Project Renewal Unveils All-New ScanVan Mobile Mammography Clinic During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Project Renewal, a nonprofit that works to end the cycle of homelessness through health, homes, and jobs, unveiled its new, 40-foot, state-of-the-art ScanVan mobile mammography clinic in October.

The Project Renewal ScanVan program is the first of its kind in the nation. Each year it provides free mammograms, clinical breast exams, and care coordination to more than 4,000 underserved women at sites throughout all five boroughs and Long Island. Patients with abnormal findings are contacted by patient navigators who arrange follow-up appointments at partner hospitals, radiology offices and breast centers at little or no cost to patients. Navigators work with hospital-based case workers to ensure a seamless transition from our screening program to a hospital-based treatment program.  

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After 13 years on the road, the old ScanVan was breaking down, limiting the team’s ability to reliably reach patients. The new $625,000 Project Renewal ScanVan was designed to withstand the wear and tear of city traffic and a busy schedule of more than 300 annual events.

 Project Renewal staff and supporters braved the rain to celebrate the new ScanVan

Project Renewal staff and supporters braved the rain to celebrate the new ScanVan

“We are looking forward to providing life-saving breast cancer screening exams and breast health education in a modern, comfortable coach throughout New York City,” says Mary Solomon, Director of the Project Renewal ScanVan. “We are grateful to the individual, corporate, government, and foundation supporters who make this program possible.”

The new Project Renewal ScanVan includes cutting-edge, Hologic full field digital mammography equipment, which will provide hospital-quality screenings to uninsured, under-insured and low-income women. The new van’s interior features a larger waiting area, a mammography room, and a clinic breast exam room.

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Mary Solomon has first-hand experience with the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Her grandmother was diagnosed in 1982, and the early detection of her grandmother’s disease inspired her mother to launch a mobile mammography clinic, Women’s Outreach Network, in 1986. Mary ran the program with her mother until they encountered financial challenges in 2007, and Project Renewal stepped in to help. The program was seamlessly incorporated into Project Renewal’s fleet of mobile medical vans.

The Project Renewal ScanVan partners with more than 200 community-based organizations that help to arrange screening events in low income communities.

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Supporters of the new Project Renewal ScanVan and program operations include The Breast Treatment Task Force, Betty Johnson, Fidelis Care, Henry Schein, Inc., Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, New York City Council Member Brad Lander, New York Council Member Steve Levin, New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres, New York State Cancer Services Program, New York State Department of Health, New York State Senator Boyle, New York State Senator Lanza, RAR Foundation, Richmond County Savings Foundation, The Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, Sandra Atlas Bass & Edythe & Sol G. Atlas Fund, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure Greater NYC.

ScanVan Helps Naomi Fight Breast Cancer

When Naomi, 41, found a lump in her breast this spring, she knew she needed to get it checked out. She didn’t have insurance, so her doctor advised she go to the ScanVan, where we provide comprehensive screenings and treatment referrals for communities in need, including uninsured, poorly insured, immigrant, homeless, and low-income women.

The day after her mammogram, Naomi received a call from the ScanVan—the lump was malignant. The diagnosis is frightening, but Naomi is thankful it was caught in its early stages. “If it weren’t for the ScanVan, I would have waited to get a mammogram,” says Naomi. “The van changed my life.”

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Today, Naomi is bravely confronting the physical and emotional effects of breast cancer. She is grateful for the ScanVan team’s compassion, and for swiftly helping her access the best treatment. “They helped me navigate Medicaid and figure out who to call to push the process forward,” recalls Naomi. “Project Renewal and the ScanVan connected me to amazing doctors who are helping me fight this.”

“Our staff takes pride in helping patients through complicated and overwhelming systems, taking some burden off of the women we serve during a very stressful time in their lives,” says Mary Solomon. “We are so glad we were able to connect Naomi to a great team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.”

Project Renewal Names Eric Rosenbaum Chief Executive Officer

Eric Rosenbaum has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of Project Renewal, a leading New York City homeless services nonprofit agency. Eric brings to the role a wealth of experience in homeless services and organizational management. He will begin his tenure on October 2, 2018.

“We are thrilled to have Eric join our extraordinary management team and our remarkable staff. Project Renewal is experiencing unprecedented growth as the demand for smart, humane services for the homeless continues to build. Eric’s experience and passion for our mission of ending homelessness will ensure we continue on our trajectory of creating and expanding innovative health, homes and jobs programs for those who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless,” said Claudia Rosen, Chair, Project Renewal Board of Trustees.

Most recently, Mr. Rosenbaum served as Chief Executive Officer of Lantern, a nonprofit that works with formerly homeless individuals and those at risk of homelessness. He also served as Chief Operating Officer of Win, Inc., a provider of family homeless shelters and family supportive housing. Mr. Rosenbaum serves on several boards, including Homeless Services United, the umbrella organization that represents the city’s homeless services organizations. In addition to his nonprofit experience, he has over two decades of experience in corporate management, working for companies such as Colgate-Palmolive. He earned an MS in Public Health and an MBA from UNC Chapel Hill, and a BA in biology from UCLA. 

“I am excited to join the Project Renewal team and be part of this visionary organization,” said Eric Rosenbaum. “The impact Project Renewal is having on New York’s homeless community is unparalleled, and I am looking forward to doing even more to help individuals and families renew their lives and reclaim hope.”

