Cardinal Dolan blessed a new archdiocesan affordable housing site in the Bronx on Holy Thursday, April 1. The Second Farms building, which has 319 units, is located at 1932 Bryant Ave.
The project was overseen by Catholic Homes, the housing development office of archdiocesan Catholic Charities.
“One of the wonderful, splendid things that Catholic Charities does is that they do things in partnership,” said Cardinal Dolan at the site. “They don’t do it by themselves; they rally great people in an alliance of love and service.
“Remember that He (Jesus) washed the feet of his apostles as a sign of service and love, and solicitude and compassion. His Church continues to wash the feet of people through places like this. Housing and feeding are the works of Jesus, the works of His Church...Peace be with this house and all the good people who live here.”
During the blessing amid the cold drizzly morning, the cardinal said, “God has provided the holy water here. I’ll add a little bit.”
Afterward, the cardinal helped with food distribution, met with residents and toured the apartments. Also at the morning gathering were Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of archdiocesan Catholic Charities; Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx borough president; Rafael Salamanca Jr., New York City Council member for the 17th District; and Second Farms staff members.
Diaz and Salamanca offered words of accomplishment. They were instrumental in the allocation of City capital funding to assist with the project.
Organizers said 250 pre-packed bags of food, enough for 2,250 meals, were distributed.
Located in the West Farms neighborhood of the Bronx, Second Farms’ units are for low-income families and individuals. Thirty-eight units are set aside for formerly homeless families with onsite supportive services. Residents began moving into Seconds Farms in January. The building is close to one-third filled; officials expect 100 percent occupancy in the coming months.
Addressing hunger and food insecurity has long been vital to Catholic Charities’ work. 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.
Among the speakers was Nelly Perez. She and her family moved into one of the units for the formerly homeless.
“After struggling for six years to be stable in a home that is affordable to pay, I can finally say I have a wonderful home that’s beautiful inside and out,” Ms. Perez told those gathered. “I don’t have to worry about things that worried me before, when we were struggling and homeless...This is a new fresh start. I’m so thankful for all the help and support.”
Bladamir and Juana Francisco attended the gathering with their 7-year-old son, Ian. “We moved in about a month ago. This is very important to us; we are grateful,” Mrs. Francisco told Catholic New York, noting the good and compassionate works of the archdiocese through Catholic Charities.
Msgr. Sullivan, during the program, said, “This building was completed when New York was shut down. The Church, Catholic Charities, doesn’t have the option of shutting down, because every person is made in God’s image and likeness. And they (residents) are made in God’s image and likeness...We are so grateful to the partners who helped us achieve this significant milestone.”
Since the 1970s, archdiocesan Catholic Charities and parishes have developed more than 3,000 units of low-income and affordable housing throughout the five boroughs of New York City. In response to the tremendous need for affordable housing, the archdiocese continues to identify areas where existing properties can be developed as affordable housing.