‘Righting the wrong’ of a wealthy, under-housed city: Hochul unveils new Brownsville housing development, Vital Brookdale

Local leaders cut the ribbon on Vital Brookdale, a new $82 million housing development in Brownsville.
NYS Homes and Community Renewal

Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced the completion of Vital Brookdale, an $82 million housing development made up of 160 affordable homes and more than 25,000 square-feet of health-focused community space in Brownsville.

“Central Brooklyn’s critical health and housing needs have gone unmet for far too long, but in response we are approaching them with bold and innovative solutions,” Hochul said in a statement. “Thanks to the Vital Brooklyn Initiative, we are working closely with local partners to create more housing, improve access to health care, and provide the types of supportive services that residents need to thrive.”

The completed estate, located at 535 E. 98th St., provides seven stories of 160 units with 36 additional dwellings set aside for supportive housing, 10 for youth aging out of foster care and 26 for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Vital Brookdale is the latest example of my administration’s commitment to boosting the supply of quality of affordable homes for all New Yorkers,” Hochul said.

This finalization meets the governor’s goal to to create two million climate-friendly homes by 2030. Hochul previously secured a $25 billion housing plan that increases the housing supply by preserving 100,000 affordable homes for vulnerable populations.  

“Projects like Vital Brookdale are a critical piece in righting the wrong of a wealthy city that is under housed, where 65,591 people sleep in city shelters, and the lack of support services that ensure our most vulnerable community members remain housed is insufficient,” said Assemblymember Monique Chandler-Waterman, whose district the development is located in. 

All tenants will get to enjoy a second floor terrace, a front and rear courtyards with a dog park, playground seating area. In the governor’s fight to eliminate social and digital disparities, the building also has free wireless internet access, a multipurpose community room, game room, library and resident work space. Other amenities include a fitness center, laundry room and storage areas.

Central Brooklyn is home to a community that’s often marginalized with limited access to health foods, job opportunities and exposure to high rates of crime and violence. This latest development addresses present social, economic, and health inequalities in Brooklyn, according to Chandler-Waterman.

“Not only is this a much-needed project, but it also fulfills a need for environmentally friendly, sustainable projects. New York State’s Vital Brooklyn Initiative, which includes Vital Brookdale, is proof of what can be done when there is a will,” she said. “I want to thank Governor Hochul, Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, Office for Children and Family Services, MDG Design and Construction, Smith & Henzy Advisory Group, and The New York Foundling for their work placing affordable, accessible housing in a community where there is a dire need.”

Most of the units will be reserved for households earning up to 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), the Area Median Income, as defined by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“The only way to build our way out of the housing crisis is the right way: with a commitment to affordability, to supportive services, and to developments that recognize the distinct needs of the people who call these apartments home,” said Borough President Antonio Reynoso in a statement. “With wireless internet for all, green spaces, and amenities like a fitness room, laundry facility, and bike storage, Vital Brookdale is helping us raise the standard for affordable living in Brownsville and across Brooklyn. Thank you to our city and state partners for their hard work making Vital Brookdale a reality.”