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Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Dedicates the Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto in Brooklyn during a Ceremonial Ribbon-Cutting

Pictured from left to right: Tim McManus, Senior Vice President, Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation; Leora Jonteff, Assistant Vice President for Housing and Real Estate, New York City Health + Hospitals; Robert Catell, Chairman, Advanced Energy Research & Technology Center; RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner, New York State Homes and Community Renewal; Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, President and Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens; Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D., Bishop Emeritus; Most Reverend Robert J. Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn; Michael Freeman, Resident, Pope Francis Apartments of Loreto; Very Reverend Patrick J. Keating, Esq., Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens; Sally Hernandez-Piñero, Board Chair of MetroPlusHealth and Board Member of NYC Health + Hospitals; Diana Mallete, Resident, Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto; Jennifer Swift, Senior Project Manager, Catholic Charities Progress of PeoplesDevelopment Corporation; Emmie Glynn Ryan, Chief of Staff and General Counsel, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens; and Kenny Theam Hock Tan, Dharma Drum Mountain.

On Thursday, April 28, 2022, The Most Reverend Robert J. Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn, and Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, President and Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, were joined by New York State Homes and Community Renewal, NYC Health + Hospitals and community members for a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Catholic Charities Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto. Located in Brownsville, Brooklyn, the $48 million development provides 135 units of affordable apartments for low-income seniors with supportive services.                                                                        

Developed in partnership with Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation (CCPOP), the affordable housing arm of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, and New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), funding for the Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto includes $3.4 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $19 million in equity and an additional $24.6 million subsidy from HCR. The New York State Department of Health provides $2 million annually for tenant rental assistance and supportive services through the Governor’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI). Wells Fargo National Bank is the financial partner. RKTB Architects are the designers.

Located at 2377 Pacific Street, the Catholic Charities Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto feature an 8-story, 83,683 square foot building and provide 135 affordable apartments and case management for low-income and formerly homeless seniors, enabling them to live safely, comfortably, and independently for as long as possible. The new construction includes 24-hour security, lounge, tenant activity rooms, laundry facilities and rooftop solar panels to reduce the cost of electricity and reduce the building’s carbon footprint. Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services, Inc., the social services provider of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, will provide case management services within the building for the senior supportive residents. 

This new facility is the second phase of redevelopment of the former Our Lady of Loreto Church and will integrate 40 percent of the units to affordable independent residences for seniors (AIRS) with 60 percent of the units designated as senior supportive housing. 

The 54 AIRS units will target seniors 62 years of age and older and be affordable to individuals earning up to 50 percent Area Median Income (AMI). The remaining 81 units will be supportive housing units targeting individuals who are formerly homeless, over the age of 55, and are frail elderly. Rents for these supportive units are supported with a rental subsidy through the ESSHI program.

“Housing affordability is the biggest crisis facing New York City, with the pandemic threatening to destabilize the most vulnerable populations throughout Brooklyn and Queens,” said Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, President and Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens. “In the past two years, Catholic Charities has worked diligently to add over 450 units of affordable housing – ensuring that more seniors and formerly homeless persons not only have an affordable place to call home but access to critical resources and services provided by Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens.”

“Pope Francis urges everyone to protect and nourish the elderly, stating: ‘let us protect them so that nothing of their lives and dreams may be lost. May we never regret that we were insufficiently attentive to those who loved us….’ That is why it is so fitting to me today to name this beautiful residence after Pope Francis. Inside these walls, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens will be able to protect older adults and alleviate their difficulties, just as Pope Francis asked us to do. We ensure that they do not feel alone by attending to their needs,” said Monsignor Alfred LoPinto.

“As we move our State forward, we must ensure all New Yorkers have access to secure homes, especially seniors living on fixed-incomes or struggling with homelessness,” stated RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner and CEO, New York State Homes and Community Renewal. “The Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto joins the adjacent 64-unit Monsignor Anthony J. Barretta Apartments, adding 135 affordable homes and life-enhancing services to strengthen the Brownsville community and address inequalities across Central Brooklyn’s neighborhoods. We are grateful to Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens for their ongoing partnership in transforming church-owned properties into new housing opportunities. Under Governor Hochul’s new $25 billion, five-year Housing Plan, we will continue to partner with the faith-based community to increase the supply of quality, affordable homes to New Yorkers and create stronger, healthier neighborhoods for all.”

Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens is one of the largest faith-based social service agencies and providers of affordable housing in the United States and, through CCPOP, currently provides 4,465 units of affordable homes, with 105 additional units currently under construction for seniors, families, the formerly homeless and those struggling with mental illness.

“Today, tens of thousands of New Yorkers are struggling to find an affordable, high quality, safe place to call home that values the dignity of its neighbors. Despite the challenges of the last two years exacerbated by the pandemic, Catholic Charities will open two new affordable residences for seniors in 2022,” said The Most Reverend Robert J. Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn. This celebration is a remarkable milestone, and the Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto stand as a beacon of hope for our aging sisters and brothers. Today in Brownsville, our older neighbors have a new place to call home, to build memories and to access the services they need to age in place independently. I thank Catholic Charities as it continues to build upon its mission of transforming vacant land and buildings into affordable, and now sustainable housing units and transforming the lives of individuals and families.”

“Housing affordability is a real crisis in New York City and throughout the country, especially for older adults and vulnerable populations that were hit hard by the pandemic,” said Alan Wiener, group head of Wells Fargo Multifamily Capital. “Wells Fargo is proud to partner with Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens to support this important project, which helps address the urgent need for affordable housing for seniors in the Brownsville community.” 

“NYC Health + Hospitals is proud to partner with Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens to assist our older patients secure a place they can call their own,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “The public health system takes care of all New Yorkers, many of whom are experiencing chronic homelessness. A stable home can mean fewer emergency department visits, and it can very often be the first step to better health.”  

“Seeing the joy in our patient’s faces as they enter into what may be their home speaks to the work that only a public hospital system would undertake,” said Leora Jontef, Assistant Vice President for Housing and Real Estate. “Our holistic approach of engaging community health workers, social workers, housing navigators, and clinicians allows us to help our patients at every step in their journey to permanent housing. I want to thank Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and all our partners for giving over 40 of our patients a home.” 

“I’m really proud of the work Catholic Charities put behind the Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto,” stated former Councilmember Rafael Espinal. “The city is in desperate need of affordable housing and this project will help alleviate that issue for Brownsville’s most vulnerable residents.” 

“It is important to appreciate that health is housing, and housing is health. Having a safe place to call your own is a key component to live, heal and thrive. At MetroPlusHealth, we have invested in efforts to successfully place our members in safe, affordable, supportive housing,” said Dr. Talya Schwartz, President and Chief Executive Officer, MetroPlusHealth. “Unfortunately, the need far surpasses the available housing stock. This is why we are so pleased to partner with Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens to help secure homes for more of our eligible members in Brooklyn. The Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto is a blessing to our members and to the community.” 

Seven years ago, Pope Francis released the Papal Encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, where he asks for an inclusive dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. In response, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens has endeavored to build affordable housing with a greater focus on sustainability. Further, in 2018, Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D., Bishop Emeritus, led an interreligious delegation to Rome to present a collaborative sustainability initiative to Pope Francis; where during his weekly audience, Pope Francis shared words of support and encouragement for the work. In the spirit of the interreligious collaboration, CCPOP is currently exploring a partnership with the Dharma Drum Mountain community. Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens hopes to work with residents to develop a program around healthy living with a focus on nutrition, exercise, meditation and a mutual respect for a more sustainable future. 

In 2021, CCPOP launched the Laudato Si Corporation, a non-profit corporation that serves as a vehicle for administering sustainability strategies within Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens. The corporation currently owns and operates several solar arrays across the Catholic Charities housing portfolio. The Pope Francis Apartments at Loreto is another example of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens’ commitment and dedication to including affordable housing as part of the solution to global climate change. 

In 2013, on the same property, CCPOP celebrated the completion of the Catholic Charities Monsignor Anthony J. Barretta Apartments, a development featuring 64 units of low-income housing.

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