Project Renewal, which was founded over 50 years ago, is rapidly expanding as the demand for innovative solutions to the homeless crisis continues to grow. In the coming year, it will open the city’s first diversion center, which will provide the police with an alternative to sending individuals experiencing acute mental health and substance use disorder issues to jail; launch a tele-psychiatry unit to make mental healthcare more accessible; roll out a new ScanVan, which provides mammograms and follow-up care coordination to un- and under-insured women across the city; open Bedford Green House, the organization’s fifth and most innovative supportive housing development; and develop a specialized shelter for 200 men in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

These new initiatives are part of Project Renewal’s strategy to better address single adult and family homelessness in New York City. Each year, Project Renewal serves approximately 16,000 individuals across seven shelters, eight transitional and permanent supportive housing developments, and scattered-site permanent supportive housing;  jobs programs; and shelter-based medical, mobile medical, psychiatric, detox, dental and mobile mammography programs.

Mr. Rosenbaum will join a management team led by Chief Operating Officer Jody Rudin, who served as interim President and Chief Executive Officer and advanced numerous strategic initiatives during the year; Stephanie Cowles, Deputy Director for Substance Use Disorder Services; Susan Dan, Deputy Director for Mental Health Services; Steven Jones, Chief Financial Officer; and Allison Grolnick, MD, Chief Medical Officer. Collectively, they have served Project Renewal for 104 years.

Project Renewal Raises $1.5 Million for Homeless Services at Annual Benefit + Auction

Project Renewal raised $1.5 million at its 28th Annual Benefit + Auction on June 7 at Spring Studios.

At the event, Project Renewal honored Eric Enderlin, President of New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), for his accomplished career in public policy and affordable housing for over 20 years, including his current leadership in furthering Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious plan to create or preserve 300,000 units of affordable housing.

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Nearly 600 guests enjoyed cocktails, dinner, and a live auction, while celebrating Project Renewal’s new Bronx supportive and affordable housing development, Bedford Green House. Slated to open in 2019, Bedford Green House will house 300 residents and help them overcome homelessness and poverty to lead healthy, stable, and fulfilled lives. Its unique amenities will include a rooftop aquaponics greenhouse, a living green façade, a community playground and children’s library, an on-site medical clinic for the community, and more.

“This inspiring event was about celebrating innovative solutions to ending homelessness,” said Project Renewal Interim President & CEO Jody Rudin. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of our board members, donors and volunteers. Their support will enable us to help even more of our neighbors renew their lives and reclaim hope.”

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The event’s co-chairs were Marlene Zurack and Eli Shapiro. Many organizations generously sponsored the evening, including Morgan Stanley, Hollister Construction Services, Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel, Architects, DPC, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, The Johnson Company, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, The Brodsky Organization, Capital One, Delaware North Companies, Fisher Brothers, Guardian Life, ICON Interiors, Jonathan Rose Companies, J.T. Magen & Company, Lane Office, Northwell Health, Sera Security Services, SterlingRisk Insurance and White Hare Solutions.




Supporting Seniors Facing Homelessness

In 2016, Project Renewal was selected by the New York City Department of Homeless Services to operate the East Williamsburg Men’s Shelter— Brooklyn’s only shelter dedicated to serving single men age 55 and older.

Our staff helps clients, like Anthony, cope with substance use disorders and mental illness and, ultimately, find jobs and permanent homes. “As soon as I got here, things started opening up for me,” Anthony says, when describing his arrival at East Williamsburg.

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Anthony’s outlook wasn’t always so positive. His life spiraled out of control when his wife of more than 30 years died. “Losing her made me sink into substance abuse,” he recalls. “I wanted to give up.”

Anthony lost his job as a mental hygiene therapist and did time at Rikers for a drug-related offense. Upon his release, he was sent to a homeless shelter that he feels was not responsive to his needs. He worried about relapsing, ending up back in jail, or worse.

Everything changed when he moved to East Williamsburg last year. Our occupational therapist, Patricia—who Anthony describes as “a rock”—helped him build life skills and accountability. Our vocational staff connected him to a Certified Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor certification program.

“I’m loving my classes,” he says. “I want to turn my negative experiences into a positive, by helping others who are going through the same thing.” In June, he will finish his coursework and begin an internship.

“There’s no drama at this shelter. They just want to help you get back on your feet,” Anthony says. “My goal is to get my own apartment, stand on my own, and live life on life’s terms.”

Photography and Project Renewal gave Tedd a second chance

Tedd, 82, has grappled with clinical depression for most of his life.

Back then, they couldn’t spell it, let alone treat it,” he recalls. He managed on his own for years, completing art school and working in the advertising industry. But Tedd’s mental health concerns eventually caught up with him. His 26-year marriage ended, he lost his apartment, and with no one to turn to, he became homeless for 10 months.

Fortunately, he found refuge at Geffner House, Project Renewal’s supportive housing building in Midtown, where he receives medical and case management support. “It’s a small space, but it represents everything I value and need. Like Dr. Who’s telephone booth, there’s an infinite universe behind it,” he says.

The stability of Tedd’s life at Geffner House has allowed him to hone his artistic skills. He has become a prolific—and talented—photographer, and enjoys walking miles through the city to take photos.

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Most of all, Project Renewal has given Tedd hope. “I was in a situation of almost near disaster—homeless, from a winter into a summer and into a new winter, with no way out that I could see,” he remembers. “I finally had some good luck and I grabbed it and held on for dear life, literally. Project Renewal and Geffner House were major players in that desperate time of my life.”

Project Renewal Board Leaders Team Up to Run Half Marathon and Raise Funds for Homeless New Yorkers

NewYork-Presbyterian VP Claudia Rosen and Morgan Stanley Executive Director Geoffrey Proulx will be the first Project Renewal Board leadership duo to run the NYC Half on the organization’s behalf

The two leaders of Project Renewal’s Board of Trustees—Chair Claudia Rosen and Vice Chair Geoffrey Proulx—will run in the New York City Half Marathon on March 18, 2018, to raise funds for the organization. Project Renewal, one of the nation’s largest homeless services nonprofits, has provided health care, housing, and job training and placement services to New Yorkers in need for more than 50 years.

