Construction is now underway at 515 Blake Avenue, a large parcel of land in East New York that will eventually support 255 affordable housing units. The HELP ONE project will yield a mix of supportive housing and low-income apartments, and is among Brooklyn’s largest affordable housing projects announced this year.
The development and design team includes affordable housing developer HELP USA and Curtis + Ginsberg Architects.
This initial phase includes construction of the first two buildings referred to as “Building A” and “Building B.” Building A will comprise 184 homes ranging from one- to three-bedroom accommodations. Sixty percent of the units will be reserved for formerly homeless youth and families.
The collection of 71 apartments at Building B will comprise mix of studio and one-bedroom units. At this property, 60 percent of the units will be reserved for formerly homeless adults with mental health issues and those in recovery from substance abuse.
Supportive services will be provided by HELP though the New York City 15/15 Program. Additionally, Building A will be the new home of one of HELP USA’s non-residential community service programs, HELP ROADS, a counseling and support team that serves survivors of domestic violence.
“30 years ago we opened our first shelter on this site,” said president and CEO of HELP USA, Tom Hameline. “Since then we’ve worked tirelessly to serve communities and families who are under-resourced and under-served. We are so proud to stand on the spot where it all began, with our partners at the state and city, and continue that work.”
The HELP ONE complex will eventually comprise four buildings with more than 500 affordable apartments. On-site amenities will include a courtyard with a playground, a dog park, barbecue grills, and open green space for picnicking and outdoor recreation.
To improve energy performance and efficiency throughout the complex, energy-efficient windows, fixtures, and integrated solar arrays will be installed at every building.
Total construction costs hover around $129 million. Funding was provided by a coalition of governmental and private sources including the New York City’s Housing Preservation and Development, the Housing Development Corporation, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Bank of New York Mellon, and Regions Affordable Housing.
HELP ONE was also awarded $1 million as part of New York State’s inaugural Buildings of Excellence Competition. The $40 million program selects and awards projects for advanced building design and design strategies that significantly reduce energy use and carbon emissions.