Home Noticias Brooklyn’s Flatbush Gardens housing development partners with local nonprofit to invest in residents – CBS News

Brooklyn’s Flatbush Gardens housing development partners with local nonprofit to invest in residents – CBS News

Brooklyn’s Flatbush Gardens housing development partners with local nonprofit to invest in residents – CBS News

NEW YORK –  A troubled housing development in East Flatbush is hoping to make a fresh start after reaching an agreement with the city to keep units rent-stabilized.

The owner spoke exclusively to CBS New York’s Hannah Kliger.

Flatbush Gardens has 59 buildings, 2,500 units and 10,000 residents, making it one of the largest housing developments in Brooklyn. 

For years, tenants at the complex complained of deteriorating conditions. Pests, plumbing problems, high crime and a lack of response from management plagued residents, according to online reviews of the development.

“Growing up, it was pretty rough. It could get pretty rough. It was just a matter of people not feeling heard,” explains lifelong resident Shawny Samuels.

Now, the young woman works as a community ambassador within the development, employed by a local nonprofit called Bridging Access to Care.

“Now I have a double stake, not only as an employee but as a resident, because I do want to see the betterment of my community,” she said.

JJ Bistricer is the Chief Operating Officer of Clipper Realty, which owns the sprawling property. He says the company intends to turn things around. 

“We are making every effort and respond to everything in a timely manner so that we can improve that reputation among the residents, and also change the concept of management and residents at odds with each other,” he tells Kliger.

Last summer, Clipper Realty reached an agreement with the city to get a $191 million tax break in exchange for several conditions:  The development must remain affordable for 40 years, it must invest around $27 million in capital improvements, and 250 units must be set aside for families that have experienced homelessness.

The company says it made an additional good-faith measure; it brought in social services nonprofit, Bridging Access to Care. Housed inside the development, next door to the management office to provide a one-stop-shop for tenants, the organization’s goal is to connect residents to resources.

“This is really an innovative model, never been done before, as far as I know, with a for-profit and a not-for-profit coming together to address the needs around homelessness and the social needs of the individuals in the community,” says Nadine Akinyemi, CEO of BAC.

When asked how optimistic BAC is about the efforts to improve quality of life, Akinyemi said, “I am very optimistic, and I think that’s one of the reasons why JJ reached out to us.”

Chief Program Officer Jenna Tine says the organization works in a variety of ways. 

“We have mental health services, we have substance use services, housing, we do employment. Really anything that someone from the community could need,” she says. 

Bistricer says the tax break has already allowed the company to get the number of open violations from 4,000 down to nearly 1,400.

“We’re now able to go in and do holistic repairs and capital improvements versus doing more localized repairs which sometimes don’t give you the ability to address the problem,” he says.

Residents like Samuels hope the company is making a good faith effort to be a better landlord. 

The deal, made under Housing Finance Law Article XI, is a tax incentive that encourages property owners to keep housing affordable. It was approved by City Council in June. 

The owners of Flatbush Gardens have made it on the NYC Public Advocate’s annual Worst Landlords list several times, the most recent being in 2022. 

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

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