May 22, 2020
Since the COVID-19 pandemic spread to the U.S., New York City has been its epicenter. The city by itself has seen more cases than any of the 50 states, with the sole exception of New York State. It stands to reason that the city would also be the focal point of one of the largest private-sector efforts to address the crisis.
With membership ranging from nonprofits to some of the largest market-rate and affordable apartment landlords in the U.S., a coalition has formed to help keep economically-vulnerable New Yorkers in their homes. Known as Project Parachute, the philanthropic fund launched this month with an initial $4-million investment from property owners.
The fund will be independently coordinated and managed by nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners, which will design the program in collaboration with tenants and community-based organizations.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on New York,” said James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York. “As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, the real estate industry is focused on helping those in need. Project Parachute will provide organizations with more resources to provide more vulnerable tenants with rental assistance counseling to help ensure more New Yorkers can safely stay in their home.”
Enterprise Community Partners will directly grant philanthropic dollars to human services nonprofits across the city, with a focus on reaching those who have limited or no access to government resources, including undocumented immigrants and shadow economy workers. Project Parachute also seeks to support those New York City communities hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic, including black and Latino communities.
“We have one common purpose in this moment: keeping New Yorkers in their homes,” said Judi Kende, VP and New York market leader of Enterprise Community Partners. “Partnership between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors is critical, and we are thankful for the commitment of the nonprofits and property owners taking part in this important initiative.
“And, as we now face one of the biggest economic, health and housing crises in our lifetime, we commit to advocating for additional solutions, including federal funding for comprehensive rental assistance that will help ensure ongoing housing stability for both tenants and property owners,” Kende added.
The property owners who have stepped up to support the partnership represent a Who’s Who of New York City multifamily. They include: Arker Companies, Benenson Capital Partners, Brookfield Properties, Douglaston Development, Equity Residential, Extell Development Company, Fairstead, Fisher Brothers, Gotham Organization, Jack Resnick & Sons, LeFrak, Rose Associates, Rudin Management, Silverstein Properties, TF Cornerstone, The Brodsky Organization, The Durst Organization, The Moinain Group and Two Trees Management.
“In this time of crisis, collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking is needed to keep New Yorkers housed,” said Scott Short, CEO of RiseBoro Community Partnership, one of the service providers that will help steer outreach to at-risk renters. ”Project Parachute presents a unique opportunity to help poor renters avoid homelessness during the pandemic, especially those being left behind by federal stimulus such as undocumented workers.”
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Paul Bubny