Port Jervis Head Start
Port Jervis, NJ
Head Start is designed to serve low-income children and their families, providing the academic, social and emotional support necessary for school readiness. Leviticus’ quick turnaround with a $359,000 loan guaranteed that this almost 55-year-old program maintained easy-access, quality childcare for its ethnically diverse community.
“RECAP and PACER are distinct nonprofits that have worked together for a long time. RECAP knew it needed a new location for its Head Start facility in Port Jervis, and PACER fulfilled that role by buying property, getting the financing through Leviticus, improving the site, securing all city approvals and providing a long-term lease to RECAP.
“Our program was in a church’s basement-level space that had particle-board divider walls between classrooms and offices, so privacy was a challenge when meeting with families. There also were no classroom bathrooms for the children. A great impact of the new interior is that each classroom has bathrooms and sinks, which is a huge advantage for health, safety and daily routines like brushing teeth and washing hands. Transitions are a challenging part of the day for preschoolers, so now the children can go to the bathroom as needed without a drastic transition to stop learning.
“The facility has a new, larger heating and cooling system and more natural light. The new playground is modern, with a perimeter fence for the children’s safety. The building, the former office of a well-known local doctor, had just enough space for our current program with three to five-year-olds. The new facility is bright and welcoming and the children know this is a safe place where they will have warm, nutritious meals, see their friends and their teachers. Creating a consistent routine is critical for children at this age.
“With time short, Leviticus quickly became our top option for financing. If the loan had not gone through, we would have stayed at the church, but it was a tricky situation. The church wanted the space and the rent would have been raised to the point where the program would have lost money. It truly was the kind of project that I think long-term saved the program in Port Jervis.”
Senior Housing Developer, RECAP, Inc.
Senior Director of Early Childhood Development, RECAP Head Start
Port Jervis head start at a Glance
OnTECH Charter Public School
In a city with a 32% poverty rate, OnTECH is a start-up community charter public school that is nurturing the academic literacy of 170 at-risk students and providing a clearer pathway to graduation. A $2.3 million loan to Building Hope, a nonprofit promoting charter school education, supported acquisition and development of OnTECH’s new campus facility. Partners for the Common Good, a D.C.-based CDFI, purchased a $1 million participation in Leviticus’ loan.
“OnTECH gives young people a second chance to redefine themselves as students and to change their mindset about how they learn and what they can accomplish. We have been very successful in serving this group by offering a nurturing community where students gain the confidence they need to give school a second chance. We have consistent focus every day on core subject matters, which is critical when you have students who are reading at lower reading levels. We also have a year-round, quarter-schedule program so students garner credits quicker at OnTECH then they would in a typical traditional semester high school program.
“Our school also creates different career pathways relevant to local industries in upstate New York, such as environmental science, renewable energy and animal behavior. We offer job and volunteer connections in the community and are successful in getting kids to think about the myriad of employment and career opportunities.
“The biggest piece of how we teach is the engagement: getting students to re-engage with learning, to identify with being a student and getting involved in designing many aspects of the school. We call this student-centered social design. This is empowering for our students. They develop a voice that says ‘I can make a difference in my community. I have the ability to make a change and control my life.
“You cannot undervalue groups like Building Hope and Leviticus that support independent charter schools in smaller towns like Syracuse. When we think of funding charter schools, we think of funding programs in big cities and not of small towns that need help and need it quickly. What was amazing about Leviticus was that you were willing to get behind a community school in our city and take that risk. It was major and very much appreciated from our end.”
Ellen Eagen, Founder and Board Chair
OnTECH Charter High School, Syracuse, NY
OnTech Charter Public School at a Glance
Through our Project Start Fund, Leviticus is supporting the second phase of RUPCO’s expansive Newburgh Progress development, a multi-site revitalization project in the city’s distressed East End Neighborhood. RUPCO is one of the Hudson Valley’s leading affordable housing providers and its work in Newburgh expands its impact throughout the region.
“RUPCO was established in 1981 and, for many years, our focus was Ulster County. The work in Newburgh is our first real estate development project outside of Ulster. Phase One involved the rehab of 15 abandoned properties in the East End and created 45 affordable apartments.
