Second Farms. With our partners in government and the private sector, Catholic Homes New York looks forward to producing hundreds of homes for low income New Yorkers over the next few years,” said James McSpiritt, CEO of Catholic Homes.

In a recent press conference at the building site, Council Member Rafael Salamanca stated that of the building’s 319 units, roughly 192 units would be available to families earning between 27 and 57 percent of the median income of the area. The remaining units, or roughly 127 units, would be available to formerly homes families.

second farms dedication group photo


Back in April, Cardinal Timothy Dolan joined New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray, Monsignor Sullivan, Councilmember Vanessa Gibson, and NYC and NYS Housing Officials to formally open St. Augustine Terrace in The Bronx, a new, 112-unit apartment building for low income families, built on a former church property – St. Augustine.

Second Farms and St. Augustine Terrace are part of an ambitious initiative by Catholic Charities of New York to provide affordable housing to New Yorkers with the greatest needs – low-income families, the elderly, adults with mental illness, formerly homeless persons, and the disabled.


During the 1970s and 80s, in response to the availability of federal government programs for housing development, and the impetus of Vatican II’s imperative that the Church reach out and participate in the building of a better society, the Church of New York, through the leadership of parish priests, and committed religious and lay parishioners, began to define a Church role in housing development.

Fast forward over 40 years when in 2012 the Association of New York Catholic Homes welcomed Susan Albrecht as executive director. She has overseen the complex task of working with parishes, pastors, and local boards, while coordinating the financial, legal, architectural and construction advisors who participate in the pre-development stage of building new low-income housing for the Archdiocese.

Catholic Homes New York develops safe, affordable housing for families and seniors, based in the belief that having a home is a sacred human right.

Currently Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York oversees 2,336 units in New York City and Yonkers. Our new housing website, Catholic Homes New York, is a partnership between Catholic Charities New York, the Archdiocese of New York, and the New York Institute for Human Development.


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