MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc. (“HCCI”), its Board of Directors, and its staff continue to positively impact Harlem and surrounding New York City neighborhoods. Governed by a committed and dedicated volunteer Board of Directors, HCCI has continued its work in Harlem and in other communities. I am proud to exclaim that HCCI is looking forward to providing increased opportunities for Harlem residents and other communities in need as we envision our next three decades. Under my tenure, HCCI has expanded to regional locations such as Newark, NJ, Baltimore, MD, Columbia, SC, Atlanta, GA, and Seattle, WA. This expansion will allow HCCI’s work to benefit low to moderate-income communities which were similar to Harlem in demographics at HCCI's inception.
HCCI was established in 1986 with the goal of sparking a renaissance in Harlem’s Bradhurst Neighborhood. Harlem was redlined, blacklisted, and set aside -- left to deteriorate in the hopelessness of drugs, poverty, disinvestment, crime, and despair. Despite these conditions, our faith leaders considered them temporary and presented a call for action to Harlem’s Churches and other faith’s Houses of Worship to effectuate a positive change in our beloved community.
HCCI has accomplishments that continuously resulted in community development in Harlem for over 34-years. Since its inception, HCCI has generated more than $ 225 million in operating revenues during its tenure as well as a capitalization of affordable housing investments of more than $ 550 million. HCCI currently manages over 2.250 million square feet of real estate in Harlem.
Harlem Business Development
HCCI can celebrate its many contributions to the village of Harlem through documented accomplishments. In thirty-two years, HCCI has created an 80-building affordable housing portfolio that yields more than 3,500 units of affordable housing along with many homeownership apartments. Our property portfolio includes over 70-retail stores in Harlem where landmark venues reside such as Settepani, Chocolat, Vinateria, Sexy Taco, ESO Harlem, Peque Vino, Popeyes 145th, Pathmark 145th, Raw Space, Grandma’s Toys, Mia’s Bathhouse for Pets, Silicon Harlem at HCCI Bradhurst, Mount Sinai-St. Luke’s Clinic, the Victoria Theater Housing Development Fund Corp 125th project, and many more. This demonstrates HCCI’s commitment and promise of community partnership with public, private, and small business communities to the benefit of the Harlem community and local residents.
In the area of real estate construction and preservation, in the last 10 years, HCCI has successfully preserved more than 1,500 apartments in collaboration with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”), New York State Housing and Community Renewal (“HCR”) and U.S. Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) housing preservation programs. In our affordable housing preservation strategy, HCCI has maintained its commitment to long-term Harlem residents by entering into 40-year regulatory agreements with federal, state, and local housing agencies to continuously preserve affordable housing and build newly constructed affordable housing units.
In 2018, we completed the rehabilitation of a 10-unit affordable Cooperative apartment building located on East 129th Street. I have stated previously, that HCCI will not rest until Harlem residents can permanently reside in this community without fear of being priced out.
Our current projects include:
135-unit Harlem senior housing project was completed in 2021.
3-Brownstones in the Marcus Garvey Park historic district with a target date of 2024.
75-unit Harlem affordable Cooperative housing rehabilitation with a target completion date of Fall 2024.
250 - Affordable Units supported by LIHTCs in Atlanta, GA in construction as of 2025
230+ Affordable Units supported by LIHTCs in Columbia, SC in construction as of 2025
Homeownership and Wealth Creation
HCCI's long-standing homeownership program serves the Harlem low to middle-income housing by providing proven strategies for homeownership opportunities. Our team of HUD-certified housing counselors supported by our financial partners have tutored over 2,500 households to realize the American dream of homeownership. HCCI has dedicated considerable effort to creating homeownership opportunities for existing and new Harlem residents.
Social & Human Services
The HCCI office of Health and Wellness Strategies was established to combat health disparities such as HIV, diabetes, and immunization coverage. HWS exists to improve the holistic wellness of the Harlem community and provides the most comprehensive and diversified spectrum of care possible through education, support services, referrals, and partnerships. HWS attempts to positively affect individual attitudes and norms by utilizing the institutions that community members already trust, namely congregations of faith-based groups and houses of worship. HCCI
works with these institutions to deliver an inspirational, motivational message that promotes the importance of wellness and affirms behavior that leads to wellness.
HCCI employs a cadre of social workers who provide case management services to formerly homeless households, including but not limited to individuals inflicted with HIV/AIDS, households with a history of chronic homelessness, senior housing, youth aging out of the foster care as well as daycare and after school programs.
Workforce services are offered including employment referrals. Wellness programs such as nutrition, cooking demonstrations, and health clinics in partnership with area hospitals Our case management services are available to over 3,000 HCCI resident households and all other community members.
COVID Relief, Research, and Partnerships
HCCI has been and continues to be at the forefront of the battle to eliminate the COVID-19 virus and its mental health impact on Harlem residents and communities beyond.