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Rosen is Vice President for Financial Planning at NewYork-Presbyterian, and Proulx is an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley. Collectively, they have served on Project Renewal’s Board of Trustees for nearly two decades and each has served in their leadership role for the past three and a half years.

To support Claudia Rosen, Chair, in her race, click here. To support Geoff Proulx, Vice Chair, in his race, click here. All of the funds they raise will support Project Renewal’s pioneering programs, including emergency, transitional, and permanent housing programs throughout the city; substance use disorder treatment; mobile medical vans; an award-winning culinary arts training program; unique services for seniors and for LGBTQI young adults; and much more.

“Running as an official charity partner of the NYC Half is yet another way to raise awareness of Project Renewal,” says Chair Claudia Rosen. “We hope that running as Trustees also shows the passionate commitment our entire Board has for our homeless neighbors and the amazing staff who serve them, and inspires others to get involved.”

“It has been a privilege to serve over the past eight years as a member of Project Renewal’s volunteer Board, and I look forward to spreading the word about Project Renewal and its incredible programs by running in the NYC half marathon this Sunday,” says Vice Chair Geoffrey Proulx.

Project Renewal Celebrates Renovations and Renaming of Historic Supportive Housing Near Times Square

Project Renewal hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its 307-unit supportive housing building at 351 West 42nd Street in Manhattan, to celebrate a $15 million renovation and the official naming of the building—which was once the historic Holland Hotel—as Geffner House, after former Project Renewal CEO Ed Geffner. The project was funded by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

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“Thanks to Ed Geffner’s extraordinary vision and leadership, Project Renewal turned this run-down building into one of the nation’s first and largest supportive housing sites in the 1990s,” said Project Renewal President and CEO Mitchell Netburn. “Ever since, we have been privileged to provide quality permanent housing and comprehensive support services to formerly homeless and low-income New Yorkers. We are thrilled to unveil this latest renovation project and to honor Ed’s legacy with the renaming. We are also grateful for the support of HPD and Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer.”

The renovation project includes:

  • A new plumbing system

  • New bathrooms, kitchenettes, and floors in the apartment units

  • Renovations to the commercial kitchen where Project Renewal’s social purpose catering company, City Beet Kitchens, operates and is staffed by formerly homeless adults

  • A renovated the lobby with new flooring, a new entryway vestibule, and a new layout to makes the building more welcoming and safer

  • New flooring in the hallways

  • A new railing on the rooftop

  • A custom steel “Geffner House” sign on the front door, designed and fabricated by local artist Linda Cunningham

Geffner, who served as CEO of Project Renewal from 1977 to 2010, also attended the event. In the 1990s, Geffner put together the financing for Project Renewal’s purchase of the Holland Hotel from the city and its initial renovation. In 1996, Project Renewal reopened the building under the name Holland House, as supportive housing for formerly homeless adults—including those with mental illness, substance use disorder, and HIV/AIDS—as well as low-income individuals.

 A custom steel “Geffner House” sign on the front door, designed and fabricated by local artist Linda Cunningham

A custom steel “Geffner House” sign on the front door, designed and fabricated by local artist Linda Cunningham

Prior to that, the building was a so-called “welfare hotel”—a dilapidated single-room occupancy residence for homeless New Yorkers—until it was closed by the city for health and housing violations in 1988. Originally constructed in 1918, the building is now 100 years old.

Today, on-site services provided by Project Renewal to Geffner House tenants include occupational therapy, group and individual counseling, substance use disorder treatment, medical treatment, psychiatric care, crisis intervention, job training and placement, and art classes.

How Mr. Bailey Got Back to Work

Mr. Bailey shows that it is possible to overcome adversity to secure employment, especially through hard work and with the right kind of support.

Born in Guyana, Mr. Bailey immigrated to the United States as a child. He grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn, where he got caught up in crime as a teenager. At 17, he was incarcerated for 9.5 years for robbery. He also lost his leg to a gunshot wound.

After his release from prison, Mr. Bailey  was determined to turn his life around. He got a job at a condo company and enrolled in classes to attain his associate degree in information systems. Juggling work and school became a challenge, so he left his position to focus on completing his degree.

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Upon graduation, he found that employers overlooked or rejected him due his disability and history of incarceration. Unable to secure a job, he became homeless. When he arrived at Project Renewal’s Third Street shelter, “the first thing I said was I wanted to get back into the workforce,” Mr. Bailey recalls. His case manager connected him with our Next Step employment program.

Through Next Step, Mr. Bailey attended workshops, received help with his cover letter and resume, practiced interviewing, and brushed up on his typing skills. Next Step identified employers that would accommodate his disability and look past his history of incarceration.

With support from Next Step staff, Mr. Bailey  secured a position at the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Call Center, where he has worked for the past two months. “It feels wonderful to be able to get up and go to work, and to interact with like-minded individuals and professionals,” he shares. “I see opportunities for growth, and I feel hopeful about my future.”

Project Renewal Names Jody Rudin Chief Operating Officer

Jody Rudin was named Chief Operating Officer of nonprofit Project Renewal. Ms. Rudin will be responsible for the operations of the organization, including overseeing its 16 shelters, transitional, and permanent housing developments and its medical, behavioral health, and employment services. Fifty-year-old Project Renewal is a leading homeless services provider. The organization provides individuals and families with the comprehensive homes, health and jobs services they need to renew their lives and reclaim hope.

Prior to joining Project Renewal, Ms. Rudin served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Damian Family Care Services, a Federally Qualified Health Center with 15 locations, where Ms. Rudin led an unprecedented expansion that resulted in 40 percent growth in a number of health centers. From 2003 to 2016 Ms. Rudin worked at the New York City Department of Homeless Services, first as Director, Entitlements and last as Deputy Commissioner, Adult Services.

