It Took a Village: Celebrating 134 New Homes in Brooklyn

Partners commemorate the opening of the Henry Apartments in Brooklyn

Partners commemorate the opening of the Henry Apartments in Brooklyn

On May 8, SUS joined our partner Alembic Community Development to welcome individuals and families to our newly-constructed Henry Apartments in the Ocean Hill/Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn.

This two-building, six-story development brings safe, affordable, and supportive housing to an area of the city where some of the largest numbers of homeless people come from.

The Henry Apartments will be home to very low- and low-income families and individuals, with 78 units reserved for formerly homeless individuals. Residents have access to on-site supportive services provided by SUS, including job placement, daily life skills training, and personalized recovery programs.

A view inside one of the Henry Apartments' studio units.

A view inside one of the Henry Apartments’ studio units.

Angela Thomas (pictured below) one of the Henry Apartments’ first residents, told attendees how it felt to move into her new home after five years in homeless shelters. “I wanted to give up until I saw my apartment and realized I didn’t have to go through that anymore…This building is awesome. I can sit outside and breathe. I thank SUS for everything…Thank you for giving me a future and a life, and hope.”

Angela Thomas

As part of the celebration, a plaque was mounted in the courtyard of each building, which read:

“This residence is dedicated to the thousands of New Yorkers who find themselves homeless each year, in the hope that they too will find a safe, affordable place to call home.” 

In the backyard of one of the buildings, which will be developed into SUS’ eighth community farm, SUS and partners commemorated the occasion by watering the first seedlings of the season.

The Henry Apartments are the namesake of Stan Henry, a long-time resident and well-known businessman in the Ocean Hill/Brownsville community. For years, Henry wanted to help revitalize the neighborhood with property he had access to, but was unable to achieve this dream until he was introduced to Alembic Community Development and SUS. A shared vision to bring supportive and affordable housing to the neighborhood was born.

But making this project work required true partnership — finding solutions that worked for all. Through a years-long process of listening and responding to the needs of the community, SUS, Alembic, Community Board 16, government and private funders proved that a meaningful solution to homelessness is possible, but it takes a village.

May 9, 2017

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