Supporters – Quotes and Testimonies

32BJ: “To lift up working families and address the crisis of inequality facing our city, we deeply need affordable housing and good permanent jobs that will support local communities. Haven Green will address both of these important priorities by providing much needed units for low-income seniors while also creating building service jobs with family-sustaining wages and benefits. Haven Green will help make Lower Manhattan more economically inclusive and 32BJ is proud to support it.”—Kyle Bragg, Secretary Treasurer

United Neighborhood Houses: “United Neighborhood Houses believes older adults should have the resources to live with dignity and support in their neighborhoods, including access to affordable housing. We thank the City Council for their support of senior services and affordable housing, and look forward to continued work to ensure that all older adults in New York City have the support they need to age in place.” – Nora Moran, Director of Policy & Advocacy

City Planning Commission: “Before I cast my vote on this I want to note that while the plot of land that is before us is small, the matter before us is actually quite multi-faceted and complex. In a neighborhood that has so few undeveloped parcels, every piece of vacant land has the potential to meet multiple and at times competing neighborhood needs. And in a neighborhood with an area median income as high as this one, the search for land on which to construct affordable housing is especially challenging. I want to acknowledge and thank the many members of the public who testified at our public hearing. Whatever their position on the application, their love for their neighborhood and their city was evident. It is a sentiment that I know is shared by the members of the commission. I also want to thank HPD and the partners that it has selected, including the nonprofits Riseboro and Habitat for Humanity, for having developed a 100% affordable senior housing project and especially one that has a special focus on vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community. I am especially pleased that about a third of the site is going to remain as publicly accessible open space. I urge HPD and the development team to work closely with the neighboring community in programming this publicly accessible open space to meet the needs of the current neighbors and also the future residents of Haven Green. And I also urge HPD and the development team in the strongest terms possible to extend the hours of opening beyond the 9 to 5 that they had presented. Even on an early spring day like today its evident that those hours are far too short and we expect to see longer hours. And with that I vote yes.” – Marisa Lago, Chair

Cooper Square Community Land Trust: “While communities need green space, the development of affordable housing for seniors must take precedence. If the the gardeners could approach this issue with of spirit of compromise we could have both– bread and roses — as was done with the Liz Christie Garden on the Bowery.” Valerio Orselli- Founding member

Read Val’s full testimony here  and the testimony of Steve Herrick, Executive Director, Cooper Square Committee here.

Henry Street Settlement: “Henry Street Settlement recognizes the commitment and creativity needed to build deeply affordable housing in the nation’s most extreme real estate market. We support any effort that puts more affordable units on the landscape and appreciate Haven Green’s inclusive approach—one that focuses not only on very low income people, including the formerly homeless, but on older adults who will especially benefit from the open space, onsite services, and proximity to a vibrant community setting.” – David Garza

Housing Works: “Housing Works has for almost 30 years fought for the rights of New Yorkers to have a safe, affordable place to call home. At a time when affordable housing for seniors is scarce, we believe that Haven Green will address this need while preserving/creating green space for the surrounding community.” – Andrew Coamey, Executive Director

Interfaith Assembly on Housing & Homelessness: “The Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness celebrates these 123 truly affordable units of permanently affordable senior housing with garden, green space and onsite community services — as a significant net gain for its neighborhood and our City. With over 60,000 men, women and children sleeping in NYC shelters each night, including over 5,000 seniors, New York City cannot afford to pass up any opportunity to develop affordable housing for our people in need. Further, a project such as this that utilizes state of the art energy efficient design can provide a prototype that all city based housing projects should look to replicate. All New Yorkers should celebrate the creation of these homes for 123 seniors who will be afforded the blessed opportunity to live out their twilight years in safety and security.” – Marc Greenberg

Read The Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness’ full testimony here. 

Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club: “A truly livable city must be a city that everyone can afford to live and grow old in. For far too many New Yorkers, including members of the LGBTQ community who fought so hard for the rights of others, it is getting harder and harder to get by. Being a true progressive means making tough choices to create badly needed affordable housing for those who desperately need it. I thank Councilwoman Chin, SAGE and many other aging and LGBTQ activists for making this important project a reality.” – Allen Roskoff, President

LISC NYC: “LISC NYC encourages the City Council to approve the innovative Haven Green project which will bring deeply affordable and energy-efficient senior housing to the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan, space. As longstanding partners to RiseBoro Community Partnership, a mission-driven developer/steward of affordable housing and a member of the Haven Green development team, we understand the housing crisis facing seniors. By some estimates, upwards of 200,000 households are likely on waiting lists for senior housing in New York City. We believe Haven Green strikes the appropriate balance, and merits wide public support, by effectively leveraging publicly-owned land for both much needed housing and open green space accessible to the wider community.” – Sam Marks, Executive Director

Enterprise Community Partners, Inc: “The severe need for senior housing coupled with the lack of suitable sites to develop a substantial number of affordable units make this project too good to pass up. Haven Green provides green space and senior housing in a neighborhood that is desperate for both. With so many low-income older adults facing displacement from their homes and communities, we strongly urge the City Council to move forward and approve this project.” – Judi Kende, Vice President and New York Market Leader

Read Enterprise Community Partner’s full testimony here.

