U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the House Democratic Leader, announced last week he had secured $3 million in funding for New York City Habitat for Humanity’s Constellation development project.
The money — allocated from the federal spending bill — will go toward building 77 affordable housing units across eight sites in East New York, Ocean Hill, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Rugby Remsen Village.
The project directly addresses the need for eco-friendly housing opportunities for the working class, an “urgent crisis” within the city, according to Jeffries.
“The affordable housing crisis is perhaps the most significant challenge that New Yorkers face,” he said. “That is why the work of Habitat for Humanity is particularly important at this time.”
The representative made the announcement on Aug. 2 at the future site of a 4-story, 12-unit building that will bring eight two-bedroom and four three-bedroom apartments.
“This vacant lot may look like evidence of despair in Central Brooklyn but it will be transformed into a field of dreams because there will be dozens of individuals and families, who, because of the work of Habitat for Humanity and partnership with our efforts at the federal government to support their work, will be able to realize the dream of homeownership,” Jeffries said.
Habitat for Humanity works on various projects throughout the city and parts of Westchester County. For a similar project in 2017, the team broke ground on a three building “Seed” development in Brownsville that gave 25 Brooklynites the chance to be first time homeowners.
Affordable housing is badly needed in the nabes where Habitat for Humanity plans to build — according to city data, nearly half of Brownsville residents earn less than 30% of the city’s Area Median Income — or less than $42,000 per year for a family of four. Almost two-thirds of people living in Brownsville are considered “rent-burdened,” meaning they pay more than 30% of their income in rent, and an additional 35% spend more than half of their income on rent.
Jeffries said the funding will not only allow New Yorkers to live in affordable homes, but gives them a chance to build equity and pass something on to their future generations.
“The great American dream is, we believe, that when you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to provide a comfortable living for yourself and for your family, educate your children and purchase a home,” Jeffries said. “At this site, we will be able to bring that dream to life and in other parts of the neighborhood.”