In this Issue 


Groundbreaking, Ribbon Cutting at CAMBA Gardens


Give Turkeys or Toys for the Holidays


Photos from Casino Night Out


The NBA Assists at Beacon 166


CAMBA Kids Celebrate After-School 

















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October/November 2014

cgA Village of Supporters Gather to Celebrate CAMBA Gardens 

"It takes a village" to create 502 units of sustainable, affordable, supportive homes.


That was an often-repeated sentiment, as our many partners gathered on Nov. 17 to officially cut the ribbon on CAMBA Gardens I and break ground on CAMBA Gardens II.


Developed by CAMBA Housing Ventures, designed by Harden Van Arnam and constructed by Bruno Frustaci Contracting on the campus of Kings County Hospital Center, CAMBA Gardens is an innovative national model based on a white paper written by the Corporation for Supportive Housing for reusing surplus hospital property and co-locating affordable housing with preventative healthcare. This development showcases an effective partnership between a public hospital, a non-profit developer, a social service provider and public and private partners. This partnership represents over $165 million in public and private investment in CAMBA Gardens Phase I & II, made possible by the collective dedication of our team and partners.


The first phase of this initiative - CAMBA Gardens I - opened in October 2013 and provides sustainable, affordable and supportive permanent apartments to low-income families and formerly homeless families and individuals, coupled with CAMBA' s on-site supportive services to help them rebuild their lives.


The Nov. 17 event kicked off with speeches and a ribbon cutting ceremony at CAMBA Gardens Phase I. Participants then proceeded to the adjacent groundbreaking site to inaugurate CAMBA Gardens Phase II, which is designed by Dattner Architects and being constructed by Bruno Frustaci Contracting. The backdrop of the groundbreaking was the hospital's former G Building psychiatric ward, currently being demolished to construct 293 units of affordable and supportive apartments for singles and families.  CAMBA Gardens Phase II is planned to be LEED Silver and will be completed in the fall of 2016.


After the ceremonies, guests toured CAMBA Gardens Phase I, including apartments, community rooms, computer rooms, beautifully landscaped gardens and a teaching kitchen. Solar panels provide nearly 50% of the common space electricity in the two LEED Platinum buildings of CAMBA Gardens Phase I.


"All New Yorkers deserve a safe and affordable place to live, and today we're taking an important step toward making that goal a reality," Governor Cuomo wrote in a press release on the event.


Elizabeth Melendez, a single mother of three who came to CAMBA Gardens from a homeless shelter, shared her story with participants, saying that her new home has given her "renewed strength in myself." She added, "Thank you for saving my life." (Meet Ms. Melendez and her family in this video.)


CAMBA Gardens Phase II was one of the first affordable housing deals financed under Mayor Bill de Blasio's Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan. The plan aims to create and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing to address the City's affordability crisis for low- and middle-income residents.


"For the last 37 years, CAMBA has worked closely with New Yorkers facing a variety of obstacles daily, and we recognize that affordable housing, access to supportive services and quality healthcare need to work concurrently to ensure a quality life," said Joanne M. Oplustil, President and CEO of CAMBA and CAMBA Housing Ventures. "CAMBA Gardens is a unique opportunity to provide all three."


drivesTurkeys and Toys: Two Campaigns Happening RIGHT NOW to Spread Holiday Joy

The holidays are a time for sharing joy, and we're making it easy to do that for some people who really need it:


We're in the second year of our effort to put Thanksgiving dinners on the tables of our Flatbush food pantry clients. $30 buys one dinner for a family of six, $60 buys two... Help some low-income Flatbush families have the kind of Thanksgiving meal they should.


Toys for Joy is bringing holiday gifts to the more than 500 children in CAMBA shelters and temporary homes. These are children whose parents struggle just to provide food, shelter and place to sleep. Donate whatever you can and give a child the kind of holiday all children should know.



cnoThank You for an Amazing CAMBA Casino Night Out (Plus PHOTOS!)
Left to right: CAMBA Chairwoman Katherine O'Neill; CAMBA Gardens tenants Elizabeth, Lauren and Lindsey Melendez; CAMBA President and CEO Joanne Oplustil; Honoree Dr. David Cohen; CAMBA Executive Vice President Sharon Browne; Honoree Martin Dunn

On October 30, CAMBA supporters, partners, friends and staff gathered at Tribeca Three Sixty� in Lower Manhattan for CAMBA Casino Night Out, our annual gala celebrating a year of achievements.


