In celebration of Earth Day, discover some of the programs that demonstrate our commitment to building thriving and sustainable communities in New York.
As part of our Housing program, for instance, Castle Gardens offer 114 units of safe, supportive housing for formerly incarcerated individuals. Located in West Harlem, the 11-story residential building is also home to a 20,000 square-foot Community Learning Center where we provide necessary services, such as counseling and financial planning. No longer experiencing housing insecurity, Castle Gardens residents can devote their time to pursuing higher education, strengthening family bonds, and building career paths. It gives them a space to call home and the opportunity for a second chance at life. As Chris Carney, the former superintendent of Castle Garden, who started as a participant, says, “This place is like winning the lottery.”
Castle Gardens also has numerous environmental features, including solar panels, trickle vents, and a rainwater harvesting system. All of these features work to make the building a healthy space to thrive, and also cuts costs. Notably, Castle Gardens’ design has gained national recognition for being LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-certified, and has received recognition from The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Multifamily Performance Program and Enterprise Green Communities.
Castle Gardens is an innovative demonstration of how affordable housing and environmentally sustainable living can go hand-in-hand. And by offering both, we give our participants and communities a healthier and happier place to thrive.
In addition to Castle Gardens, we offer a Green Jobs training program for our participants, which gives them the opportunities and skill sets necessary to become employed as environmental technicians. This EPA-recognized training is an intensive, six-week, full-time program, which includes 280 hours of instruction in a multitude of fields, including HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response), urban agriculture, asbestos abatement, and brownfield remediation.
At graduation, our participants receive industry certifications that open new doors for employment. At the heart of our Green Jobs training is a desire to give our participants the ability to find jobs they find meaningful, the education to succeed in those careers, and the tools to positively contribute to their communities.
Through Castle Gardens, our Green Jobs training program, and much more, we’ve remained committed to making sure that all have opportunities to find hope, regardless of justice involvement. In turn, our communities are healthier and kinder. As we celebrate our 50th year, we hope you’ll continue supporting these needed efforts.