During the past year, HCCI has provided cooked food, water, produce, and groceries to our senior resident buildings, neighbors, healthcare workers, and first responders through various partnerships with elected officials – NYS Assembly members Inez Dickens and Alfred Taylor, local restaurants and businesses, faith communities and individuals wanting to contribute. We have distributed over 2,000 meals and groceries in the Harlem community to date. During this period of the worldwide pandemic, HCCI has received in-kind support which has been used to continue support services to the Harlem community.
In-kind Food & Grocery Contributions: Over 2,000 meals served
Assemblywoman Inez E. Dickens
Assemblyman Alfred Taylor – Assembly District 71
Assemblyman Carl E. Heastie – Assembly District 83
Mr. Harry & Mrs. Nadi Ghaness, H & N Insurance Agency & Financial Group, Inc.
C&C Property Managers
Evangel Christian Center - Rev. Carolyn Marko, Executive Pastor
Chocolat Restaurant & Lounge
NYC Department of Health
Mr. Pavan Lohia
**Mayor’s Center for Faith and Community Partnerships
HCCI & CUNY School of Public Health & Health Policy
CUNY – SPH will develop the Harlem Community Mental Health and Economic Empowerment Initiative to support greater awareness, community advocacy, and collaboration through a collaborative network consisting of CBOs, health organizations, service agencies, academic centers, community leaders, and members in Harlem to strengthen the community infrastructure for better coordination and integration of social, financial, and mental health services.
We will adapt an established evidence-based mental health task-shifting program to address COVID-related stressors and considerations, including financial stressors, interrupted grief, health management, and social distancing.
The CUNY Center for Innovation in Mental Health and the CUNY Harlem Health Initiative, in partnership with Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI), a longstanding leader in Harlem, will develop a capacity-building program to support task-shifting of basic evidence-based mental health support skills to trusted community providers. We will also pilot an integrated mental health and economic empowerment program called Harlem Strong to refine the intervention components and implementation strategies for wider implementation through churches and supportive housing in Harlem.
Victoria K. Ngo, PhD, Associate Professor & Director, CUNY Center for Innovation in Mental Health
Malcolm A. Punter, EdD, MBA, President & CEO of HCCI, Inc.
Deborah Levine, LCSW, ACSW, Director, CUNY Harlem Health Initiative
CUNY-SPH and HCCI continue to work in collaboration to submit a grant to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund the Harlem Strong Initiative. The grant application is pending.
New York University Langone Medical Center & HCCI
COVID-19 Vaccine Town Halls in partnership with Harlem Congregations for
Community Improvement, Inc. (HCCI) produced a series of educational panels to address vaccine hesitancy in the Harlem community,
English Town Hall: https://youtu.be/bHFKzy_dAa8
Spanish Town Hall: https://youtu.be/sS59SgQJHCY
English Town Hall: https://youtu.be/314FES0_pyI
Spanish Town Hall: https://youtu.be/YCKp3Dzbzic
The community partners for this initiative were Harlem Congregations for Community
Improvement (HCCI), Inc., Caring Kind, and the CUNY School of Public Health for their co-sponsorship.
NYU Grossman School of Medicine & HCCI ( RADx-UP phase I and RADx-UP phase II)
HCCI has partnered with NYUGSoM to provide guidance and expertise to connect Covid-19 testing education to NYCHA residents in Harlem. The research and initiative have been named RADx NYCHA Resident COVID Response project and to the development and implementation of the CHW intervention, which will include raising awareness of a menu of COVID-19 testing options tailored to NYCHA residents and with a Youth focus during the second phase. In developing the intervention, we are guided by principles of participatory research and health equity.
The core objectives include:
Bring greater awareness of COVID-19 among underserved individuals living in and around NYCHA housing who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic;
Contribute to an environment of respectful dialogue;
Treat residents of NYCHA with respect and dignity;
Equitable decision-making and direction/goal setting;
A shared goal of mobilizing the broader community to reduce COVID-related disparities
New York Presbyterian Hospital & HCCI
HCCI in addition to training key staff in the Test & Trace Corp curriculum, we are a community referral partner for the COVID-19 Vaccination effort. HCCI will be working with NYP to provide access to our Senior residents with vaccination appointment opportunities and follow-up services.
Columbia University School of Medicine & HCCI
HCCI continues to work collaboratively with our Harlem-based Mental Health professionals. Dr. Sidney Hankerson, MD, MBA continues to work closely with HCCI’s member Churches and Houses of Worship on mental health strategies for Harlem residents impacted by COVID-19 and other stressors.
The scope of this article can only present a brief summary of our accomplishments. However, as we continue to positively impact our community we appeal to our partners, supporters, and benefactors to continue to generously contribute to our vision for the future of Harlem. There is no contribution too small or too great. Your contributions will be used to achieve measurable impact designed to continue to economically revitalize our community.
Malcolm A. Punter, Ed.D., MBA
President & CEO
Revised as of 04.22.2022