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CAMBA Connection December 2013

CAMBA/CHV Named 'Nonprofit of the Year'


CAMBA and CAMBA Housing Ventures, Inc. (CHV), were named “Nonprofit of the Year” by the National and New York Housing Conferences this month at the organizations’ joint 40th Annual Awards Program.

“CAMBA and CAMBA Housing Ventures have made a positive impact on countless lives and their beautiful buildings have helped to strengthen communities,” said Judy Calogero, CEO of the New York Housing Conference.

CAMBA/CHV has completed the following affordable and supportive projects in Brooklyn, totaling 605 units and representing $174 million in public and private investment:

  • 880 Willoughby Avenue, a 100-unit renovation of a former luggage factory;   
  • Morris Manor, a 46-unit building at 1247 Flatbush Avenue;   
  • 97 Crooke Avenue, a 53-unit development;   
  • Gateway Elton Phase 1, a 197-unit development in Spring Creek (as nonprofit partner with Hudson Companies and Related Companies);   
  • CAMBA Gardens Phase 1, a 209-unit development on the campus of Kings County Hospital   

CHV also partnered with the Hudson Companies and Related Companies to develop Gateway Elton Phase II (in construction), representing $60.5 million in investment, with 175 affordable housing units and ground-floor retail.

“Today, an estimated one in every 150 New York City residents is homeless, and the numbers are continuing to rise,” said Joanne M. Oplustil, President and CEO of CAMBA/CHV. “Quality affordable housing, coupled with CAMBA’s model of integrated and comprehensive social services, is an effective component to strategies addressing homelessness and the City’s critical housing.“

CAMBA/CHV was among five award recipients honored on December 5 for their contributions in advocating, creating, and revitalizing affordable homes and communities. The other recipients were L+M Development Partners, Inc.; Teresa M. Bainton, Director, New York Hub, US Department of Housing and Urban Development; The Furman Center; and Carol Lamberg, Executive Director, Settlement Housing Fund.

Watch a video from the Awards Program honoring CAMBA/CHV’s accomplishments.

Holiday Lights Dazzle at Park Slope Women's Shelter


A bundled-up crowd of shelter residents, community members and CAMBA staff gathered on Tuesday, December 10, for the Park Slope Women’s Shelter’s 17th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The evening was a time for seasonal celebration and for staff and residents to honor the many people who gave their time, goods and services to the shelter throughout the year.

The celebration opened in the shelter’s lobby, with holiday songs performed by wacky elves---members of the Dzieci Theatre---followed by welcoming words from the shelter’s new director Eleni Toumarides. Toumarides extended heartfelt thanks to the night’s honorees, including Sydelle and Stephen Gansl; Brooklyn Commune’s Chris Scott and Eugenie Woo; and Eva Radke, Founder and President of Film Biz Recycling.

Valerie Barton-Richardson, CAMBA Executive Vice President, continued: “We can’t begin to say ‘thank you’ enough… for all who make the shelter possible.”

Everyone then made their way outside, cold hands clutching hot chocolate and cookies (generously donated by Park Slope Parents), for the main event: the lighting of the tree and other festive decorations around the shelter’s Eighth Avenue entrance. The night ended with a rhythmic bang from Dexter Lewis and the Emmaus Pathfinder drummers.

CAMBA Community Gathers for World AIDS Day


For some at the Flatbush Dutch Reform Church on Dec. 6, it was a chance to remember---remember people they had known and lost, or even who they had once been themselves. But for everyone there, the day was about celebration.

The church’s main hall was full that Friday afternoon with CAMBA clients, staff and community members who had gathered for CAMBA’s annual World AIDS Day program. Downstate Medical Center joined CAMBA to host the event, which included lunch, a performance program and health resources from partner organizations.

“Today is about celebration and remembrance,” said Geneva Musgrave, the event’s organizer and Program Manager for CAMBA’s Project Accept LGBT Youth (ALY). “And,” she added, “today is about getting to zero---zero infections and zero HIV.”

CAMBA provides a range of services for individuals and families infected/affected by HIV/AIDS, including case management, prevention, training and education, counseling and supportive services, advocacy, and transitional and permanent housing.

After a buffet lunch served by CAMBA staff, the crowd turned its attention up front for performances by CAMBA clients sharing their personal experiences with the day’s subject. Jose recited an original poem, “Attitude,” about keeping the right attitude every day; Jabari performed a moving monologue from a play by James Baldwin. Others sang songs, rapped and even danced a spirited Merengue.

The program ended with a “Vigil of Hope,” where attendees placed inspirational hand-written messages on a tree at the front of the hall, followed by a launch of red balloons into the sky.

Are You a Young Professional Who Wants to Give Back to Your Community? Consider Joining the CAMBA Young Leaders Committee.




Employee Profile: Lauren Curatolo

Supervisor II, Brooklyn CAMBA Cluster


This month, we're doing something a little different with the employee profile. Lauren Curatolo joined the Brooklyn CAMBA Cluster as a temporary supervisor back in May. She's leaving this month to move forward in her legal career, and Lauren's own supervisor wanted to share a few words on her departing employee:

"Lauren has been a tremendous asset to the BCC program, and she will be missed. She has always reached out and assisted all staff and clients, often stepping forward without hesitation to complete extra tasks. From the onset of Lauren's employment, she assertively voiced and demonstrated the need for TEAM WORK among all BCC staff. Additionally, Lauren consistently exhibited an above-and-beyond work ethic toward both staff and our BCC families. When visiting volatile and troubled clients in their shelter units, Lauren worked HARD to assist them to better themselves, and ultimately to reach their goal of permanent housing. I'll say it again: Lauren was a great asset to the BCC program, and she will be missed."

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