“Jody is a great addition to the Project Renewal team. Her experience and expertise will enable us to serve more New Yorkers in more effective and impactful ways,” said Project Renewal President and CEO Mitchell Netburn. “While we are in the midst of an expansion, there are even more New Yorkers who could benefit from our comprehensive services. Jody will help us make sure we can provide the highest quality services to those who need them.”

In the past year, Project Renewal opened two new shelters, including the city’s first shelter for LGBTQI young adults and a shelter for seniors.  Additionally, the organization recently broke ground for its fifth supportive and affordable housing development, which includes 130 units for formerly homeless and low-income New Yorkers and an innovative aquaponics greenhouse. The organization was also selected to run New York City’s first diversion center, which will provide the police with an alternative to sending individuals experiencing mental health and substance use disorder issues to jail. 

"I am thrilled to join Project Renewal. The organization is highly respected and is known for creating innovative and effective programs that push the sector to provide homeless individuals with services and supports that move them to independence. I look forward to working with the Project Renewal team to help the organization achieve its goal of helping individuals renew their lives with health, homes and jobs."

Project Renewal has a long track record of developing innovative and effective programs.  It was the first organization to open a voluntary medical detox program in 1967. Since then, the organization has developed over a dozen other pioneering, award-winning programs that have changed the way homeless individuals are served. 

Federal, State, and City Officials Join Project Renewal to Break Ground on Bronx Supportive and Affordable Housing Development Featuring Rooftop Fish and Produce Garden and Living Green Façade

Bedford Green House will house more than 160 residents and include an aquaponics greenhouse, along with other innovative features

 Renderings of the Bedford Green House rooftop, including the aquaponics greenhouse

Renderings of the Bedford Green House rooftop, including the aquaponics greenhouse

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, and TD Bank today joined Project Renewal at a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on Bedford Green House in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx. The $58.8 million, 118-unit development will provide supportive and affordable housing for more than 160 residents, including families, singles, and seniors.  

The project will feature a number of unique and innovative elements including a rooftop aquaponics greenhouse, a living green façade, a community playground, and custom artwork from the Bronx community. Located at 2865 Creston Avenue, the 13-story, block-and-plank building will meet or exceed LEED Gold standards for energy efficiency and environmentally friendly design.

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“We are thrilled to break ground on Bedford Green House, a development that will provide high-quality affordable and supportive housing for hundreds of individuals and families. Throughout our 50-year history, Project Renewal has provided innovative programs to help New Yorkers in need. We will continue to do that at Bedford Green House with comprehensive services and cutting-edge features like aquaponics to ensure that residents can lead healthy, stable lives,” said Mitchell Netburn, President & CEO Project Renewal.

The rooftop greenhouse will be filled with nutritious produce in an innovative vertical farming system called aquaponics, in which residents will raise delicious, nutritious fish and vegetables in a symbiotic ecosystem. Edible tilapia fish will live in large tanks connected to a bio-filter that breaks down fish waste and carries nutrients to the plant roots; meanwhile the plants will clean the water for the fish. Because the aquaponics growing platforms can be stacked vertically, produce yields per square foot will be many times higher than with traditional soil-based farming.

Project Renewal will use the rooftop space outside the greenhouse for organic farming in planter boxes to grow vegetables that are less suited to aquaponics. Residents will work with Project Renewal’s horticultural therapist to grow their own food in the airy and light-filled greenhouse, year-round, alongside their friends and neighbors. Horticultural therapy in the greenhouse will be especially beneficial to elderly residents who can often be isolated at home, and for residents who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is common during winter months.

The rooftop will also feature a demonstration kitchen with healthy cooking classes for residents and community members, taught by professional chefs from Project Renewal’s Culinary Arts Training Program.

Bedford Green House’s active design was influenced by the theory of biophilia—the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. Scientific studies have supported biophilia, showing that exposure to the natural world reduces stress levels, shortens recovery times for hospital patients, lowers blood pressure, reduces depression, and increases insulin sensitivity among diabetics.  

In light of these findings, Bedford Green House will feature an interior green wall in the lobby and an exterior living green façade at the building frontage, featuring plants and vines cascading from planters. In addition to transforming the visual character of the neighborhood, the vines will reduce the building’s energy usage by absorbing solar radiation during the hot summer months when the vines have leaves. During winter months, the vines will shed their leaves and allow solar radiation to warm the building, bringing in heat and light when it is most needed. The vines will also remove airborne pollutants, which is especially important in the Bronx where children are hospitalized by asthma at a rate that is 21 times higher than more affluent areas of New York City.

Bedford Green House will create an inviting streetscape through landscaping along the sidewalk frontage, seats at the setbacks, and public art that will encourage residents and neighbors to engage with the building. Highlighting the front yard will be a colorful community playground—with two slides, jungle gym, musical instruments, and a water fountain to play in during summer months—that will be accessible to children of families who live in the building, as well as community residents. The rear courtyard and front setbacks will also include extensive landscaping and space for yoga, group exercise, and mindfulness classes.

The project is the first phase of the Project Renewal’s larger plan to create 90 additional affordable homes through the redevelopment of a neighboring site.

Bedford Green House’s development team is led by Mitchell Netburn and Sam Wells at Project Renewal, and by Jonathan Rose and Dale White at The Jonathan Rose Companies. Hollister Construction Services is serving as the general contractor. Architectural design services are provided by Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects, with structural engineering by Robert Silman Associates, MEP engineering by Allen Rosenthal, geotechnical engineering by Mueser Rutledge, landscape design by Billie Cohen, Ltd., waterproofing and façade design by The Façade Group, lighting by Jim Conti, aquaponics by A&A Epiphany, LEED design by Steven Winter Associates, cost estimating by SBI Consultants, environmental consulting by The Hillmann Group, Sam Schwartz Engineering, Genesis Environmental, surveying by Montrose Surveying, title search by Chicago Title Company, and expediting by Design 2147.

