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Press Release

NYCEDC And Covenant House Issue Joint RFP to Build State-of-the-Art Facility For Homeless Teens And Create Affordable Housing

Jan 27 2016

New Complex Will Help End Waitlists for At-Risk Youth and Provide Life-Changing Services and

Programming While Also Creating Hundreds of New Units of Affordable Housing in New York City

NEW YORK, NY—New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Covenant House, in coordination with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, today issued a joint Request for Proposal (RFP) for the development of a new complex to include a state-of-the-art headquarters for Covenant House and a mixed-use residential development that is expected to contain hundreds of new units of affordable housing. The complex will be located within the new Hudson Yards District on Manhattan’s Far West Side on a site that now houses the current Covenant House building and a building formerly home to Hunter College’s MFA program.

In addition to a new facility for Covenant House, the project calls for the construction of a mixed-use residential development that could include up to 700 units of new housing, many of which will be affordable. Between 75 and 100 of those affordable units would be supportive housing available to disabled, homeless and low income New Yorkers through the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) Supportive Housing Loan Program

“We are committed to advancing Mayor de Blasio’s goals of addressing homelessness and growing our city’s supply of affordable housing,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “This collaboration will help Covenant House provide even better services for homeless young people, while at the same time providing affordable homes for hundreds of New Yorkers. We’re grateful to Covenant House, Council Member Johnson, Borough President Brewer, Community Board 4, and HPD for helping make this important project a reality.”

“This will be a tremendous boost to Covenant House in our unwavering commitment to end the waiting lists and ensure a warm, safe and loving place for each and every young person with nowhere else to go,” said Creighton Drury, Executive Director of Covenant House New York. “Beyond that, a purpose-built facility will allow us to significantly strengthen the critical services and resources we already offer like transitional living programs, comprehensive health services and an impressive array of life-changing employment, education and life skills programs.”

“In 27 cities across six countries, our houses are filled to capacity every night,” said Covenant House President Kevin Ryan. “Nowhere is the problem more acute than New York City. Homeless young people can’t wait for tomorrow for the help they need today. This new facility will literally help us save more lives.”

“This is a profoundly important and exciting development for the West Side,” said New York City Council Member Corey Johnson. “This is a true 'win-win-win,' creating supportive housing for New Yorkers in need, hundreds of units of affordable housing and a new headquarters and cutting-edge facility for a premier organization serving runaway and homeless youth. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, NYCEDC, Borough President Gale Brewer, Community Board 4 and Covenant House for coming together to create a truly momentous plan. Together, we will address the supportive and affordable housing needs of my district and New York City at large.”

"With this full-block development project, we have a real opportunity to bring more affordable housing to the West Side while improving our existing supportive housing," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "All parties deserve praise for striving to deliver needed resources for the Clinton community while preserving neighborhood character. We look forward to reviewing the responses and charting a path forward that aligns with these objectives."

"Housing New York is committed to fostering thriving, economically diverse neighborhoods anchored by affordable housing," said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. "I am pleased that this Request for Proposal places affordable and supportive housing at the center of a new mixed-use, mixed-income development that will serve low-income New Yorkers, including homeless households and those with special needs, and offer needed services for the community. I want to thank EDC and Covenant House for their partnership in shaping a creative vision for this site.”

"Manhattan Community Board 4 (MCB4), a longtime supporter of Covenant House's mission, is pleased the organization will continue to call Hell's Kitchen its home," said Delores Rubin, Manhattan Community Board 4 Chair. "We fully support Covenant House's aim to build a new, state-of-the-art facility which will provide for the relocation of its national headquarters and ensure high quality, comprehensive programs for the young people it serves. The Community Board has goals of providing affordable housing on the development site, preserving the former West 40th Street Carnegie Library building for use as a community facility, and designing buildings which foster and preserve residential and neighborhood character."

In order to provide consistent service for the approximately 320 young people who call Covenant House home every night, the new 150,000 square-foot, free-standing facility will be the first portion of the complex constructed. This state-of-the-art headquarters will strengthen Covenant House’s current design, allowing it to better meet the needs of all at-risk youth that come to its doors.

The facility, which will house both the organization’s New York affiliate and its parent organization, Covenant House International, will enable Covenant House to provide young people in crisis with a place to live (both as emergency shelter and transitional housing), a federally qualified health center, resources for teen victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, a mother/child crisis center and space for employment training and educational services. It will be specifically designed for flexibility and variability to best accommodate the homeless young people Covenant House aids each year.

Once the new Covenant House facility is completed, work will begin on a residential development. This mixed-use, mixed-income development will include affordable housing, supportive housing, and retail/commercial uses that serve the needs of the community or provide services and neighborhood amenities. The RFP also encourages educational community facilities to be included on the site. Finally, it requires accommodations be made for a potential future station for the No. 7 subway line.

The release of this RFP is the culmination of extensive community engagement and input from local stakeholders, including City Council Member Corey Johnson, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Manhattan Community Board 4. NYCEDC, HPD, and Covenant House worked with the community for many months to identify key community priorities for the RFP.

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.