New Boilers and Additional Bronx Services for the Holidays!
UNHP Fall 2014 Newsletter 

We’re keeping up a strong pace as we reach the close of 2014. University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP) continues to make progress towards fulfilling our mission to create and preserve affordable housing and bring needed resources to our Northwest Bronx community.  Thanks to your support and participation, UNHP laid a good foundation for our work in 2015; expanding our services and continuing to work on specific projects while having an impact on a policy level on issues affecting our neighborhoods.

Keeping the Bronx Affordable and Warm
As part of our work to preserve affordable housing, UNHP, with Dougert Management Company, has installed new boilers in three multifamily buildings that had undergone gut rehabilitation over 20 years ago. Each of the new high-efficiency Lochinvar condensing boiler systems feature an on-line heat computer monitoring system provided by EnTech Digital Controls.  Heat temperatures are monitored off-site in 20% of the apartments and public areas and can be adjusted remotely to insure adequate heat and energy conservation. The renovation was funded by the operating funds of the buildings highlighting effective management and the benefits of non-profit ownership towards preserving long-term affordability.  

Thanks to the new high-efficiency Lochinvar condensing boilers,
111 families in three UNHP buildings will be warm this winter.

Improving Distressed Multifamily Buildings
With the median age of Bronx buildings at 87; deferred maintenance, age, and lack of building reinvestment are some of the factors responsible for the distressed multifamily properties that appear on UNHP’s Building Indicator Project (BIP).  As of October 2014, 4.2% of Bronx multifamily buildings were likely to be distressed as compared to 2.4% of buildings in Brooklyn and 1.8% of buildings in Manhattan. Overall, there were over 1300 buildings in NYC that appear to be distressed according to the BIP. 
In a recent meeting with the New York State Department of Financial Services, we discussed the state’s progress on implementing their Final Guidelines for Bank Lending to Multifamily Properties Under the Community Reinvestment Act which specifically refers to UNHP’s BIP as an information source for lenders to monitor their loan portfolios. UNHP will be holding its annual Multifamily Assistance Center meeting for lenders in February and is exploring working with HPD to sponsor meetings for borrowers interested in utilizing the City’s latest preservation programs.  

Water and Sewer Costs – an obstacle to affordability.
Water and sewer costs (
rivaling the cost of heating in many buildings) have become an obstacle to maintaining affordable housing.  UNHP is currently working on a study of water and sewer costs in Bronx multifamily buildings and plans to use the information to jump start a conversation about rates and affordable housing in the New Year.  
                           UNHP’s Executive Director, Jim Buckley, participated in a NYU Furman Center panel on Obstacles and Options for Maintaining Affordability in the City’s Unsubsidized Housing Stock.  Jim highlighted the cost of water as an issue in all buildings.

New Healthcare and Benefits Screening Services at the Resource Center
The Northwest Bronx Resource Center at Refuge House is pleased to announce the addition of healthcare and benefits screening services, thanks to a partnership with SeedCo and Community Service Society (CSS). The SeedCo Healthcare Navigator assists residents in need of healthcare and provides information on the Affordable Care Act, while the Community Health Advocate addresses issues or concerns regarding the healthcare they have and can screen residents for public benefits. Starting in January of 2015, a social work volunteer from the CSS Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) will join the staff at the Resource Center and provide assistance with public benefits, income support, food and transportation programs. The new services complete a five- day a week Resource Center schedule that includes; financial coaching, homebuyer and homeowner assistance programs, free tax prep and financial coaching and workshops. Fordham Bedford Community Services (FBCS) connected UNHP with CSS and is a valuable partner for our soon to start for 2015 free Tax Preparation Program

SeedCo will be providing healthcare and benefit screening services
at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center.

New Specialized Business Training for FBCS Family Daycare Providers
Fordham Bedford Community Services (FBCS) also runs a successful Early Learn Family Daycare Provider Network that assists over 50 local entrepreneurs, who in turn provide quality daycare and early educational opportunities to over 200 local families.  Thanks to a grant from Citi, UNHP has been working with FBCS and NYC Small Business Services to create a specialized business training for the FBCS Daycare Network with classes in both English and Spanish.  The training is set to launch in January and will offer over 30 hours of basic business training as well as provider-requested classes on taxes, employee management, forms of incorporation and retirement planning.

We’re proud of our accomplishments over the years and we see a clear path ahead to expand and improve our work.  To monitor our progress,  read our blog, Views from the Northwest Bronx, for more information on community group trainings and subscriptions to the Building Indicator Project and our most recent work on financial education.  And you can support our work either by making a year-end donation on our website or naming UNHP as your charity when you shop on Amazon smile.  

Thank you again for your support and partnership in 2014.  We look forward to working with you towards our mission in the New Year. Best wishes for a happy holiday season!

Copyright © 2014 University Neighborhood Housing Program, All rights reserved.

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