Bedford Green House was financed under HDC’s Extremely Low- and Low-Income Affordability (ELLA) program and HPD’s Supportive Housing New Construction program. The total development cost for the project is over $58.8 million. HDC provided more than $28.2 million in tax-exempt volume cap bonds, $1.7 million in recycled tax-exempt bonds, and nearly $7 million in corporate reserves. HPD provided $8.85 million in City subsidy, inclusive of $2 million in HOME funds. HPD also provided an allocation of annual Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), which generated nearly $24 million in tax credit equity. Bank of America served as tax credit investor and provided the construction letter of credit.   NYS OTDA provided $6.22 million under the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP). Additional grant funding was provided TD Bank and Deutsche Bank Foundation.

“Healthy homes lead to healthy residents, a principle that Secretary Carson knows from experience to be true and one that will prove itself for the formerly homeless families and individuals that will call Bedford Green home. Financed in part through $2 million in HUD HOME funds, this extraordinarily designed project will nurture the minds, bodies, and spirits of its clients, helping set them on the path to economic recovery and self-sufficiency,” said Lynne Patton, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. 

“We are proud to be contributing $6.2 million through our Homeless Housing and Assistance Program. Projects like this highlight Governor Cuomo’s ongoing commitment to increase the number of affordable and supportive housing units available in New York City and throughout the state,” said Samuel D. Roberts, Commissioner, Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

“A critical pillar of the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan is creating sustainable, high-quality, affordable housing.  The start of construction of Bedford Green House – a LEED designed supportive housing development that will provide 118 homes and a rooftop garden and vertical farm to foster healthy living – represents a significant milestone towards that commitment. Through HNY 2.0, our accelerated and expanded housing plan, we will continue to build on the policies and programs already set in motion to ensure that neighborhoods like those surrounding Jerome Avenue are anchored by affordability and opportunity for generations to come," said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “I want to thank Project Renewal and our many government and private partners for their creativity and hard work to advance this dynamic project for the community.”

“Bedford Green House will bring 118 low-income and formerly homeless households into safe, high-quality affordable housing, with a built-in network of critical social services and amenities. This project underscores how vital all our government, private, and non-profit resources are to creating new affordable and supportive housing,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “I congratulate Project Renewal and all our partners, including many agencies across federal, state and city government, for their commitments to this project and their dedication to building a more affordable New York.”

"Project Renewal is an exceptional partner committed to solving the homelessness crisis here in New York City. CSH is investing $5.3 million in loans in Bedford Green Phases 1 & 2 because these new affordable, supportive housing units will go a long way toward providing real homes to New Yorkers who have struggled through homelessness on our streets," said Jennifer Trepinski, Director of Loan Originations, CSH.

“In addition to delivering much needed affordable and supportive housing options to the residents of the Bronx, Bedford Green House brings innovative, sustainable design elements that will advance healthy living in the Bedford Park neighborhood. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is excited to have provided over $54MM of debt and equity investments to support Project Renewal’s vision for transforming lives in the communities that it serves,” said Todd A. Gomez, Market Executive - North Region, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

"We take our commitment to our communities seriously, and the Housing for Everyone campaign enables us to enhance our economic support for the neighborhoods we serve. We are honored to partner with organizations that are providing individuals with a chance to live in their own home and build a future," said Mike Rayder, Donation and Foundation Manager, TD Charitable Foundation. 

“Deutsche Bank is proud to support Project Renewal in the development of the Bedford Green House. This will provide critically needed affordable and supportive homes to hundreds of residents, many of whom have experienced homelessness, as well as facilities shared with the local community. Bedford Green House will be a true asset to the neighborhood and city,” said John Kimble, Vice President / Philanthropic Initiatives, Deutsche Bank.

“Architecture at its most fundamental is an expression of societies’ aspirations. In that context Bedford Green House is a statement that we take care of the people of our community who are disadvantaged. These individuals are deserving of an exceptional building that has the capacity to make their lives better, through the choice of layout, materials, amenities, and greenhouse for teaching healthy living. And we extend that aspiration into the community, making a building with a neighborhood play area, a 24-hour doorman watching the street, green infrastructure that will help clean the air and brighten lives, and by leaving exposed the bedrock of the site, which is the history of the Bronx. In this way the building contributes to the neighborhood, making it greener, healthier, and more connected. Bedford Green House is an embodiment of the best that New York City, New York State and the Bronx has to offer its community,” said Andrew B. Knox, Partner, Edelman Sultan Knox Wood / Architects LLP.

“Hollister is very proud to be part of this team bringing to life such a unique building in the Bronx. Knowing that this facility will change the lives of many people makes the project even more special. Since our inception, we’ve made a constant effort to involve ourselves with projects that benefit and transform communities and Bedford Green House is a great example. We are all looking forward to seeing many happy faces when the facility makes its grand opening,” said Christopher Johnson, CEO, Hollister.  

 

The ScanVan Saves Lives: Janet's Story

Janet started coming to the ScanVan in 1997 because she didn’t have insurance to cover her mammogram. Our professional, compassionate service has kept her coming back ever since.

Originally from St. Lucia, she has lived in New York City for 37 years, managing homes until she retired a few years ago.

 The ScanVan nurses and staff provide knowledgeable and compassionate care

The ScanVan nurses and staff provide knowledgeable and compassionate care

Even when Janet became eligible for Medicare, she continued to get mammograms at the ScanVan because the staff “are very knowledgeable. They are very careful to explain everything and make me comfortable,” says Janet.

“The nurses assured me they would call immediately if anything happened,” she says. After her most recent appointment, Janet did receive a call —a small abnormal growth was found on her left breast.

Fortunately, her cancer has been detected early. The staff quickly set up appointments on her behalf with a highly-recommended doctor who takes her Medicare plan.

