Joint Project of Common Ground, Actors Fund
Compiled by Linda Collins
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A ribbon cutting to celebrate the official opening of The Schermerhorn supportive housing complex and its new state-of-the-art black box theater and art center took place on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at the new building, 160 Schermerhorn St. in Downtown Brooklyn.
City and other officials joining with the project’s developers, Abby Hamlin and Francis Greenburger, and co-sponsors Common Ground and The Actors Fund, included the following: Seth Diamond, commissioner of the NYC Department of Homeless Services; Tim O’Hanlon, assistant commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD); Adolfo Carrión, regional director for New York and New Jersey at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD); Kate Levin, commissioner of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; and Jacqueline Dudley, deputy commissioner for the HIV/AIDS Service Administration. More than 50 percent of the 216 apartments in the award-winning building are reserved for formerly homeless individuals with special needs, including those living with HIV/AIDS.
The remaining units are reserved for low-income single adults, with a preference for people from the performing arts, such as local actors, dancers, singers and filmmakers.
The $59 million building will expand the extensive portfolio of supportive and affordable housing that Common Ground provides in the city and, through the new Actors Fund Arts Center, will further broaden the cultural offerings in a revitalized Downtown Brooklyn.
“This is our first construction outside Manhattan, and it adds considerably to our portfolio of affordable and supportive housing,” said Brenda Rosen, executive director of Common Ground. “Like all of our housing, it has served as a catalyst for community revitalization while also supporting our mission to end homelessness.”
Added Carrión, “This fabulous new building represents what is possible when the private sector joins forces with the public sector, and that is why I am so proud of HUD’s role in this wonderful partnership that creates more than a building, but a cultural and educational magnet as well. Congratulations to Common Ground, The Actors Fund, HDC [Housing Development Corp.], HPD and DHS for their hard work, energy and determination, but most importantly, for their commitment to create a very important affordable housing resource for the community.” The Actors Fund provides social services and emergency financial assistance, health care, housing, and employment and training services to people who work in performing arts and entertainment.
“Artists enrich every community and play an invaluable role in successful urban economic revitalization,” said Joseph Benincasa, president. “The Fund’s residences in Manhattan and Los Angeles, our assisted living and skilled nursing facility in New Jersey — and now The Schermerhorn — help ensure that those who dedicate themselves professionally to the arts have the affordable, supportive or senior housing they need to continue their creative work, or to enjoy their later years with dignity.”