Project Renewal raises $200,000 to support immigrants and other New Yorkers facing homelessness

Our supporters and Board of Trustees stepped up to make our 2018 end-of-year campaign a success—we have reached our goal of raising $200,000 for immigrants this holiday season! The funds raised will enable us to continue providing immigrants and other New Yorkers facing homelessness with comprehensive and innovative health care, housing, and employment services.

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Immigrants are a vital part of New York City’s culture and economy. Yet due to factors like language barriers, stigma, and fear of accessing services, foreign-born New Yorkers can face healthcare, housing, and employment challenges.

For example, two-thirds of healthcare providers report a reluctance among immigrant patients to seek medical care due to fear of deportation and stigma. Nearly one third of immigrant workers earn less than $25,000 a year, and immigrants are three times more likely to live in overcrowded conditions than native-born New Yorkers.

The funding, which includes a $30,000 match from our generous Board of Trustees, will help Project Renewal address these obstacles and change lives. The success of the campaign shows that New York values diversity and inclusivity.



Project Renewal's Executive Team and Board of Trustees bake cookies to show appreciation during the holidays

The Project Renewal Executive Team and Board of Trustees came together and baked cookies for delivery to staff at every Project Renewal location, under the supervision of our talented chefs at City Beet Kitchens.

In all, the team baked 55 packages of cookies in assorted flavors, one for each shift at every Project Renewal site. They also wrote holiday cards, sending well-wishes for the season.

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These baked treats are a small gesture of gratitude for our staff’s dedication. Our 900 staff members work tirelessly to provide the best healthcare, housing, and employment services for New Yorkers facing homelessness.

Project Renewal to operate one of City’s first health diversion centers

Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that Project Renewal will operate one of the City’s first diversion centers. Project Renewal is honored to use this new model of care to intervene with individuals who are in crisis through intensive engagement and support services. We look forward to helping guests at the diversion center achieve stability and get on the path to renewal.

The City announced the diversion center locations via the following press release:

De Blasio Administration Announces Locations of Two Planned City Health Diversion Centers

Centers will provide police officers with alternatives to arrests and hospitalization for people with mental health needs who do not pose a risk to public safety

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray today announced two vendors have signed leases to open the City’s first two drop-off diversion centers, a significant first step towards opening the centers. Health diversion centers will offer short-term, stabilizing services for individuals with mental health and substance use needs, giving police officers a much-needed alternative to arrest or hospitalization.

The centers will be operated by Samaritan Daytop Village, at 3000 White Plains Road in the Bronx, and Project Renewal, at 179 East 116th Street in East Harlem. Each center will serve up to 25 people at a time; the City expects diversion centers to be open by late 2019.

[...]

“Project Renewal is honored to operate one of the City’s first diversion centers and use this new model of care to intervene with individuals who are in crisis through intensive engagement and support services,” said Eric Rosenbaum, President & CEO of Project Renewal. “For 52 years, Project Renewal has been an innovator in developing services to help New Yorkers overcome homelessness, mental health challenges, and substance use disorders. We are eager to use our vast expertise to help guests at the diversion center achieve stability and get on the path to renewal. We look forward to working with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the New York City Police Department, and our community partners in East Harlem on this innovative program.”

You can read the full press release here.

Project Renewal launches campaign to help immigrant New Yorkers this holiday season

This holiday season, Project Renewal has launched a fundraising campaign to support immigrant New Yorkers through our health care, housing, and employment programs.

The metaphor of the New York City melting pot resonates for a reason—immigrants are a vital part of our city’s culture and economy, making up nearly 40% of the population. Yet due to factors like language barriers, stigma, and fear of accessing services, foreign-born New Yorkers are vulnerable to health, housing, and employment challenges. Harmful policies and toxic rhetoric are only compounding these issues.

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This year, two-thirds of health care providers reported a reluctance among immigrant patients to seek medical care due to fear of deportation and stigma. Immigrants with mental health concerns are also far less likely to get treatment than people born in the U.S.

Housing can also be an issue for immigrants. Foreign-born New Yorkers are three times more likely to live in overcrowded conditions than native-born New Yorkers. Crowded conditions correlate with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and respiratory problems.

And despite driving key areas of the New York City economy, nearly one third of immigrant workers earn less than $25,000 a year.

Project Renewal provides hope to immigrants through all of our innovative programs. We will be sharing a few of their inspiring stories throughout the campaign, and your support will ensure we can continue delivering life-changing services to vulnerable New Yorkers like them.

