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Reentry Resource Center - New York

Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

How The Fortune Society Achieved a Triple Bottom Line with Castle Gardens (The Fortune Society)

  • Organization: The Fortune Society
  • Date Created: Monday, June 18, 2012
  • Submitted: Monday, June 25, 2012
  • Attachment(s): PDF

In July 2010, The Fortune Society, a New York City based non-profit that has served individuals with criminal justice histories since its founding in 1967, opened the doors to Castle Gardens, an approximately 110,000 square foot green, mixed use - affordable and supportive - housing development in West Harlem.

The state-of-the-art, green building includes a green roof space, several community meeting spaces, a library and a computer lab.

In five years, Fortune and its development team took Castle Gardens from project idea, to raising approximately $43 million dollars, to opening the doors to 114 apartments and a service center. Significantly, the project accomplished three goals - its "triple bottom line":

Housing and supportive services for Fortune's client population;
A financially sustainable building and services; and
Benefit to the local community.

One of several Fortune Society toolkits, this publication highlights Fortune's experiences in each of the four phases in the development of Castle Gardens:

Pre-Development Planning: Insight into Fortune's analysis of its capacity to undertake the housing project; its early brainstorming process including two feasibility studies; and its pre-development engagement with the Board and the local community.

Project Financing: This section details Fortune's capital sources of funding, including low income housing tax credits and other government and private revenue streams for supportive and affordable housing. The section describes how Fortune accessed the various funding streams by building and leveraging relationships, working with the local community and coordinating funders.

Construction: While construction management will vary site to site, this section provides Fortune's suggestions for managing risk as a social service agency during the construction phase, including how not to erode hard-won community support with construction-related disruptions to its neighbors.

Moving In: This section describes Fortune's operations and service plans, and the ongoing funding necessary for Castle Gardens. It also describes how Fortune managed its complex lease-up process, which required juggling affordable and supportive housing funders' eligibility requirements and timelines. Finally, the section briefly describes Castle Gardens' building management.

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