Faith In Brooklyn for January 18: Brooklyn Church Secures $1.5M, Breaks Ground on Senior Housing


Borough President Adams, Councilmember Williams help underwrite East Flatbush construction project

The Evangelical Crusade of Fishers of Men, in partnership with community leaders and residents, broke ground on Sun., Jan. 13, on a new low-income senior housing development project in East Flatbush.

Seniors on a fixed income who live in apartments that are not rent-regulated may find themselves at greater risk for eviction if their landlords engage in predatory practices.

Because of the unprecedented need for affordable housing in Brooklyn, considered one of the epicenters of gentrification, this longstanding congregation is expanding its 45-year ministry by providing shelter that would enable seniors to age in place.

The Bishop Philius and Helene Nicolas Senior Residence Project (BPHN), named in honor of the church’s founding bishop and first lady, will be an 89-unit apartment building for seniors ages 62 and older who earn less than 50 percent of the area median income (AMI).

The residence, at 1488 New York Avenue, will consist of 88 studio rental units and one one-bedroom super’s unit. It will also include a community room, common area space, laundry facilities and on-site social services.

Additionally, there will be a 10,575 sq. ft. community service facility located on the first and cellar levels that the congregation has envisioned as a medical office suite for geriatric primary care.

The construction of this $45 million project has been financed through discretionary capital allocations from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams of $1 million and Councilmember Jumaane Williams of $500,000, the Senior Affordable Rental Apartment (SARA) program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and Bank of America’s debt and equity financing programs.

The building will be developed by BEL Community Housing LLC, which is a partnership between Brisa Builders Development LLC; Evergreen City LLC, an M/WBE affordable housing development group; and Lemle & Wolff Dev. Co. It was designed by Heritage Architecture and Rodney Leon Architects.

“The Bishop Philius and Helene Nicolas Senior Residence Project is our answer to God’s call to serve the community and meet a fundamental human need—shelter. God has rewarded our faith by bringing to fruition a project that we’ve been speaking about for the past 12 years. This building will enable us to expand our capacity to help our neighbors live a better life. We are grateful for the opportunity to fulfill our mission on this earth and work with great partners to strengthen the East Flatbush community,” said Rev. Dr. Samuel Nicolas, senior pastor.

“Through the unwavering efforts of Borough President Adams’ Faith-Based Development Initiative, another church was able to expand their ministry to include building shelter for the residents of the Brooklyn community during a housing crisis. Evangelical Crusade Christian Church, in partnership with the development team and the City of New York, had the faith to see their vision come to fruition and are able to celebrate that victory with this ceremonial groundbreaking. I am honored and humbled to have been a part of this journey,” said Ericka Keller, Managing Member,  BEL Community Housing LLC.

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