Our generous Board of Trustees is matching the first $25,000 raised between now and #GivingTuesday on November 27, 2018.

Celebrate our city’s diversity and inclusivity by supporting immigrant New Yorkers.

Learn more and donate to the campaign here.

Luis’ Road to Recovery

Luis’ family immigrated from Mexico City to America in search of economic prosperity.

In 1978, they moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn—a very different neighborhood than it is today. “It was a rough part of town back then,” Luis remembers. “There was a lot of racism and we spoke Spanish, so I was a target and was involved in a lot of fights.”

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Struggling to fit in, Luis started drinking as a teenager and dropped out of school. He got married, had a daughter, and worked a variety of jobs. But throughout his adult life, alcohol addiction continued to limit his success and even led to two arrests.

He tried several rehab programs, but he never thought he would find one that could help him establish long-term sobriety—until he came to Project Renewal’s Recovery Center, an outpatient clinic for people struggling with substance use disorder.

“Project Renewal’s program is really working,” says Luis, who has been in the Recovery Center for four months. “They get to know you and they really care.”

Our staff has diagnosed Luis with anxiety and depression and is providing him with medication and counselling, in both one-on-one and group settings.

Now, he’s optimistic for the future. “I want to get my GED and become a real estate agent,” he says. “I can focus on those goals, now that I’m taking care of my health.”

Immigrants with mental health and substance use issues are far less likely to get treatment than people born in the U.S. who have the same issues. Unfortunately, due to hateful rhetoric and harmful policy proposals, immigrants are increasingly afraid of accessing services. To support the Recovery Center and other Project Renewal programs that help vulnerable immigrants, click HERE.

Abraham Saved from the Brink of Homelessness

Abraham fled Ethiopia, escaping from a government that imprisoned his fellow students. Granted political asylum in America, and thankful for his newfound freedoms, he forged a career with a refugee relief organization.

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“America is a great country,” says Abraham, who lived in New Jersey for one year before moving to Queens.

Later in life, Abraham developed a chronic illness and dementia. With no family to turn to for help, he was on the brink of homelessness. But Project Renewal was there for him.

Abraham has lived stably in Project Renewal’s Geffner House supportive housing development in Midtown Manhattan for six years. Our dedicated staff ensures he takes his medication, goes to appointments with doctors, and stays engaged with the Geffner House community through social activities. They also help him with financial management to ensure his rent is paid and he has spending money each month.

“I almost died, but the staff here at Geffner House helped me get my health back,” Abraham recalls. “Project Renewal takes care of me like family.”

Two-thirds of health care providers report a reluctance among immigrant patients to seek medical care due to fear of deportation and stigma. Unfortunately, due to hateful rhetoric and harmful policy proposals, immigrants are increasingly afraid of accessing services. That’s why it’s crucial that immigrants with mental health needs have access to supportive housing, like Geffner House. To support Geffner House and other Project Renewal programs that help vulnerable immigrants, click HERE.

Jhojans’ Culinary Career Path

Jhojans immigrated with his family from Colombia. “We came to America for a better future,” he says.

His family assimilated into their new community, volunteering at their church and local soup kitchen. But they struggled too. Jhojans’ pursuit of the American dream was derailed by a substance use disorder and mental illness.

After an ankle injury, Jhojans became addicted to pain medication and started using heroin. His marriage fell apart and he was unable to maintain a job. He tried rehab many times, but his recoveries were short-lived.

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Jhojans finally found lasting sobriety in a therapeutic community in Brooklyn, but to truly get his life back on track, he knew he needed a career path. That’s when he came to Project Renewal’s Culinary Arts Training Program (CATP).

Today, Jhojans is thriving in CATP, which prepares unemployed, homeless, and at-risk New Yorkers for careers in the culinary industry. Through classroom training, internships, and employment services, the program places 80% of graduates in jobs—nearly twice the national average for similar programs.

With newfound confidence and progress toward a career, Jhojans obtained his GED and has been sober for a full year for the first time in decades. He will soon begin his CATP internship at the dining facility of a New York City law firm.

“I love making people smile with my food. It gives me so much joy,” says Jhojans.

Nearly a third of immigrant worker earn less than $25,000 a year, which is why it’s crucial that immigrants have access to programs like CATP, whose graduates earn a starting wage of $13.50 per hour. Unfortunately, due to hateful rhetoric and harmful policy proposals, immigrants are increasingly afraid of accessing services. To support CATP and other Project Renewal programs that help vulnerable immigrants, click HERE.

