Beautiful Beginnings

Beautiful Beginnings

Welcome to the New Year. I hope the holidays were a warm and joyous time for you and your family, and offered opportunities for rest, reflection, and rejuvenation.

For NYCHA, 2015 was a year of tremendous change. Many of our NextGeneration NYCHA goals are beginning to come to fruition, as you’ll see in some of the articles in this issue of the Journal. For instance, we’re bringing desperately needed new affordable housing to our city. In November, we cut the ribbon at La Preciosa, the first NYCHA public housing built on private land (page 8). Built on a formerly vacant lot, La Preciosa is a beautiful addition to the Bronx’s Morrisania neighborhood. Twenty-one of its 49 apartments are now home to families who were on NYCHA’s wait list. A non-profit organization, Services for the Under-Served, provides on-site supportive services, such as counseling and employment assistance, to 10 tenants with special needs, including veterans and formerly homeless individuals. All of the apartments are affordable, limited to those who make no more than 60 percent of the area median income. We’re also proud of the sustainable design of this groundbreaking and historic project. Its many green features make it 20 percent more energy efficient than a standard building.
 

We are incorporating some groundbreaking architectural innovations in our mission to rebuild better, smarter, and stronger from Hurricane Sandy’s destruction. Check out the photo spread on pages 12-13 to learn more about the work we’re doing at Coney Island Houses in Brooklyn that will improve residents’ quality of life and make their buildings more sustainable and resilient for the future.

When thinking about the future of NYCHA, it’s a great pleasure to hear about young residents working to better their communities. Jewels Marshall, a 16-year-old resident of Jackson Houses, is the youngest member of Bronx’s Community Board 1, which covers Mott Haven, Port Morris, and Melrose. She has lots of terrific ideas and I hope you are as inspired as I was to read her story (page 7). And soon there will be more opportunities for young NYCHA residents to help better the health of their communities. NYCHA is one of 10 city agencies, nonprofits, and private corporations involved in a public-private partnership launched by Mayor de Blasio in December called Building Healthy Communities (BHC) (cover). The goal of BHC is to improve health outcomes for New Yorkers in 12 neighborhoods by increasing access to healthy food, increasing opportunities for physical, activity and promoting public safety. NYCHA will help build community farms at NYCHA developments with young residents from Green City Force helping to manage the farms.

This is a unique and important moment in NYCHA’s history. We’ve only just begun our work to transform NYCHA into our vision of safe, clean and connected communities and together we’ve already made significant progress. Thank you for your continued partnership. I look forward to working with you throughout 2016.

 

Shola Olatoye

Chair and CEO

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