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Bridge Street Development Corporation

Stories of Impact

Courtesy Bridge Street Development Corporation

Brooklyn’s lack of affordable housing and economic insecurity is a source of hardship for everyone in the borough, from young families to older adults. While demands for affordable housing have steadily increased, its supply continues to shrink. From 2010 to 2020, for example, the population of Brooklyn grew by 230,000 while only 79,000 new housing units were added.

In Central Brooklyn communities, three-quarters of residents are renters with over 55% of them being rent burdened (which means they devote more than 30% of their income to rent), while Black homeownership rates continue to decline across the borough. As housing costs skyrocket, low-to-moderate income Brooklynites, particularly families and older adults on a fixed income, are facing tough decisions and tradeoffs between spending on rent, food, transportation, or healthcare.

> 55% of renters in Central Brooklyn are rent burdened

Fortunately, Bridge Street Development Corp. provides a lifeline for people and small businesses alike who are struggling to make ends meet. Since 1995, Bridge Street has been continuously serving the Bedford Stuyvesant and Central Brooklyn communities, standing at the intersection of education, housing, social services, and community engagement — with an emphasis on low-to-moderate income residents. Through its work, Bridge Street hopes to preserve Bedford-Stuyvesant and adjacent neighborhoods and maintain community members’ ability to  raise families, own businesses, and take part in the rich cultural, spiritual, and recreational opportunities in the places they call home.

“Despite the worrisome trends we’re all seeing, I am continually encouraged and inspired by the spirit of community and resiliency that resides within the people of Central Brooklyn,” Gregory Anderson, Bridge Street’s President and CEO, said.

Bridge Street’s initiatives range widely to include housing development, community engagement, economic development, and elder services. At the heart of the organization is its motto, “Building on Community Strength,” which emphasizes that the most effective way to improve a community is to develop and promote local assets, including people, homes, businesses, and organizations.

With a spirit of collaboration as its guide, Bridge Street has been building partnerships with businesses, government, and other community stakeholders to address the issues most pressing for Central Brooklyn communities. To date, Bridge Street has developed over 600 units of affordable housing for rental and homeownership, and is involved with several real estate initiatives designed to develop affordable rental and homeownership housing and to preserve and improve existing housing and services for older adults throughout Brooklyn. In addition to creating material solutions to housing challenges, Bridge Street also hopes to shift how we understand affordable housing by redefining what affordability means for our communities.

Support from Brooklyn Org has also helped Bridge Street run its 92-unit Quincy Senior Residences, an affordable independent living building for older adults. This living community bolsters the wellbeing of its residents through a diverse array of health and wellness, educational, social, and recreational programming for community members.

“There’s really no overstating the importance of donor support for nonprofits,” Anderson shared. “Receiving backing from the broader community is indispensable to the nonprofit community, especially as they aim to increase their scope to meet the ongoing needs of the community and the individuals who live in them.”

Despite the worrisome trends we’re all seeing, I am continually encouraged and inspired by the spirit of community and resiliency that resides within the people of Central Brooklyn. Gregory Anderson, President and CEO, Bridge Street Development Corporation

Bridge Street is also at the front lines of combating rising levels of economic insecurity across New York City — an issue that falls starkly along racial lines. In the first quarter of 2023 alone, the unemployment rate for Black New Yorkers rose to 12.2%, while the unemployment rate for white New Yorkers dropped to 1.3%. Even for community members who are employed, challenges persist: Small business owners are haunted by a lack of access to capital, and have been struggling to stay afloat since the COVID-19 pandemic.

To combat the hardships facing Brooklyn’s communities, Bridge Street is focused on the future and is dedicated to channeling the most innovative solutions at its disposal. This will include everything from youth and workforce development initiatives to technical assistance for predominantly BIPOC and woman-owned businesses, and everything in between.

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