Addressing a Critical Need

Combining Community, Beauty, and Affordability

img_1161“Oh my gosh, look at the windows! And the tile! And even the faucet… it’s beautiful!” Miranda Lebron was brimming with excitement the first time she saw what is soon to become her very first apartment.

Miranda, 20, is moving into one of 12 studio apartments designated for foster care or homeless youth on the top two floors of our soon-to-open Harlem building. This innovative project blends community, beauty, and affordability with rents as low as $165 per month. The idea is to make them affordable even for young people trying to avoid dependence on social services. Called Inwood House, the youth apartments address critical barriers to independence — housing and a community of support.

While the rents are low, furnishing the apartment is another hurdle. Thanks to the DARMA Fund and other generous donors, each of the residents will receive a gift card to purchase some of the things they need. When Miranda heard this news, she was doubly excited and has already picked out her mattress.

Miranda has been in foster care since she was 14 years old. Like with any young adult, moving into her own apartment is an exciting step.

“It’s a big change. I’m excited for the little things, like going food shopping and cooking in my own kitchen. I can’t wait to have the freedom to cook whatever I want!”

A full-time student at Queensboro Community College, Miranda switched her major from interior design to nursing out of a desire to help others. She’s already certified in phlebotomy and EKG testing and hopes to one day work in the emergency room or in a triage unit.

“I want to become so successful that I can give back to people who have the struggles I grew up with. Helping kids in my predicament is my biggest goal.”

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In addition to being a fulltime student, Miranda recently switched from a part-time to a full-time job to help her save money for move-in day. She works the overnight shift at a major women’s clothing store near Rockefeller Plaza as part of the visual design team.

“I’m living in Far Rockaway now, so getting to school and my job will be much faster from Harlem. This apartment is opening up so much opportunity for me! Everything is going to grow from this.”

 

The new building is located at 2139 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, on the corner of 127th Street. It includes 60 affordable apartments (12 for foster and homeless youth) as well as offices for CV and our partner Harlem Dowling, a clinic for foster families, and a food pantry. The Grand Opening is tentatively scheduled for February.

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