Saturday, November 8, 2008

Who has been wondering about 169 Columbia street?

For the past year we have been wondering about what was being built at 169 Columbia street (three doors down from Degraw street). It turned into a yellow brick apartment building. We were sure it was going to be condos, but it is so much more.

This is a residential program owned and operated by the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, it holds 55 studio apartments to be used as permanent housing for homeless people. The goals of the project is to integrate their tenants into the community, stop the cycle of homelessness and enhance the tenants' ability to get education and job training.

It will be staffed by the program director, a live-in superintendent and porter, four case managers, six front desk staff who provide reception service, as well as two staff members on duty 24/7. All this to ensure that the tenants remain stable and maintain a good relationship with the community.

The tenant screening process is quite lengthy. All housing applications must be approved by the Human Resources Administration (HRA). The applications approved for independent living are then sent to PCMH central intake unit and a Masters level social worker conducts a comprehensive assessment to ensure the applicant is ready, willing and able to live at the residence. Those assessed as a good fit for the residence are then sent for a second interview with the program director. Twenty-two tenants will come from the community and thirty-three will be referred by the New York City Department of Homeless Services.

A wonderful project that fits perfectly in this time of change.

We wish them luck!

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