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Comunilife holds ribbon cutting on El Rio Residence

New affordable and supportive apartment building opens in West Farms

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The opening of a new affordable apartment building in West Farms was celebrated at a ribbon cutting.

The 65-unit building, called the El Rio Residence, officially opened on Friday, April 8 at 1041 E. 179th Street.

Comunilife, a supportive and affordable housing developer, brought the project to fruition with funding from an array of sources.

According to Comunilife, El Rio includes 39 studio apartments with support services for people with special needs, and 26 studios for low-income residents.

A plethora of federal, city and state officials from offices including those of Governor Cuomo, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Borough President Ruben Diaz, all three of which contributed funding to the enterprise, took part in the grand opening celebration.

Some of the apartments in the building will go to people who were formerly homeless, and for those persons, supportive ‘wraparound’ services including mental health and education will be available, said Dr. Rosa Gil, Comunilife, president.

She added it took more than five years to develop a plan, arrange the financing and complete the construction.

The community has welcomed the project, said Gil.

“The community planning board was very receptive,” she said. “We are also engaged with other community-based organizations, with the churches, and they are welcoming.”

The organization remains strong in their commitment to increase the number of supportive housing apartments available for vulnerable populations who need it the most, said Gil.

Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene and Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda both attended the ribbon cutting.

The borough president’s office contributed $744,000 to the initiative in 2011, said Greene in her remarks.

“This is what we do in the Bronx,” she said in her comments. “We make sure that housing comes up, that is affordable even for the lowest income, and we strive to make sure that our communities are well-fortified to handle the services that are needed.”

In a statement, Borough President Daiz said that housing like El Rio are steps in the right direction towards greater affordability.

“This project will help improve the lives of many of our most vulnerable residents,” stated Diaz.

Representatives from Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Office of Mental Health, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Housing Preservation and Development, as well as the Comunilife board of directors, Red Stone Equity Partners and Community Board 6 all spoke during the grand opening program.

A resident already living in the building expressed her gratitude for being able to live there.

The building has a number of environmentally friendly features, including energy saving lighting and a high content of construction materials made from recycled products.

Amenities include a garden, community and laundry rooms and around-the-clock security.

To learn more about Comunilife, visit www. comunilife.org.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Posted 12:00 am, April 21, 2016
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