Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, marked Holy Thursday by blessing the newly opened Second Farms housing complex in the Bronx.
The 319-unit affordable building, developed by Catholic Homes New York, in collaboration with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, is located at 1932 Bryant Avenue in West Farms. Residents are moving in over the coming weeks.
The Cardinal was joined by Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of NY, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Councilman Rafael Salamanca and Second Farms residents. The Cardinal also toured the apartments, met with residents and attended an on-site food distribution of 2,250 meals.
“On this Holy Thursday as we anticipate Good Friday and Easter, boy is it a very high honor to be able to bless this new development,” Dolan stated.
He stressed how important it was for Catholic Charities to provide homes for people in the community. Especially, now during a pandemic when people are struggling more than ever.
During the past year, he has been to groundbreakings and food distributions and has seen the difference that food and housing make in people’s lives.
Diaz thanked Dolan for coming and praised Catholic Charities for their leadership in the community.
“Catholic Charities under the leadership of Monsignor Sullivan and so many others, you exemplify something that my father taught me at a young age, you cannot be a good Christian unless you are a good citizen,” Diaz said. “This is about families being able to call this their home. This is a piece of a larger puzzle to make the Bronx better.”
One person who can attest to the work of Catholic Charities is Nelly Perez, a resident in Second Farms. Perez, who was quite emotional when she spoke, thanked the nonprofit and stressed how welcome she feels in the building.
“I have a wonderful home here,” she said. “I don’t have to worry about things like before when we were struggling and homeless. This is a new start for us.”
Second Farms has 38 units for formerly homeless families and features on-site supportive services for residents, including a daycare facility that will support working families in need of accessible care for their young children and a ground floor grocery store, which provides much-needed access to fresh food in an area widely considered to be a food desert.
Since March 2020 more than 8 million meals have been provided to hungry New Yorkers through Catholic Charities network of 40 agency pantries, community kitchens, home delivered meals, special requests, pop-up pantries and partner programs.