Esterlina Fernandez, formerly homeless, expressed gratitude for her new home at the James Widener Ray Homes complex in Philadelphia at a March, 2012 ribbon cutting ceremony for the 53-unit apartment building. More than $9.2 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program 1 funds was invested into the rehabilitation of the multifamily building. The apartment complex provides permanent, supportive housing for formerly homeless men, women and children--including veterans--as well as for qualified low-income families from the Tioga area.
James Widener Ray Homes is the first development for the Middleton Housing Partnership. The Partnership supplied start-up capital funding that enabled Project H.O.M.E to access federal stimulus dollars. Ms. Fernandez and other formerly homeless individuals and families were able to move in thanks to a generous gift from the Raynier Foundation. The residence is named after the Foundation’s founder.
During the ribbon cutting, (from l to r) HUD Regional Administrator Jane C. W. Vincent, Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah and other project partners share a laugh after a humorous comment by Esterlina Fernandez at the podium.
| Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter hugs Esterlina Fernandez as the two of them, along with HUD Regional Administrator Jane C.W. Vincent and Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah, prepare to cut the ribbon on the James Widener Ray Homes apartments.|
Ms. Fernandez welcomed Mayor Nutter, HUD Regional Administrator Jane C.W. Vincent and other partners to her new home. To hear her story, view the YouTube video.
Residents are able to access the types of supportive services needed to stay on track and to regain the skills, independence and dignity they may have lost on the street. The project is a model for public-private partnerships to maximize federal resources in an effort to end homelessness.
HUD has made ending veteran’s homelessness by 2015 and ending homelessness among children, families and youth by 2020 top priorities. The 53-unit James Widener Ray Homes will help us move closer to those goals.
[Photos provided by Shira Yudkoff; YouTube footage provided by Human+Nature]