Catholic Charities of New York’s New Affordable Housing in the Bronx Is Changing Lives

Tags: Currents Affordable Housing, Catholic, Catholic Charities, Catholic Church, Faith, Family, Housing, Inspiration, Second Farms

By Emily Drooby

The most important thing in the world to Tameca Gather are her three kids. So when a dangerous situation forced her family into the shelter system, she was devastated.

“It was depressing, it was really depressing,” Tameca said. “I used to cry every day and blame myself for the situation I got into, for my children, for me to end up in the shelter.”

They didn’t have a reliable place to call home.

“A lot of days we didn’t have no heat, when it was like two degrees outside, we didn’t have no heat,” she said. “I had to boil water for my kids to stay warm. My kids, I had to buy blankets. I had to go to my mom’s house to buy a space heater. It was really cold and we had to suffer.”

Now, Tameca and her family don’t have to suffer. That’s because she’s the new owner of an apartment at Catholic Charities of New York’s new housing complex in the Bronx.

“I love my apartment, I would not trade it for nothing in the world,” said Tameca.

The mother of three now has a safe, clean and affordable place for her family to call home.

Second Farms is housing for low-income families. It has 319 units, with 38 units reserved for people who were homeless. They have a community room, a laundry room, a daycare room, a fenced in courtyard, and soon, they’ll even have their own supermarket.

Thousands of people applied to live in this building. Right now, it’s only one-third of the way full, but they’re sorting through applications as more applications are underway.

“I mean the average rent now in the Bronx is like $2,000 a month for a one bedroom,” explained Renee Lopez, senior case manager for Catholic Charities Of New York. Her office is in the building.

“So now, they’re able to move to an apartment that’s so much more affordable for them, where they can work, bring their children to the daycare, go to the supermarket,” Renee said.

Rent is already high for many, but the pandemic and the rampant unemployment has made it even worse. An estimated 1.2 million households are at-risk of eviction in New York State, according to financial service consulting firm, Stout.

This building, which took two years to build, is helping to relieve that financial burden for families like Tameca’s.

“I’ve been praying so hard because I was in the [housing] system for like three years,” Tameca said, “And I prayed and I swear, God answered my prayers.”