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SNF Grant Helps Bring Free Wi-Fi Access to Bronx Commons Residents

The National Herald

NEW YORK -- The Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s (SNF) Global COVID-19 Relief Initiative continues to make a difference in people’s lives worldwide, including in the South Bronx where the SNF grant will help bring free broadband internet access to the residents of Bronx Commons, 443 East 162nd Street in the Melrose Commons neighborhood, Patch.com reported on Feb. 3.

“The South Bronx nonprofit Women's Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco) and BFC Partners announced that they have fully leased the 305 affordable housing units at its award-winning Bronx Commons mixed-use development, which opened— and started accepting new tenants— in February 2020 at the beginning of the COVID pandemic,” Patch reported.

“Located in the South Bronx's Melrose Commons neighborhood, Bronx Commons is a 12-story, 100 percent affordable building with studio, one-, two-, and three- bedroom apartments serving formerly homeless families and individuals, including victims and survivors of domestic violence, as well as low- and moderate-income households earning between 30 percent and 110 percent of area median income,” Patch reported.

"The COVID pandemic and economic crisis have deepened the already-critical need for quality, affordable housing in the South Bronx. At Bronx Commons, we are meeting that need for hundreds of low-income families and individuals who were at risk of displacement, helping them to stay in their community and thrive," said Davon Russell, President of WHEDco, Patch reported.

"Fully leasing up this project is a major milestone, especially during a pandemic, and shows what an indispensable addition it is to the community," said Donald Capoccia, Principal of BFC Partners, Patch reported. "Our hope is that the Bronx Commons becomes a model for affordable mixed-use developments in the City and serves as a haven for residents who have been most affected by the pandemic."

“In December 2020, Bronx Commons was selected from among 55 submissions as the winner of the New York Housing Conference's 2020 Community Impact Competition, which recognizes affordable housing developments that epitomize high standards in design, health, environmental sustainability, and affordability, and that have positively impacted their communities during COVID-19,” Patch reported.

“Bronx Commons' on-site amenities supporting community wellness include a fitness center, bike parking, a green roof, a rooftop garden, and the largest solar panel array on any multifamily building in the Bronx,” Patch reported.

“In 2021, with emergency response support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation's (SNF) global COVID-19 relief initiative, WHEDco will bring free Wi-Fi to all Bronx Commons residents as part of a commitment to provide free broadband internet access to all tenants at its three affordable housing developments in the South Bronx, fostering residents' ability to learn and work remotely, and access essential health and financial resources that support their well-being,” Patch reported.

Bronx Commons “will also feature a 150-seat, New York City Department of Education-operated 3-K program, street-facing commercial space for small businesses and community programming, and the Melrose Community Access Support and Training (CAST) Center, a 2,200 square-foot hub for small business, family support services, and community engagement,” Patch reported.