New Brooklyn Facility to Help Former Inmates Transition

By CN Staff

BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Osborne Association recently celebrated the opening of its first supportive housing program in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Alongside the first-of-its-kind Kinship Reentry Program and transitional housing available at the soon-to-open Fulton Community Center, Osborne is building a set of innovative housing supports and wrap-around services that provide the stability and resources that older people returning from incarceration need to thrive. Osborne has established connections to supportive services that offer formerly incarcerated older adults the tools and resources they may need to rebuild their lives and thrive.

New York City faces the twin crises of an aging prison population – while the prison population is dropping, the percentage of people older than 50 in prison continues to climb – and a dearth of safe, affordable, supportive housing for people coming home. Thousands of people return to NYC from jail and prison each year and go straight into an overburdened shelter system that was never designed as a reentry housing program. Older people face unique challenges coming home that include a digital world that may feel completely foreign to them and immediate existential needs like healthcare, gaining proper identification, reconnecting with family, employment, and resources to address the trauma of long-term incarceration.

Osborne’s work at Marcus Garvey offers a blueprint for how to reach, serve, and support older adults while helping the City and State address the urgent need for affordable and sustainable housing.

Developed by L+M Development Partners and designed by Bernheimer Architecture, the eight-story building at 461 Chester Street includes 174 affordable homes, 52 of which are supportive housing units, 1,750 square feet of ground floor community facility space, and 36 parking spaces. The newly constructed smoke-free building offers many amenities, including an on-site laundry room, landscaped courtyard, WiFi access, and a community room with a computer lab. The 52 supportive housing units are dedicated to people reentering the community after incarceration, with the Osborne Association providing services and programming for those units.

The building is part of the broader Marcus Garvey Extension Phase 1 Project, which includes three new buildings with a combined 348 affordable apartments and 13,400 square feet of commercial and community facility space. The other buildings include the seven-story 367 Bristol Street, with 96 affordable homes, including 52 supportive housing apartments, and approximately 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and community facility space. The 52 supportive housing units are dedicated to families coming out of shelters, with Women in Need providing services and programming for those units. The eight-story 747 Thomas Boyland Street includes 78 affordable apartments and approximately 5,400 square feet of ground-floor community facility space. Each of the three buildings also contains a bike room, laundry room, community room and a landscaped rear yard for resident use.

The $179 million expansion project is funded through a range of public and private financing sources. These include New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) tax exempt bond financing, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HFA’s Supportive Housing Opportunity Program subsidy, HFA’s New Construction Capital Program subsidy and HFA’s Middle-Income Housing Program subsidy, as well as tax credit equity and a construction loan from Wells Fargo.