Thanks to our many sponsors, the evening was a huge success, bringing in $465,000 to support and further our work. And the event brought together a dynamic group of almost 300 leaders in business, politics, development, community, arts and human services who are committed to empowering low-income New Yorkers.


Highlighting the program were the night's honorees, Dr. David Cohen, Executive Vice President at Maimonides Medical Center and Martin Dunn, President of Dunn Development Corp. Cohen received the 2014 "Making Brooklyn Better" award for his dedication to expanding community-based, effective and cost-efficient health care to New Yorkers in need. Dunn was honored for his work providing quality, safe and supportive homes that are helping thousands of formerly homeless families and individuals successfully rebuild their lives.


The program also featured a video about the Melendez family, formerly homeless tenants at CAMBA Gardens who are thriving in their new supportive home in Wingate, Brooklyn. The audience was further moved when Ms. Melendez took to the stage with her two teenage daughters and, with tears in her eyes, thanked everyone who had helped her turn her family's life around.


The rest of the evening was fun and games, with a lively casino (for charity), plentiful food and drink and a silent auction and raffle. 


Thank you again to our sponsors and to everyone who made the night such a success! Enjoy the photos here.


nbaThe NBA Assists at Beacon 166

The NBA came to East New York last month, and kids at CAMBA's Beacon 166 got to hone their on-court skills with a pro.


Participants from the Beacon, and from CAMBA's nearby Cornerstone program, were joined by NBA veteran Marty Conlon, who facilitated a day of hoops through the NBA Cares program and partner organization Man Up Inc. NBA Cares is the league's global community outreach initiative that addresses social issues such as education, youth and family development, and health and wellness.


Conlon facilitated a 3-on-3 challenge and skills and drills clinic for kids of all ages. All told, more than 200 children, teens and adults from CAMBA's East New York programs attended the event and the strong showing impressed.


"It looks like you guys got the whole community to come out," said Conlon. "This is great and the energy in here is amazing!"


NBA Cares not only ran the clinic but gave away t-shirts and wrist bands to the kids and basketballs and a fit kit to the Beacon program.

All participants received a 3-D engraved medal of participation and the first-place teams received trophies (The Cornerstone team won the tournament!)

"Overall, the CAMBA Beacon program and the East New York community did a wonderful job," said Wesner Pierre, CAMBA Senior Director of Education and Youth Development. "They showed the quality of program we offer and the positive values that are being cultivated in our young people."


afterschoolCAMBA Celebrates 'Lights On Afterschool'
Participants at CAMBA Creative Kids in Flatbush proudly showing off a proclamation from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

It was a day of art and science demos, live dance performances, heart-felt messages and even a proclamation from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. And it was all for the love of after-school.


Kids at CAMBA youth programs spent October 23 celebrating the 15th annual Lights on Afterschool, a national celebration of after-school, and a day to show the world just how important these programs are in the lives of their participants, and their families and communities.


"After-school is important because... where else should we go when no one is home?" said Destiny, a fifth grader at CAMBA Kids World in East Flatbush. "And we wouldn't get to do all this cool stuff---if it wasn't for my after-school I wouldn't be a high white belt in my Karate class."


Destiny is just one of more than 1,500 elementary and middle school participants in CAMBA after-school programs. The programs provide a range of activities during the school year, in the summer and on most school holidays, including supper and socialization, homework help, STEM, literacy and recreation activities, conflict resolution, clubs and more.


"There's dance, singing and all types of things," said Briana, another fifth grader at CAMBA Kids World. "My friends just go home after school, to do their homework then sit around with games or being bored."


To help celebrate the day, Governor Cuomo gave after-school programs around the State an extra show of support, proclaiming October 23 "Lights On Afterschool Day" in New York State.