New supportive housing residence opens in the South Bronx for at-risk youth aging out of foster care and formerly homeless adults

NEW YORK, – October 22, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Occupancy draws near to 100% this month at the newly opened Wales Avenue Residence in the South Bronx. The new building, with stepped massing echoing the two populations housed within, is a seven story masonry bearing wall construction featuring a sophisticated gray brick facade accented with lively blue glazed brick, metal panels and large windows in each unit. A landscaped yard accommodates each population in defined areas.

It was designed by Gran Kriegel Associates, Architects + Planners for Volunteers of America-Greater New York, with funding provided in part by the New York State Office of Mental Health. Gran Kriegel is a New York-based architectural firm specializing in supportive housing, educational facilities, and public projects rooted in growing and maintaining the civic good.
Wales Avenue Residence serves as a supportive housing facility for two distinct populations in need: young adults living with behavioral health issues who are aging out of foster care and at risk of homelessness, and chronically homeless adults struggling with mental illness or substance use issues. The 47 efficiency apartments and 10 two-bedroom units can accommodate a total of 67 individuals who will also have on-site access to social services geared toward improving residents’ quality of life. The facility also provides lounge areas for residents, common dining room, teaching kitchen, computer classroom, counseling rooms, administrative offices, a recreation room, laundry facilities, and two roof terraces.

Following a model proposed by the New York State Office of Mental Health, the building is organized as two distinct facilities under one roof – one to serve each resident population. A daylight-filled lobby welcomes residents and directs each to his or her respective wing, served by separate elevators. Each group has access to lounge areas with floor-to-ceiling windows, and apartments are also separated by group-specific floors to best serve the unique needs of each population.

Color both inside and out creates a vibrant atmosphere throughout the building: a blue glazed brick features prominently on the builder’s exterior, accent tiles breathe life into the floors and walls of the corridors, and resident lounges are brightly painted. Within the individual apartments a more restrained palette comes into play, with sophisticated dark wood floors and cabinetry, neutral tile, and paint tones more reminiscent of market-rate than supportive housing. The units are designed to feel spacious and peaceful, with open kitchens and large windows.

Volunteers of America furnishes each unit and equips it with linens, cooking and cleaning supplies for the residents.

A landscaped rear yard offers space for relaxation for both resident groups and raised planting beds to accommodate community gardening. The roof terraces provide additional space for socialization.

Gran Kriegel designed the building for the Greater New York affiliate of Volunteers of America, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that helps over 2 million people each year, including veterans, at-risk youth, frail elderly, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, people with disabilities, and those living with behavioral health issues.

Subconsultants included: Silman (structural engineering); Dagher Engineering (MEP + Fire Protection); Elizabeth Kennedy Landscape Architecture; Michael Wein, PE (civil engineering); and Skolodz & Associates (food services). The general contractor on the project was Sisca Northeast.

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About Gran Kriegel Associates
Gran Kriegel Associates is a full-service architecture and planning firm founded in New York City in 1965. The firm has a robust history of designing for children and families as exemplified in our extensive portfolio of educational and supportive housing projects. Our full portfolio ranges from public sector work to nonprofit projects, community centers, corporate interiors, military installations, and private homes. In addition to architectural design services, Gran Kriegel Associates offers programming, feasibility analysis, historic analysis and preservation, interior design, and urban planning.
Learn more at grankriegel.com.

About Volunteers of America
Volunteers of America has been at the forefront of social service for nearly 120 years, helping individuals and families in need overcome obstacles to living safe, healthy and productive lives in the community. Across the country, 2 million people in 400 communities in 46 states feel the impact of Volunteers of America’s work every year. Locally, tens of thousands of men, women and children in need benefit from Volunteers of America’s life-changing, often lifesaving work including the homeless, families affected by domestic violence, children with special needs, adults living with HIV/AIDS, behavioral health or substance use issues, at-risk youth, veterans struggling to find their footing and the frail elderly. Learn more at www.voa-gny.org.

GRAN KRIEGEL ASSOCIATES
ARCHITECTS + PLANNERS
29 Broadway, New York, NY 10006

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