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Supportive housing developer Common Ground announces new name, mission

Common Ground, New York City’s largest supportive housing provider, announced its new name: Breaking Ground.

The name change comes on the occasion of the organization’s 25th anniversary.

Gala honoree and NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner Jamie Rubin; Breaking Ground President & CEO Brenda Rosen; Gala honoree and The Starr Foundation President Florence Davis; Gala honoree and COOKFOX Architects Partner Rick Cook
Gala honoree and NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner Jamie Rubin; Breaking Ground President & CEO Brenda Rosen; Gala honoree and The Starr Foundation President Florence Davis; Gala honoree and COOKFOX Architects Partner Rick Cook

Since its founding in 1990, Breaking Ground has introduced groundbreaking solutions to homelessness – including being a pioneer in the Housing First movement, managing the largest permanent supportive housing residence in the country, and championing great architecture and design for low-income housing.

The new name reflects the organization’s history of restoring and building structures and lives, and signals a new era of growth and an expanded mission that goes beyond supportive housing in combating homelessness.

Breaking Ground has committed to construct 1,000 new affordable units to help New York City’s most vulnerable residents over the next five years, including its first housing for low-income families.

“For 25 years we have been a leader in enabling the chronically homeless to renew their lives, and our commitment to that is stronger than ever. Today we expand our mission to also serve those in greatest danger of homelessness – families that may be a paycheck away from being on the streets,” said Brenda Rosen, President and CEO of Breaking Ground.

“Our new name better defines that work through restoring the security and wellbeing of homeless and other at-risk New Yorkers by providing safe, stable, beautiful affordable housing.”

“We are extremely proud of our 25 years of incredibly hard work that has allowed 12,000 people to escape and avoid homelessness. Over the next few years, we will do even more by building 1,000 affordable units, our most aggressive development pipeline since our founding in 1990,” said Michael J. Franco, Chair of Breaking Ground’s Board and Chief Investment Officer of Vornado Realty Trust.

Breaking Ground has constructed more than 3,200 units of supportive housing across 11 New York City sites and four in upstate New York and Connecticut, including Breaking Ground’s flagship Times Square residence, the largest permanent supportive housing site in the nation.

They have provided housing and critical on-site support for the chronically homeless, low-income working adults, those suffering from mental illness and addiction, those living with HIV/AIDS, veterans, seniors, artists and youth aging out of foster care.

Through a commitment to great design and sustainability, Breaking Ground has worked with world-class architects on their developments, including Robert A.M. Stern, COOKFOX, Ennead Architects, Alexander Gorlin, and more.

All of their new buildings have been designed for LEED or Enterprise Green Homes certification.

Under contract with the NYC Department of Homeless Services, Breaking Ground also operates street-to-home outreach in all of Brooklyn, Queens, and nearly one-third of Manhattan.

Through all of this work, Breaking Ground has enabled 12,000 low- and very low-income people to permanently escape the threat of homelessness.

This fall, Breaking Ground will open a 154-unit building on Boston Road in the Bronx, one of the first buildings in New York City to use New York State Medicaid Redesign Team financing to both address homelessness and reduce the healthcare costs to society by this high needs population through onsite social services.

Breaking Ground will start construction on two new buildings this year along Webster Avenue in the Bronx, which will have more than 400 homes for the homeless and low-income working adults and families, with two other developments in the pipeline for construction to commence in 2016.

Breaking Ground has also begun working with top New York City developers to ensure the families living in affordable portions of mixed-income buildings are stably housed and supported through marketing, lease up, and acquisition of permanently affordable homes.

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