MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
A small group of visionaries were called to begin a process of community renewal. In the process, visionaries may not realize, in their time, the complete mission they are called to or the impact it will have. In a simplistic way, the impact that HCCI has had on the Harlem community was both visionary and unpredictable. That is typically how the call to leadership manifests itself. Leadership when it is true leadership, is visionary by definition, and its results are often unpredictable. However, the characteristic of a visionary organization is clear; it paves the way for future generations. HCCI has accomplished visionary leadership by leading in the community development arena in Harlem for over 32-years. HCCI has generating more than $ 200 million in operating revenues during its tenure as well as a capitalization of affordable housing investments of more than $ 350 million. HCCI currently manages over 1.750 million square feet of real estate in Harlem.
Leadership in Business
HCCI can celebrate its many contributions to the village of Harlem though documented accomplishments. In thirty-two years, HCCI has created an 80-building affordable housing portfolio that yields more than 3,000 units of affordable housing along with many homeownership apartments. Our property portfolio includes over 60-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 2016, we launched the HCCI Small Business Institute, which promotes entrepreneurship in the Harlem community. The SBI seminar provides prospective business owners with the tools to start and operate a small business. More than 100-prospective business owners participate in evening technical instruction classes, and we are proud to announce that many of these participants have taken the next steps in realizing the dream of business ownership.
HCCI incubated the Bradhurst Merchants Association, Inc. a membership trade organization located in the Bradhurst Urban Renewal Area. The goal of the BMA is to improve business conditions in the target area including but not limited to sanitation, lighting, streetscape and reduction in nuisances. The BMA has 50-member businesses and hold monthly meetings at HCCI offices.
Leadership in Housing
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 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 building 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, under my stewardship, HCCI will not rest until Harlem residents can permanently reside in this community with fear of being priced out.
Our current projects include:
3-Brownstones in the Marcus Garvey Park historic district with a target date of 2021.
75-unit Harlem affordable housing rehabilitation with a target completion date Fall 2020.
135-unit Harlem senior housing project with a target completion date of Spring 2021.
45-unit Newark, New Jersey with a target completion date of summer 2022.
Homeownership and wealth creation. HCCI long standing homeownership program serves the Harlem low to middle income housing by providing proven strategies to 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.
Leadership in Social-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 nutrition, cooking demonstrations, 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.
The scope of this article can only present a brief history 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.
Finally, I publicly want to thank the Reverend Dr. Charles A. Curtis, Ed.D., Pastor of the iconic Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Harlem for his twenty-three years of dedicate service including his ten-years of dedicated service as HCCI Board Chairman. Rev. Curtis’ leadership style is firm as a steady hand, and is greatly admired and appreciated by the staff of HCCI.
We welcome Dr. Joan O. Dawson, Ph.D., as our newly elected Board Chairperson. Dr. Dawson is an organizational expert and intellectual master. We look forward to her insight, her managerial acumen and her solution-based approach to corporate governance.
Malcolm A. Punter, MBA, Ed.D.
President & CEO
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 as we prepare to celebrate over three-decades of service to our beloved Harlem community. Governed by a committed and dedicated volunteer Board of Directors, HCCI has in place a spectrum of leadership required to continue its work in Harlem and in other communities. I am proud to exclaim that HCCI is looking forward to providing increasing opportunities for Harlem residents as we envision our next three decades.
HCCI was established in 1986 with the goal of sparking a renaissance of Harlem’s Bradhurst neighborhood. At the time 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 Houses of Worship to effectuate a positive change in our beloved community.