“After Phase One was completed, Leviticus reached out to advise us they had received funding earmarked specifically for residential rehab work within the city of Newburgh that offered a lower interest rate. We used that capital to cover a lot of the soft costs for our second phase, Newburgh Progress, specifically for architectural fees, market studies environmental reports, surveys, permits, and application fees.
“Newburgh Progress is in the predevelopment phase and features the rehab of 10 vacant residential buildings and the construction of 12 new residential buildings in a four-square block area and will produce 62 units of housing, including 10 supportive housing units for the formerly homeless. It also will transform the former, vacant First United Methodist Church and an adjoining building into a community center with a focus on job training and day care.
“City of Newburgh residents have been outspoken about how much they enjoyed the first phase of our work. A small group of residents came to a 2018 zoning board meeting that included properties for Phase Two – to speak in support of this project. It spoke volumes that they took time out of their lives to be present and show support. Some stated that they loved the fact that there is just so much more life in their community.”
Chief Financial Officer, RUPCO
Real Estate Project Manager, RUPCO
Newburgh Progress at a Glance
of affordable and supportive housing + Community center and daycare
90 Sands Street
Support from Leviticus is helping nonprofit developer Breaking Ground transform an empty building in downtown Brooklyn into much-needed supportive housing and affordable rental housing. Established in 1990, Breaking Ground operates nearly 4,000 units of housing in New York City, upstate New York, and Connecticut.
“The building at 90 Sands Street had been a hotel residence operated by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and had been vacant for about a year when we acquired it in 2018. The main focus of our work is supportive housing, and the rehab of this 30-floor tower provides an exciting opportunity for us to create nearly 500 units of supportive and affordable housing.
“During the predevelopment phase of projects, we encounter substantial fees associated with architectural design and engineering that are difficult for a nonprofit to cover without assistance. The Leviticus loan has been critical for getting the rehab design done so we can proceed to the construction loan closing.
“This is our first project with Leviticus. Their staff was very responsive and efficient in answering our questions, getting the predevelopment loan closed, and disbursing the funds.
“We expect to begin construction in the summer of 2020 and complete the project by the end of 2021. Once the rehab is finished, 90 Sands Street will provide housing for 305 formerly homeless tenants with chronic mental illness, and will include social services onsite. An additional 192 units will be created for households ranging from very low- to moderate-income. There also will be a unit for the superintendent and a community room, fitness room, computer room, and laundry on the lower floors.
“Bringing such a large number of units of housing online will make a significant contribution to Breaking Ground’s mission of ending homelessness. We are very grateful to Leviticus for their support.”
Senior Project Manager
90 Sands Street at a Glance
of affordable and supportive housing
Jersey City, NJ
The historic Bergenview Apartments is an essential resource for supportive housing for communities in Jersey City. The multi-phase renovation plans by The Community Builders (TCB) will safeguard this community asset and provide critical housing and support for the most vulnerable.
“Bergenview Apartments is located on a historic YMCA campus at the heart of the Bergen-Lafayette historic district. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. That same year, TCB purchased the Bergenview and completed a historic rehab, including converting it from a 210-unit single-room occupancy building into 131 single-rooms and studios, with 100 percent serving formerly homeless individuals.
“In 2019, we began rehabbing the Bergenview again, converting the rest of the single-room units into brand-new studio apartments and taking care of parts of the building that had fallen into disrepair. That is where Leviticus came in. The Bergenview had a very old oil boiler system that was connected to the rest of the YMCA campus. Given the state of the boiler, we needed to do emergency repairs and could not wait until we closed on the rest of our project financing.
“Leviticus really stepped up. They provided a very sizeable predevelopment loan so that we could undertake the emergency rehab and convert the oil boiler into a gas-operated boiler and move it into the cellar of the building. This has allowed the Bergenview Apartments building to become a more sustainable project because we are relying on gas instead of oil.
“It is also allowing us to move forward in 2020 with the second phase of the YMCA campus rehab, which is to demolish the old gym and the racquetball court, preserve the historic pool building, and build a residential tower with 92 units of mixed-income housing.
“Leviticus played a really important role in the success of the overall rehab project. TCB has a very, very close relationship with Leviticus, and they have been a pretty amazing resource on all of the projects we have done with them.”
Development Project Manager
The Community Builders