41 Brooklyn Families Receive Keys to New Eco-Friendly Homes in Ocean Hill

OCEAN HILL — The owners of 41 new affordable eco-friendly homes in Ocean Hill/Brownsville received their keys at a Habitat for Humanity-New York City-sponsored celebration last weekend.

The ribbon-cutting at the complex — known as the Atlantic Avenue Residences, 2331 Atlantic Ave. at Eastern Parkway — marked an historic first for Habitat-NYC. This is the largest and greenest multifamily complex ever built by a Habitat affiliate in the nation, according to Josh Lockwood, executive director of Habitat-NYC. It is expected to receive LEED Gold certification, one of the highest green building ratings.

Joining the festivities were some of the almost 10,000 volunteers who worked together to build the homes, plus those who provided financial support, and community leaders and elected officials who made the new homes possible.

“This is an emotional and exciting day for Habitat-NYC and our 41 families, whose lives will be transformed by these healthy and affordable homes,” said Lockwood. “They are a testament to the vast impact New Yorkers can have by working shoulder-to-shoulder to build homes and revitalize communities.”

In addition to the two years of construction by Habitat volunteers, the 41 families contributed at least 300 hours of “sweat equity” per adult.

Designed by Dattner Associates, with assistance from United Technologies, the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the U.S. Green Building Council and Global Green, the homes meet Energy Star standards and boast many energy-efficient, sustainable and non-toxic components.

Funding for the complex came from Citibank, the NYS Affordable Housing Corp., the NYC Housing Trust Fund, the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, Independence Community Foundation, the NYS Affordable Housing Trust Fund and home sponsorships by Bank of America, Citi, Credit Suisse, Delta Air Lines, Goldman Sachs and Hilb Rogal and Hobbs.

Additional funding came from NYSERDA, the Starr Foundation, St. John’s University Chapter, Southern Wine and Spirits, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, United Technologies Corp. and HUD.

The city’s Department of Housing Development and Preservation sold the land to Habitat-NYC for $13. Said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, “I am honored that Habitat for Humanity-NYC has chosen Brooklyn as the site of its largest, greenest housing development, although I can’t say I'm surprised. Every day, Brooklyn shows the rest of the world what it means to live an eco-friendly life. Anyone who says it’s not easy being green hasn’t been to Brooklyn. I can’t wait to see what Habitat for Humanity has on the horizon, because it’s always a great day for Brooklyn when Habitat-NYC lands here.”

Added Marilyn Gelber, executive director of the Independence Community Foundation, “Our foundation has been one of Habitat-NYC’s closest working partners and one of its largest private foundation funders over the past decade. Together we showed how an elegantly simple rural housing model can become a powerful urban engine for neighborhood change. We congratulate Habitat-NYC and all the new Habitat homeowners for their hard work, hope, ambition and generosity which combined to create this extraordinary new green development in Brooklyn.”

— Linda Collins