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Kelly Magee

Owners launch fund to keep New Yorkers in their homes

An image of the West 107th building with Project Parachute logo
in: Real Estate Weekly on: May 14, 2020

Some of the city’s largest property owners have created a new fund to help keep vulnerable New Yorkers impacted by the Covid-19 crisis in their homes.

Called Project Parachute, the fund has been launched with $4 million in contributions from companies including LeFrak, Durst, Resnick and Rose.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on New York. As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, the real estate industry is focused on helping those in need,” said James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, which is supporting the fund’s efforts.

“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. This is a step in the right direction and REBNY is proud to work with this coalition to help vulnerable New Yorkers.”

When Gov. Cuomo lifts the state’s eviction moratorium, thousands of New Yorkers are going to be faced with intense pressure to settle outstanding rents and a social support system completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the coronavirus crisis.

Project Parachute aims to address both of those issues- landlords are pledging to work directly with their own tenants to keep them in their homes and donating millions of dollars to fund front-line social service workers providing rental assistance counseling that will be available to any New Yorker.

The philanthropic fund will be independently coordinated and managed by Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit organization focused on affordable housing.

Enterprise will in turn directly grant philanthropic dollars to experienced human services nonprofits across the city, enabling them to reach more low-income New Yorkers impacted by Covid-19.

The Project aims specifically to reach those who have limited or no access to government resources, including undocumented immigrants and shadow economy workers. The Project also seeks to support those New York City communities hit disproportionately hard by the Covid pandemic, including Black and Latino communities.

“We have one common purpose in this moment: keeping New Yorkers in their homes,” said Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader of Enterprise Community Partners.

“Project Parachute is one of many steps needed towards providing vital resources to tenants, especially the unserved and underserved. 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.”

New Yorkers stand in line waiting for COVID-19 assistance.

New Yorkers stand in line waiting for COVID-19 assistance.

In addition to making a philanthropic donation to support the rapid scaling-up of community-based rental assistance counseling, each property owner-member of Project Parachute has pledged to:

Work with tenants impacted as a result of COVID on an individual basis to establish payment plans and waive fees with an emphasis on housing stability and keeping tenants in place in their homes;

Proactively communicate with and connect tenants to community-based rental assistance and counseling services.

“In a time of crisis when some are advocating the tired, old rhetoric of landlord versus tenant, it is heartening to see this broad coalition of housing providers working together to offer real assistance and hope to our city’s most vulnerable tenants,” said Rafael E. Cestero, President & CEO of The Community Preservation Corporation.

“This assistance will help keep families in their homes and provide for the support and other services that can bring stability and peace of mind during these unprecedented times.”

“As we continue to advocate for comprehensive federal rent relief, NYSAFAH members are working tirelessly with public and private partners on additional steps to protect residents impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Jolie Milstein, president and CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing. “Project Parachute is an incredible team effort that will help keep New Yorkers in their homes and deliver much-needed resources to non-profits and service providers that are so crucial to sustaining our communities at this challenging time.”

Philanthropic funders, nonprofit and industry supporters of Project Parachute include:

  • Anonymous Property Owner
  • A&E Real Estate
  • Algin Management
  • Arker Companies
  • Artimus Associates LLC
  • Beam Living, a Blackstone portfolio company
  • Belveron Partners
  • Benenson Capital Partners
  • BFC Partners
  • Breaking Ground
  • BronxWorks
  • Brookfield Properties
  • BRP Companies
  • Building Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
  • Building Trades Employers Association
  • Camber Property Group
  • Catholic Charities Community Services
  • Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens
  • Chinese-American Planning Council
  • Community Preservation Corporation
  • Douglaston Development
  • Dunn Development Corp.
  • Enterprise Community Partners
  • Equity Residential
  • Extell Development Company
  • Fairstead
  • Fetner Properties
  • Fisher Brothers
  • Global Holdings
  • Gotham Organization
  • Hudson Companies
  • Jack Resnick & Sons
  • Jonathan Rose Companies
  • L & M Development Partners
  • Lalezarian Properties
  • LeFrak
  • LIHC Investment Group
  • MDG Design + Construction
  • Metropolitan Realty Group LLC
  • NY State Association for Affordable Housing
  • Omni New York
  • Park Tower Group
  • Phipps Houses
  • Procida Companies
  • Real Estate Board of New York
  • Related Companies
  • RiseBoro Community Partnership
  • Rose Associates
  • Rudin Management Company
  • Services for the UnderServed
  • Settlement Housing Fund, Inc.
  • Signature Urban Properties
  • Silverstein Properties
  • Taconic Partners
  • TF Cornerstone
  • The Brodsky Organization
  • The Durst Organization
  • The Moinian Group
  • Two Trees Management
  • 32BJ SEIU


Also see: LIHC Investment Group is a Gold Level Donor to Project Parachute.
Visit their website to learn more.

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