Every year, the ScanVan serves more than 4,600 women at 240 sites citywide, including immigrant communities and homeless shelters with unique healthcare barriers. Hundreds of early cancers, like Janet’s, have been detected at the ScanVan —and hundreds of lives have been saved.

Despite her diagnosis, Janet is optimistic about the future. “Although I am apprehensive about the results, because of the care and support I receive at the ScanVan, I am confident that everything will work out.”

Mural at Marsha's House reflects diversity and inclusivity

Project Renewal unveiled a new mural in the courtyard of Marsha's House, our shelter serving LGBTQ young adults ages 18 to 30. The project was spearheaded by Council Member Ritchie Torres, who advocated for the shelter to open in his district. A resident of the shelter designed the mural, which was hand painted with help from Groundswell, a group of artists and activists.

 The new mural at marsha's house

The new mural at marsha's house

The artwork shows Marsha P. Johnson, the late LGBTQ activist for whom the shelter is named, embracing the residents below. Diverse residents are shown interacting with and supporting one another, representing the inclusivity of the space. The crumbling buildings below depict the challenges that can come with instability in New York City, but the residents are striving to reach stable ground. 

Learn more about life at Marsha's House in this excerpt from our latest newsletter:

Kristian is a 25-year-old trans man who became homeless during his transition. Kristian found safety and security at Marsha’s House, the City’s first shelter for LGBTQ young adults. “Being surrounded by like-minded people has been really helpful. The staff at Marsha’s House are allies and are respectful of pronouns,” Kristian says. Kristian has been using the support services at Marsha’s House to secure personal identification that reflects his gender identity and to look for a second job to supplement his part-time work. “If I weren’t at Marsha’s House, I would be struggling a whole lot more,” he reflects. “I feel stable and I have faith in the future.”

 Kristian is featured in our latest print newsletter, available  here .

Kristian is featured in our latest print newsletter, available here.

Hope for LGBTQ Young Adults

LGBTQ young adults who are homeless in New York City have never had housing resources tailored to their needs. But that changed in February, when we proudly opened Marsha’s House, the City’s first shelter to fill this gap and serve LGBTQ individuals ages 18 to 30.

Named for local LGBTQ activist Marsha P. Johnson who died in 1992, Marsha’s House has 81 beds and a wide array of programs to help clients overcome the unique vulnerabilities and discrimination that homeless LGBTQ individuals face. Services include referrals to education and employment programs, group counseling, and healthcare including HIV and transgender care.

 Residents of Marsha’s House have access to support services tailored to their needs.

Residents of Marsha’s House have access to support services tailored to their needs.

Our staff is committed to ensuring that each person who comes through our shelter, regardless of their sexual identity or gender, has the full opportunity to renew their life and reclaim hope for the future. If you are interested in getting involved, contact us at volunteer@projectrenewal.org.

Marsha's House is being embraced in the Bronx, and Council Member Ritchie Torres partnered with Project Renewal and the Department of Homeless Services to bring the shelter to his district. “It is well-documented that LGBT homeless youth face extraordinary challenges without many resources available at their disposable," says Torres.  "I’m proud to have partnered with Project Renewal and the City’s Department of Homeless Services to open the City’s first LGBT youth shelter, Marsha’s House, in my district in the Central Bronx. This shelter addresses the need for a safe space for homeless LGBTQ young adults in New York City, a group that experiences homelessness at much higher rates than their straight peers. This shelter can mean the difference between life and death for homeless LGBTQ young adults, who frequently face discrimination and violence. I am grateful that Project Renewal is running Marsha’s House and providing targeted support services for this vulnerable population.”

The Next Step for Michael: Giving Back

Michael has a full-time job, a home, and he looks forward to the future—but that wasn’t always the case.

When he was younger, drug addiction led the Bronx native to homelessness and incarceration. Seven years into his 10-year prison term, optimism gradually overcame his hopelessness. “I started taking it one day at a time, kept myself busy, and got my associate degree.”

After his release in 2016, struggling to find permanent employment, he attended a workforce development workshop. There he learned about Project Renewal’s Next Step Internship Program (NSIP), which provides on-the-job training for unemployed adults interested in homeless services work. The opportunity for a career helping others resonated with him.

 Michael found hope through Project Renewal's Next Step Internship Program

Michael found hope through Project Renewal's Next Step Internship Program

Through NSIP, Michael received intensive vocational and life skills training, plus a six-week paid internship at a Project Renewal shelter. “I learned so much in the program and got certifications like Mental Health First Aid, Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, and the F80 Fire Guard Certification,” he says. “I also learned that what you give, you get back.”

Today, he is a Residential Aide at our new Bronx shelter for LGBTQ young adults, the first of its kind in the City. “I make sure our clients get the support they need,” he says proudly. “I tell them their situation is only temporary. Believe me, I know.” In a few years, Michael wants to be an assistant shelter director at Project Renewal—his future is indeed looking bright.

50 Years of Project Renewal: A Conversation with Betty Kiernan

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Project Renewal, we are speaking with clients and staff who have been part of the history of the organization. Read on for our conversation with Betty Kiernan, a founding member of Project Renewal and a staff nurse for nearly 45 years, shares her memories from her time at the organization.

How did Project Renewal get started?

We opened our doors to the detoxification clinic in November of 1967. We would admit men on the Bowery for a five-day medical detox. At that time, it was a full-fledged 24-hour medical unit, with doctors, nurses and social workers.

 Men who were living on the Bowery received medical detox treatment at Project Renewal, starting in 1967

Men who were living on the Bowery received medical detox treatment at Project Renewal, starting in 1967

Where did it go from there?

We discovered those who participated in medical detox still needed support after getting sober. Our psychiatrist diagnosed one-third of patients with schizophrenia, so the men who we were working with were very vulnerable. Eventually, we opened an outpatient clinic and provided skill-building workshops. After clients got sober, we would help them get a job.