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 selected as part of team to transform Greenpoint Hospital campus into housing

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) selected Project Renewal as part of a team that will transform the historic Greenpoint Hospital, which has been closed since 1982, into a mixed-use development. Our new Greenpoint Men’s Shelter will be part of the larger, holistic redevelopment of the historic Greenpoint Hospital campus that will also feature more than 500 homes for seniors and low-income New Yorkers. The shelter will provide 200 men with vocational training and job placements, and other targeted services to help them get back on their feet and into permanent homes.

HPD announced the development via the following press release:

CITY SELECTS TEAM TO TRANSFORM HISTORIC GREENPOINT HOSPITAL INTO AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Shuttered since 1982, the revamped Greenpoint Hospital campus will include over 500 new homes for seniors, extremely low, and low income New Yorkers and a shelter

NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer announces the City has selected a team to lead the transformation of the historic Greenpoint Hospital site into a new mixed-use development that will feature approximately 512 units of affordable housing and a new building for an existing shelter to serve 200 New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. St. Nicks Alliance, a prominent local community development corporation, and The Hudson Companies Incorporated will lead the development of this project in partnership with Project Renewal, a nonprofit organization that works with homeless New Yorkers.

The development team successfully responded to the Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) that was created through HPD’s community visioning workshop series in 2015. The RFEI sought proposals for the design, construction, and management of a high quality, sustainable, mixed-use, mixed-income project for the approximately 3.4-acre site in the Greenpoint-Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

[…]

Located at 288 Jackson Street in Brooklyn, the 146,100 square foot development site will include two newly constructed multifamily buildings with over 400 homes affordable to extremely-low, very-low and low-income households with approximately 21,500 square feet of community space that will provide a café, workforce development center, and community center for residents and the surrounding community. The development team will also be converting two historic buildings on the site, one into over 100 affordable homes for seniors, and the other will house two more efficiently designed shelter programs that will more effectively meet homeless New Yorkers’ unique needs, in line with the Mayor’s Turning the Tide plan to transform the City’s emergency shelter system that was built up in a haphazard way over decades.

The holistic redevelopment plan includes a network of new open spaces that will connect the Greenpoint Hospital campus with the neighborhood. Magnusson Architecture and Planning and Architecture Outfit are leading the design of the redeveloped campus. This redevelopment represents a collaborative effort between HPD and the Department of Social Services to improve the community holistically, by expanding mixed-use opportunities for a range of New Yorkers. To that end, in all three residential buildings, 30 percent of the units will be set aside for homeless New Yorkers exiting shelter and getting back on their feet, totaling more than 150 homes that will help formerly homeless New Yorkers stabilize their lives at the Greenpoint Hospital site.

The project will be completed in two phases. The portion of the campus south of Skillman Avenue will be completed first, and includes the relocation of the existing 200-bed shelter into an existing building that will be rehabilitated and a new construction multifamily building with approximately 267 units on the vacant land. The second phase includes the adaptive reuse of the main hospital building into approximately 109 units of senior housing and the new construction of a multifamily building with about 136 units in place of the demolished hospital boiler building.

The Greenpoint Hospital campus’ original six buildings were opened in 1915 to serve potential accident victims from nearby factories and warehouses. The campus was expanded in the 1930s though President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, adding two buildings to the site. All eight of the site’s buildings were constructed in the Renaissance Revival style. While the hospital was officially shuttered in 1982, one building was converted into the Barbara S. Kleinman Residence which now serves New Yorkers experiencing homelessness as they get back on their feet. . Four auxiliary buildings were redeveloped as affordable housing in the 1990s and a fifth building was converted into the Greenpoint Renaissance Center in the 2000s.

[…]

“Project Renewal is thrilled to partner with Hudson Companies and St. Nicks Alliance on the innovative Greenpoint Hospital campus, a development that will bring much-needed housing stability and healthy living to families and seniors, as well as shelter and support services to homeless men,” said Jody Rudin, Interim President & CEO, Project Renewal. “Project Renewal has been helping New Yorkers renew their lives for more than 50 years. The homeless shelter at Cooper Park Commons will be our second shelter in Brooklyn and our eighth citywide. As we develop this shelter, we look forward to compassionately providing our new clients with the targeted services they need to break the cycle of homelessness.”

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.

Bedford Green House -- Rendering of 2865 Creston Avenue.jpg

“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.”