LiveOn NY: “LiveOn NY proudly supports Haven Green, an exciting project that aligns with our mission to make New York a better place to age. New developments such as Haven Green will help combat the fact that currently too many seniors are unable to age in their communities due to a lack of affordable housing across the city. This opportunity for 123 units of senior housing, as well as a significant amount of public space, will invigorate the community and support the seniors that will be lucky enough to call Haven Green home. The strong team of community-minded organizations including LiveOn NY members RiseBoro Community Partnership and SAGE, along with Pennrose Properties, LLC and Habitat for Humanity New York City will be a benefit to both tenants and the community.” – Allison Nickerson, Executive Director

Center for New York City Neighborhoods: “Haven Green will give seniors, especially formerly homeless and LGBT New Yorkers, much needed and deeply affordable housing opportunities. We all know how hard it is to age in place in New York City, and we must all work together to ensure that our home town remains equitable and inclusive in spite of the housing affordability crisis. We commend the City Council, Mayor de Blasio, and the partners on making this visionary project a reality.” – Christie Peale, CEO/Executive Director

Open New York: “Open New York is thrilled to see Haven Green move forward. This project will yield numerous benefits, including green space, as well as deeply-affordable homes for 123 seniors. By providing much-needed affordable senior housing, Haven Green will allow longtime New Yorkers to stay involved in the vibrant .” – Ben Carlos Thypin

Parity: “Housing for LGBTQ older adults is about more than a home, as important as a home is to all of us. It’s about dignity, community and even saving lives of people who too often find themselves alone and who sometimes have to go back into the closet to simply survive. At Parity we help churches and faith communities minister to LGBTQ people of all ages, we and have found that it is the elder population that is too-often forgotten. Haven Green will not only help to save lives, it will also bring together a vibrant community that includes so many passionate collaborators and stakeholders. This project is an example for other communities to follow, a model of collaboration and care.” – Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, Executive Director

New Yorkers for Parks: “We urge both supporters of the Garden and the City to find common cause in maximizing the public open space that will be included in the Haven Green development footprint. It is not always the case that affordable housing developed in the City includes provisions for publicly accessible open space, and we believe, if done well, the Haven Green project could be a compelling example of how affordable housing could be developed in other neighborhoods in a way that incorporates meaningful opportunities for programmable open space.” – Lynn Kelly, Executive Director

Read the full New Yorkers for Parks testimony here. 

SAGE USA: “The need for LGBT-friendly housing is both urgent and vital. Nearly half of LGBT elders face discrimination when applying for housing, and as the LGBT older population rapidly grows toward 7 million by 2030, we must act now to ensure they have access to the housing they desperately need and deserve as they age. SAGE commends Council Member Margaret Chin for taking this important step forward and thanks Mayor Bill de Blasio for his critical support.” – Michael Adams, CEO

Sara Roosevelt Park Community Coalition: “Sara Roosevelt Park Coalition and all of our community gardens here were/are created out of a desire to make a struggling park safe and accessible to our most vulnerable neighbors as well as beautiful for everyone. Haven Green is a land-use compromise that will merge two vital needs: open greenspace and accessible housing for elders who have been priced out of the communities they built. This site will be charged with creating a new beauty: one that acknowledges the ‘inseparable bond’ between ‘nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace’.” – K Webster President and CB2 Resident

Read K’s full testimony here.

Stonewall CDC: “The affordable housing crisis for seniors in New York City is bad now, but it’s going to be staggering. The recent first-ever citywide survey of LGBTQ older adults’ housing needs shows that the problem is going to be even more pronounced for the Stonewall Generation. (e.g. 71.9% of respondents reported at least 1 serious health condition, nearly one in four had an income of 30% of area median income or less, and a full 23% are living in substandard housing) LGBTQ-sensitive housing projects will literally be a lifeline to seniors living in fear and isolation.” – Paul Nagle

University Settlement: “University Settlement recognizes that hard choices often need to be made to accommodate every New Yorker, from the better resourced to those that need support to continue to live in our great, but deeply unaffordable city. The Haven Green project is a compromise that provides solutions for all, though it recognizes the more fundamental need for housing. Therefore, we support the Haven Green project and the safe and affordable homes it will create for our elders.” – Jennifer Vallone, Associate Executive Director of Adults, Arts, and Advocacy

Read the full University Settlement testimony here.

Vision Urbana: “The Councilwoman’s dedication to build affordable housing for low income seniors, many of whom are communities of color representing Latino, Asian and African American residents, is met with overwhelming support from the Lower East Side community. The organization I work for, Vision Urbana, Inc. is constantly assisting seniors with housing applications and providing case assistance to support seniors who have been enduring financial hardship to stay near the same communities they have raised their children in. The reality is the Lower East Side is becoming more and more a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) which makes this achievement by our councilwoman so compassionate and timely.” – Eric Diaz, Director