Settlement Housing Fund developed the St. John’s Place Family Center in 1990 as an alternative to welfare hotels. Located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the Center provides excellent temporary housing, day care, infant care, and other services to 97 families at a time, assisting them in their search for employment and affordable housing. In 1994, we added permanent housing for 33 low-income families in an adjacent building including ten families who relocated from the Center, and in 2004 we developed a new building across the street for 35 families.
Settlement Housing Fund continues to invest in the Family Center and in the permanent housing projects, with a particular emphasis on energy efficiency. With support from the TD Charitable Foundation's Housing for Everyone grant program, we have secured financing and upgraded heating plants including energy-efficient boilers, hot water heaters and storage tanks; replaced the roof and repaired the parapets and copings; repointed masonry throughout the buildings' facades; and installed all new windows. In addition, we replaced all child guards and concrete walkways and installed a centralized surveillance system to rpovide real-time, web-based surveillance of all public areas.
The agency has a strong track record of working with other community groups in Crown Heights and, for the past ten years, has co-sponsored an annual street festival with community leaders and has provided meeting space for local groups. In the summer of 2013, the Center welcomed volunteers from the New York Horticultural Society's Green Team, New York Cares and others to begin the restoration of a neighboring community garden for use by the St. John's Place Day Care and Family Center, as well as others in the community. A year later, the garden is flourishing, and children from the Day Care are harvesting their own vegetables.
Through the St. John’s Place Family Center, HDFC (Housing Development Fund Corporation), we are finishing the gut rehabilitation of a vacant, city-owned building located immediately adjacent to its facility. The structure will serve as a new Career and College Access Center to help Family Center residents, young adults and other community members obtain better employment opportunities. The Center is scheduled to open in 2014 with the help of rehabilitation funds awarded by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and the City of New York, and grant support from The Lavanburg Foundation, The Brooklyn Community Foundation, and National Grid.
Valerie Figueroa, Executive Director
St. John’s Place Family Center
1630 St. John’s Place
Brooklyn, NY 11233