NABE — It’s Short for Neighborhood.

NABE 3.0 Is Introduced During Celebration of Affordable Housing Construction

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l to r Michael Rochford (Executive Dir. of St. Nicks Alliance), Joseph Robles (President, St. Nicks Board of Directors), Frank Lang (Director of Housing, St. Nicks Alliance), Sam Marks (Executive Director of LISC New York), Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Michael Ambrosino (Ambrosino Construction Corporation, the contractors on 7 Stagg)

October 1st, 9:30 a.m. on the corner of Stagg Street and Union Avenue— St. Nicks Alliance cheered the construction progress of their two affordable housing developments: North Brooklyn Opportunities and Kings Villas. They also chose to reveal NABE 3.0, a new model that uses transformational coaches and data analytics to address poverty.

The NABE in NABE 3.0 is a nickname for neighborhood. The 3.0 stands for the three elements of this model’s focus: Jobs, Housing, and Education.

The American flag waved in the wind, held steady by one of several elementary school children. Principal Alison Alexander of PS  18 and some of her students started off the morning’s occasion by leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. PS 18 was an inspired choice due to their involvement with the NABE 3.0 model in its startup year.

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(front row) PS 18 Principal Alison Alexander and students of PS 18 (back row, l to r) Norman Williams (____ of Housing, St. Nicks Alliance), Jose Leon (Deputy Executive Director, St. Nicks Alliance), Joseph Robles (President, St. Nicks Board of Directors

“I was so excited when Michael Rochford (St. Nicks Alliance Executive Director) approached me to talk to me about this initiative and asked me if I wanted to partner with them so they could pilot the program at PS 18. It is the exact thing that I wanted to do for my kids and my families. Through this program we are tracking data of children who have participated in this program. Where their attendance has gone up — academic grades are up. Students who were exhibiting some challenging behaviors — those behaviors have lessened considerably.”

St. Nicks Alliance Executive Director Michael Rochford spoke on what influenced the creation of NABE 3.0, “Although most of our children are thriving there are a significant number of children who are not thriving. The number in proportion of the children that fell into that category generally paralleled the degree of poverty within the community. Then we began to look at affordable housing. We recognize in this area we serve hundreds of families because the real estate values today are such that when anyone purchases a property they pay such a high value for it that the only way to benefit is to evict all of the people who are living there under rent regulation and so that’s forcing out people who have lived in this community for generations.”

The NABE 3.0 initiative is made possible through a $1 million investment from Change Capital Fund, a collaborative of funders that invest in the development of new, data-driven strategies created by community organizations.

“I think we know that NABE 3.0 is going to change lives,” said Kate Dempsey, Director of Strategy and Operations for NYC Center for Economic Opportunity. She continued, “Through this cross-sector initiative the coaches are going to work with and stick with the families in the program to see them succeed. I understand in its first year —which was just a start-up year — the coaches helped 250 families avoid homelessness, and 73 children read 2, 622 books in a year. That’s 35 books per student last year. It’s very impressive.”

Frank Lang, St. Nicks Alliance Director of Housing, remarked on a personal significance 7 Stagg had in addition to it being the brick and mortar proxy of the celebrated affordable housing developments. “This little building represents the effort that has gone on for ten years. When I started at St. Nicks Alliance ten years ago this was the project I started with. It’s very difficult to deal with these small sites but our neighborhood needs this housing. The 24 units we’re going to be doing in the NABE 3.0 project and the 39 in Kings Villas are needed, desperately needed.”

“10 years, 12 sites, a combination of rehab and reconstruction, small buildings, multiple funding sources, straddling public and private funding sources, this is not for the faint of heart,” said Sam Marks, Executive Director of LISC New York and member of Change Capital Fund donor collaborative. “From the Change Capital Fund these guys are getting a 4 year commitment of technical assistance and $1M over four years. This work is so important, because looking at data tracking outcomes that’s how we begin to make a case as a community development industry. That investments in people, investments in social capital, we can track those outcomes.  We can really demonstrate how it is diverting people from crisis diverting people from expensive crisis systems like jails, hospitals, homeless shelters, and emergency rooms. If we can make that case, we can really make a case for investing in people. St. Nicks Alliance is in a very small class by itself: it’s doing a lot of good things incredibly well.”

Councilman Antonio Reynoso was also present and when he got up to speak he illustrated the involvement St. Nicks Alliance has in the community by listing some of his interactions with St. Nicks Alliance in an two week span: St. Nicks Alliance Workforce for idNYC, a Participatory Budgeting meeting at 211 Ainslie, met with Michael Rochford and Frank Lang on community center and affordable housing issues, discussed education with Jose Leon (Deputy Executive Director of St. Nicks Alliance), and was at the Tenant Safety Rally with Rolando Guzman, St. Nicks Alliance’s Deputy Director Community Preservation.

The President of the Board of Directors of St. Nicks Alliance, Joe Robles said in conclusion, “We are very proud of NABE 3.0’s preliminary success and look forward to the launch of the BK Story Voyager.”

The BK Story Voyager is a fun book bus that will rev up literacy in North Brooklyn soon.

Finally, CM Reynoso and Sam Marks were asked to unveil the plaque, which reads, “North Brooklyn Opportunities, 7 Stagg Street, Sponsored by St. Nicks Alliance, 2015”

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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