Building strong neighborhoods with affordable housing and community programs
Housing Preservation in Harlem and Washington Heights
Since 2001, Settlement Housing Fund has acquired 11 Upper Manhattan buildings from the City that had been in receivership for years, needed major repairs and owed millions of dollars in taxes. We formed a partnership with the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and the City to rehabilitate the buildings, convert them to cooperatives, and sell the occupied apartments to the residents as very affordable limited equity cooperatives. The buildings contain 451 large apartments of which at least 80% are occupied primarily by low income families. In every case, the neighborhood demographics indicate very low incomes, but there is pressure from gentrification with nearby buildings experiencing successful conversion to luxury use.
There is a critical need to preserve the buildings for the more than 1,000 low and moderate income residents who otherwise might not be able to stay in their neighborhoods. Five rehabilitated buildings are now limited equity cooperatives, making homeownership a reality for 148 low-income former renters and new residents alike. Three buildings, containing a total of 55 units, were rehabilitated and remain affordable rentals, and we have completed the renovation of another building that will convert to cooperatives in 2015. One last 20 unit vacant building is under renovation and will remain an affordable rental after completion.