The article below was written by Jennifer TeichAssociate DirectorIndividualized Supports

AHRC New York City collaborated with Dunn Development Corp, and OPWDD to develop an affordable housing project. Parkside Terrace is a newly-constructed seven-story, 80-unit elevator building located in the Norwood neighborhood of the Bronx. The project is a mix of studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments along with on-site program space, a landscaped roof terrace, and a backyard children’s play area. Twelve studio apartments have been set aside for adults with developmental disabilities, with on-site support services provided by AHRC NYC.

On Tuesday, June 11, six members of AHRC NYC’s Board of Directors came to visit the building and meet with the tenants and the staff that support them. Board President Sharyn Van Reepinghen and B Evander Lomke, Nilsa Santiago, Anne Gordon, Bill Stone, Tina Veale, and Germaine Laviscount-Scott all visited and received a tour of the new building. The tenants proudly showed their apartments and everyone had lunch together.  Earlier in June, Board Member Toni Agovino came to pay a visit as well.

The tenants started moving in when the building was finished at the end of March 2019.  Some people moved out of their parents’ home, others moved from certified residential settings, some moved out of apartments that were not accessible or meeting their needs, and three people moved out of shelters. These 12 people are now living in beautiful studio apartments, with their name on the lease; it is their own apartment.

The Parkside Project is a true collaboration in every way. Home Care Services provides the tenants with Community Habilitation Services to assist them in living independently. Day Services assisted people in mapping their neighborhood to locate shopping, churches, restaurants, and other resources.  Employment and Business Services helped with moving tenants. One of the tenants was hired as a porter by Hudson River Services to keep the office clean. AHRC NYC’s Residential Services assisted with setting up Wi-Fi and utility services for the office. Individualized Supports provides ongoing housing support and maintains the ISS Housing Subsidy.

Having one’s own home is a fundamental need of all people. For somebody with a developmental disability, it means that they have taken their place as a part of the larger community. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “For as long as there is residential segregation, there will be de facto segregation in every area of life.  So the challenge is here to develop an action program.