Grant 349 E. 140th to the SBX CLT to house a dozen health, education & arts organizations

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In 2013, our local community land trust (CLT), the Mott Haven-Port Morris Community Land Stewards, was incorporated to ensure that community members continue to have a stake in their diverse and vibrant South Bronx community simultaneously struggling to overcome its reputation as the face of urban blight and fortifying itself against the loss of culture and community in the face of hyper real estate speculation. In our community, 38% of residents and 49% of children live in poverty, and we continue to be ranked among the worst communities in which to raise children based on indicators such as education, economic security and health, where one in five of children has asthma. At the same time, our neighborhood, which lies just outside of Manhattan, has become a target of developers seeking to profit off of low land values following decades of economic neglect. At present there are at least 22 new market rate developments planned or completed, with rent requirements seven times the local average salary.

Over the last five years, our local CLT has been focusing on acquiring and renovating a vacant, city-owned building located at 349 E. 140th Street, in the heart of a densely populated block surrounded by landmarked townhouses, a school, a church, public housing and parks. The 22,750 square foot building - formerly the Lincoln Detox Center - has a long and rich history borne out of the community activism of the Young Lords and Black Panthers in the 1970s but currently sits abandoned and in a state of rapid deterioration since the city shuttered it in 2012.

Following extensive and well-documented community engagement (thorough envisioning events, report backs and large-scale festivals) as well as completion of a full architectural, engineering, space allocation and financial feasibility study (funded by a grant from the NY Foundation and completed in 2018), our community has developed a dynamic and sustainable plan to create a community-owned and -controlled asset equipped with offices, meeting areas, a culinary arts kitchen, classrooms and performance spaces to provide deeply subsidized housing in perpetuity for more than a dozen community organizations working in the fields of health (H), education (E) and the arts (ARTS).

We now seek your support for the H.E.ARTS Community Center. We are confident that our model of permanent affordability through the community land trust (where we have already been formally recognized by NYC HPD and have been awarded by the Design Trust for Pubic Space) stands to serve as a new model for community development driven by self-determination and community empowerment. Please stand with us!



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