How did Project Renewal change during your time there?

In 1967, alcoholism had only recently been recognized as a disease, and there was a joint effort across the city to manage public intoxication in a more humane way, rather than with jail time. The programs we offered were voluntary and truly innovative, and we gradually expanded into a big agency. We started doing street outreach, managing shelters, working with women, and more. What has always made Project Renewal special is that we reach so many people who have nowhere else to get help. Project Renewal has adapted to the changing needs of the homeless across the city, and it is a million miles from where we started. The impact that Project Renewal has on the lives of so many New Yorkers is such a tribute to the dedicated people who have been involved over the past 50 years.

Project Renewal Celebrates 50th Anniversary and Raises Over $1.5 Million for Homeless Services at Annual Gala Benefit & Auction

Project Renewal raised over $1.5 million at our 27th Annual Gala Benefit and Auction held June 8 at Spring Studios. The event was a celebration of the 50 years of empowering homeless New Yorkers to renew their lives through comprehensive medical, housing and job programs

 Board Member Alan Belzer with honoree Deanna Mulligan

Board Member Alan Belzer with honoree Deanna Mulligan

More than 600 guests—a record for Project Renewal galas—celebrated the 50th anniversary of the organization, which started as the city’s first medical detox clinic on the Bowery in 1967, and has since expanded to serve over 16,000 men, women, and children annually with a wide range of innovative programs. The evening included cocktails, dinner and a live auction. 

“We are delighted to celebrate Project Renewal’s pioneering role in helping homeless New Yorkers renew their lives and reclaim hope over the last 50 years,” said Project Renewal President and CEO Mitchell Netburn. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of our board members, donors and volunteers. Their support will enable us to expand our work to break the cycle of homelessness for the 16,000 men, women and children we help each year.”

At the event, Project Renewal also honored Deanna Mulligan, President and CEO of Guardian and former member of Project Renewal’s Board of Trustees, who has demonstrated her dedication to ending homelessness in New York City through her generous support of the organization.

“The scope of Project Renewal's programs is unparalleled in New York City, helping hundreds of thousands find housing, healthcare and jobs over the past 50 years,” stated Ms. Mulligan. "I'm honored to be part of the Project Renewal community."

Ms. Mulligan was instrumental in developing a strategic plan for Project Renewal in 1996 that led to the creation of two of the organization’s signature programs: Renewal Farm, a residential addiction treatment program in Garrison, New York; and City Beet Kitchens, a social-purpose catering company that employs formerly homeless, unemployed, and at-risk men and women.

During the gala’s seated program, guests viewed a new film that illustrates the impact Project Renewal has had on the lives of homeless New Yorkers over the last five decades, featuring the stories of three of the organization’s former clients. The film is now available here on Project Renewal’s YouTube channel.

 President and CEO Mitchell Netburn with Board chair Claudia Rosen

President and CEO Mitchell Netburn with Board chair Claudia Rosen

The gala’s co-chairs were Thomas and Megan Brodsky. Many organizations generously sponsored the evening, including The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, Morgan Stanley, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, The Johnson Company, BlackRock, Inc., The Brodsky Organization, Capital One Bank, Fisher Brothers, Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel, Architects, Goldberg Lindsay & Co. LLC, Icon Interiors, Lane Office, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, Pershing Square Capital Management, LP, Quality Protection Services and SterlingRisk Insurance.

 

50 Years of Project Renewal: A Conversation with Tedd Leibovitz

Tedd Leibovitz has long struggled with clinical depression, and as a result, he became homeless for a time. Fortunately, Tedd has found safety and security at Project Renewal, as well as a space to display his art photography. Learn more about Tedd’s story in his own words.

 Photography by tedd leibovitz

Photography by tedd leibovitz

What problems and struggles were you facing before you came to Project Renewal?

Well, we can start with clinical depression. Undiagnosed and untreated. I was born in 1935. Back then, they couldn't spell it, let alone treat it. The short story is that after 26 years of marriage, it led to divorce, break of my family, loss of friends (sides were taken). I was unable to function and running out of money (economic hard times), which eventually led to eviction from my co-op apartment, and with no safety net left, I went straight into homelessness. 

This lasted approximately 10 months of 1995 into 1996. Eventually, I was found by a social worker, and on Thanksgiving Day, too! He recognized a real case of need in me. He took me to his place of employment on Webster Avenue in the Bronx, a half-way and three-quarter house, until they could put me back together, at least health and food-wise.

After some time there, they hooked me up with Jewish Family Services, where I was able to get the credentials to apply and get into Project Renewal’s Geffner House (then Holland House). These credentials (poverty, homelessness, near suicide), were like what you would need for the Harvard or Yale Club, just 180 degrees the other way.

What kind of support did Project Renewal provide for you? How are they helping you now?

Well, of course, they provided housing. They call it a “Single Room Occupancy.” I call it an apartment. There is definitely a difference for me. One is a dingy room with a 25-watt bulb, broken furniture and cockroaches. The other is a 'warm and welcoming' place of refuge and safety. I've known both and I'll take the latter, which is what I have found at Project Renewal.

The physical space is small, but like Dr. Who's British telephone booth, there’s an infinite universe behind it. I chose Geffner House because they have a social worker and medical backup, which are very important when you have no other safety net. Of course, there are rules and regulations to be followed, some people never get used to it, but still way above the 'great outdoors!'. It's an old building and has just undergone a complete renovation. It's pretty much all done, and it's nice, with new and up-to-date everything. The building is as old as I am and, I think, we're both in pretty good shape.

