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Helping Neighborhoods Thrive -- New Grants Protect Jobs and Keep Housing Affordable

AWARD-WINNING REPORTING: Last year, The Trust gave $50,000 to City Limits, a nonprofit news site covering the Bronx. Its stories about housing won a New York Press Club award. This year, we’ve giving City Limits another $50,000 to hire a full-time reporter to expand its housing coverage. Above: Flor Sanchez in his East Harlem apartment building, where many residents want to create permanent affordable housing. Photo by Adi Talwar/City Limits

As housing projects squeeze out manufacturing in places such as the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn and the Jerome Avenue corridor in the Bronx, rents rise and companies that build furniture or make specialty food or clothing are forced to move. 

“Even new affordable housing units—not just luxury condominiums—can end up pushing out residents’ jobs,” says Pat Swann, The Trust’s senior program officer for community development. 

We’re giving $130,000 to the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development to preserve light manufacturing jobs in poor neighborhoods. Last year, similar efforts helped persuade the City to give $150 million in grants and loans to nonprofits interested in buying or developing industrial real estate. 

Our funding also helps the Association work with community development and workforce groups to connect low-income residents to good jobs. 

Community development groups got their start when residential property was cheap and being abandoned in some neighborhoods. They took over management of these apartment buildings and provided affordable housing. Today, it’s difficult to find bargain-basement properties for renovation. And maintaining good-quality buildings with affordable rents can be difficult. Some buildings are run down,  and others may be sold to generate revenue. To make sure these building stay affordable and get the repairs they need, community development groups formed Joint Ownership Entity New York City. We’re giving $250,000 to the group to pool assets of its community development members, make structural improvements, and even acquire new properties. 

FIXING A BROKEN LAW: In 2009, Long Island passed a law intended to promote affordable housing, such as the Patchogue development shown below. Instead, the law perpetuates segregation and hurts the people it’s supposed to help. So says a report by the Center for Popular Democracy, funded by our Long Island Community Foundation. We’re now working with the Institute for Affordable Housing and other advocates to fix the law. For more information, visit 

Building Communities with Transit in Mind | A Plan to Reduce Your Commute

You wake up, roll out of bed, and zip to work. That’s the ideal scenario. Too often, though, the commute is convoluted and stressful. 

“A long morning commute is damaging to our physical health and the environment,” says Arturo Garcia-Costas, Trust program officer for the environment. 

That’s why, for years, The Trust has funded Smart Growth America, a coalition that presses the government to finance housing and commercial development near transit hubs. Its efforts, funded by two recent Trust grants, have paid off: A federal transportation law passed in 2015 provides funding for development projects, small and large, that surround transportation centers. 

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