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Spotlight: Empowering Developers to Build Thriving Communities for At-Risk Populations

Sterling National Bank Promotes Affordable Housing Through Nearly $1B in Community Lending Since 2016

For years, access to affordable, high-quality housing has been a leading challenge faced in communities across Greater New York. According to the Office of the New York State Comptroller, in 2017 alone, nearly 2.8 million New York households—almost half of all renters and more than a quarter of homeowners—faced housing costs that were 30 percent or more of their income, a commonly accepted threshold for housing affordability. Even more troubling, nearly half of these—including more than one of every four renters—were “severely burdened” by housing costs that accounted for half or more of their income.

Recognizing the significant role affordable housing plays in helping local communities grow and thrive, Sterling National Bank has placed a strong emphasis on supporting innovative and impactful community development projects that confront affordability challenges head-on—particularly as they relate to groups increasingly vulnerable to access challenges.

“In order to truly thrive, it is critical that residents of all backgrounds and income levels have access to safe, inclusive, and affordable housing options without sacrificing access to the types of amenities and services—including convenient access to public transportation and health care services—that make communities desirable,” says K. James Dittbrenner, Senior Managing Director of Community Lending and Investment at Sterling National Bank. “We take great pride in collaborating with developers, municipal leaders, government bodies, and investors to make affordable housing without compromise a reality in neighborhoods throughout our service area.”

Since 2016, Sterling has lent more than $975mm to fund the creation of more than 3,600 affordable housing units throughout the bank’s service area through its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) efforts. In recognition of these efforts, the bank has been regarded as a leader in this arena in its CRA evaluations, conducted by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency every three years.

“Community development lending and investing has long been and continues to be a major part of our core culture at Sterling,” says Dittbrenner. “We are always striving to increase our investments in CRA programs, and even with our commercial focus we have demonstrated a strong ability to maintain a robust and dynamic CRA portfolio supported by focused, innovative community development strategies.”

Recent Spotlight Projects

While Sterling is involved in financing numerous affordable housing projects each year, four recent projects in particular are notable for their ability to support targeted low-income and at-risk populations with innovative structures that stand to have a transformative impact in their communities.

Supporting At-Risk Veterans

The Muller Residence – Bronx
muller residence picture
Developed in partnership by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and The Doe Fund—a renowned nonprofit organization dedicated to breaking the cycles of homelessness, addiction, and criminal recidivism—The Mueller Residence transforms the existing Sgt. Joseph A Muller Building Army Reserve Center into a 4-story mid-rise elevator serviced building consisting of 90 affordable studio units. Of these, more than half of the units will be subsidized and designated specifically for formerly homeless veterans enduring mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders.


Supporting LGBTQ Seniors

Crotona Park Pride House – Bronx
crotona park senior apartments picture
Developed out of a collaboration between HELP USA, a national non-profit developer of affordable and supportive housing, and SAGE, an advocacy group and service provider for LGBTQ Seniors, Crotona Park Pride House is a 7-story, elevator serviced residential building for LGBTQ seniors. In addition to providing affordable housing for lower income and homeless residents (26 dedicated units), the project is also the first and only housing marketed for LGBTQ elders in the Bronx. The project has fostered a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQ seniors to age-in-place, and who have often experienced housing discrimination or insecurity based on their sexual orientation.

Bay Shore Senior Residence – Long Island (Bay Shore/Suffolk)
bay shore senior apartments picture
Comprised of 75 residential rental units for income eligible seniors (generally 30%-60% of Area Median Income) aged 62 and older, Bay Shore Senior Residence will be the first and only housing exclusively for LGBTQ seniors in Suffolk County NY. Developed by D&F Development Group, LLC, the property will be marketed as LGBTQ friendly in order to serve LGBTQ seniors who have often experienced housing discrimination or insecurity based on their sexual orientation, providing a much needed safe and inclusive environment. The project is further supported by the Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) through NY State Homes Community Renewal, and the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Organization, which will provide supportive services within the community.


Supporting Neighbors with Disabilities & Mental Illness

Chestnut Street Apartments – Sullivan Co. NY
Chestnut street apartments picture
Led by The Kearney Realty & Development Group in partnership with Community Preservation Corp and Rehabilitation Support Services (RSS), Chestnut Street Apartments is the first phase of an affordable housing development project specifically targeting low-income and disabled populations. More than half of the complex’s 73 planned units are set aside as permanent supportive housing for low-income residents living with disabilities, including mental illness. The remaining units will target households earning at or below 50% of the Area Median Income (an estimated median of $44,420).


Improving Previously Blighted Communities

Newburgh Neighborhood CORe Revitalization
newburgh affordable housing
Led by RUPCO—the region’s leading provider of and advocate for quality, affordable housing and community development—and Johnson & Miller LP, the Newburgh Neighborhood CORe revitalization project adds affordable housing options across a large section of 45 mixed-income affordable rental units clustered in 15 buildings. The project, officially known as the East End Apartments, revitalizes the second largest historic district in New York State, reducing blight while increasing the availability of affordable housing for area residents and functioning as a catalyst for economic development in adjacent developments.


Learn more about Sterling National Bank’s Community Development Lending and Investment efforts.

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