 Tedd Leibovitz

Tedd Leibovitz

I have a small space, but it represents everything I value and need. A/C in summer, new double glazed windows, new bathroom with modern fixtures. As for me, I have an excellent stereo to play the music I need and love, a complete desk top publishing empire for my art photography, and a nice selection of cameras and lenses to go along with it. Although I am on a very limited income, I'm able to parse it out pretty nicely (being a Depression baby does help).

How would you describe your experience with Project Renewal?

The 'worst of times' has now turned into, perhaps, the 'best of times,’ to paraphrase Charles Dickens. I was in a situation of almost near disaster - homeless, from a winter into a summer and into a new winter, with no way out that I could see. When Shakespeare said, the world is a stage and we're all actors in a great play, I don't know if he meant my situation. Actors get to read scripts and eat a good dinner afterwards, and sleep under covers. I didn't have those choices, so my life was much grimmer and perhaps fatal. I would question myself, what would be the final outcome of this disaster that was my life. I had no answer. I finally had some good luck and I grabbed it and held on for dear life, literally. 

Project Renewal and Geffner House were a major player in that desperate time of my life. Because if the social worker had not come upon me and realized I was a real case of despair and near extinction, well, you wouldn't be reading this right now. Maybe somebody else's story. My story still has a ways to go, hopefully, mostly for the good. 

What is your life like now?

In a strange way, I seem to have walked into a life that I always sort of dreamed of (maybe all of us!). I do what I want, when I want and how I want. No obligations, no duties, no outside demands.

I can sleep well and eat pretty much what I want and am in very good health. As a person who has lived most of my aware life with the glass half empty, completely empty or just broken, this is a whole new take for me. Kind of awesome in a way. Live it just pretty much a day at a time. Tomorrow, tomorrow is just 24 hours away! I think I'll just leave it at that.

Can you describe your art and photography? What does your art mean to you and how has it changed your life?

I have been into art all my life. From the time my mother took to drawing lessons in the Cleveland museum of art as a small child. Art has always been a solace and a defense against an often unfriendly world.

The digital camera has become my medium and means of aesthetic expression. It is a wonderful and super toy for the little boy side of me. It takes me out on long walks to seek out new photos to be used on my computer to turn into aesthetic pictures. Then I work on the craft of digital printing; a whole study in itself. These pictures go up wherever I have free wall space. They are even on my floor. This tends to make me all open and friendly and I talk to all kinds of people very easily.

This is an almost complete change in my personality from the earlier and greater part of my life, where I could and would use my tongue like a whip if someone irritated me, and it didn't take much to do that. This whole process, from talk therapy, to having anti-depressive and mood stabilizing drugs, to taking leave of most stressful relationships and becoming my own man, perhaps for the first time in my life, has really done wonders for me, inside and out. I would just like it to continue as long as it can. Better late than never. Best of luck in your lives to all of you, Tedd Leibovitz.

50 Years of Project Renewal: A Conversation with Marc Moses

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Project Renewal, we are speaking with clients and staff who have been part of the history of the organization. Read on for our conversation with artist and former client, Marc Moses, who found hope at Project Renewal after his struggle with addiction.

 What problems were you facing before you came to Project Renewal?

 I had been evicted from my apartment, which was a direct result of my addiction to crack cocaine over the previous seven or eight years. I was initially sent to a shelter in Brooklyn. While I was there, I got help for my drug problem. I had managed to stay away from cocaine for two months prior, and I think the guy helping me could see I was quite serious about getting clean. He told me there was a space in a shelter on the Lower East Side, but it was hard to get in, so I'd better get there quickly. I didn't hesitate in the least. That’s how I ended up at Project Renewal’s Third Street Men’s Shelter in the late winter of 2003.

What type of support did you receive from Project Renewal?

The case managers supported me right away and were very hands-on, helping me acclimate to the shelter and access mental health care resources. I was able to get help for my depression. They really show a sincere concern for their clients. After about a year at the Third Street Shelter, they set me up with an apartment at In Homes Now.

The art resources at the Third Street had a lot to do with changing my feelings about myself and the future. It took me a little while before I began to explore the art room, both because I was deeply depressed but also because I had always been intimidated by the idea of working with color. I had always been reluctant to move beyond the simple binary world of black and white. Gradually, however, I began to challenge my inhibition and was surprised to discover that I had an entirely unexpected ability for using color and a talent mixing paints to match specific hues.

 By Marc Moses

By Marc Moses

How has support from Project Renewal changed your life?

Exploration in the art room and encouragement from the Project Renewal staff helped me to see that I could be successful. The case workers and mental health services gave me a different perspective on how things could be, and Project Renewal sent me on the path that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. In terms of my art, I was very lucky that I was able to get into shows, and I had number of pieces sell through the Project Renewal Gala, so they continued to support me in that way.

Next Generation of Project Renewal Supporters

When sisters Jasmine, 9, and Angelina, 11, noticed a homeless shelter in their neighborhood, they were moved to tears—and to take action. They held a holiday bake sale, raising $675 for Project Renewal.

“We looked it up, and learned there are thousands of homeless people and children in New York,” says Angelina. In response, the sisters held the bake sale in Bay Ridge to support Project Renewal. The sisters say they are proud of the money they raised to support the homeless in New York City, but no one is more proud than their mother, Jenn. “As a parent, it taught me a lesson,” says Jenn. “It taught me to pay more attention to the issue of homelessness, and to think about how we can all help.”

 Jasmine and Angelina deliver their check to Deputy Director, Stephanie Cowles

Jasmine and Angelina deliver their check to Deputy Director, Stephanie Cowles

Second graders from P.S. 59 in Manhattan also contributed to Project Renewal, creating ‘Renewal Kits’ with their classmates. The kits contained personal care items and snacks, as well as heartfelt cards, which lifted the spirits of mobile medical van clients over the holidays.

The generosity of these young supporters is truly inspiring to Project Renewal staff and clients. Keep up the good work!