The Jennings creates safe, permanent, affordable housing for homeless domestic violence survivors and their families. It is owned and operated by a non-profit organization dedicated to serving this population and which develops supportive housing to provide residents with the platform to live stable, violence-free lives. This project not only addresses the leading cause of homelessness in New York City – domestic violence – but also establishes a striking architectural statement on an intersection in The Bronx that was completely destroyed in the 1970’s.
The Jennings provides 42 affordable apartments ranging in size from one- to three-bedrooms. Twenty-three are set-aside for homeless domestic violence survivors. On-site services for residents include counseling, case management, children and family programming, and job readiness coaching to foster housing stability and safety. Amenities include a multi-purpose program space, staff offices, a library/computer room, secure landscaped courtyard with a children’s play area, and laundry room. The neighborhood is well-served by public transportation, critical for accessing employment opportunities, as well as daycare and after school programs that support parents and enable children to thrive.
The design was firstly informed by a thorough understanding of the residents’ needs cultivated through interviews with the client as well as residents and case managers of similar facilities. The building site and typology were analyzed through an historical and contextual standpoint and refined in conjunction with the client to ensure the end result was as expected.
Domestic violence is the leading generator of family homelessness in New York City. Low-income domestic violence survivors often face the choice of becoming homeless or remaining in a potentially dangerous situation. After a maximum six-month stay at a shelter, most survivors leave still homeless and at continued risk of abuse. Few can find a safe, affordable apartment. Some stay temporarily with family and friends or end up in the general homeless system. Many return to the abuser. Even if they do secure permanent housing, their housing stability can be impacted by the trauma they have experienced from both homelessness and domestic violence. The Jennings’ on-site services help survivors address issues such as safety planning, job training, parenting and budgeting that help them remain stable, unified and violence-free over time.
High quality, affordable housing is critical for a healthy community. It can bring stability and new opportunity to the people who call it home and to the community at large. Housing can also be a sanctuary that provides people with a safe environment where they can build stability and live with dignity. With 42 affordable units, and 23 units for previously homeless survivors of domestic violence, The Jennings fills this need and will be a resource of affordable housing for the community for years to come. The building employs four full-time staff: two social workers, the superintendent and a porter.