Brand New Gateway Studios Offers Residents Privacy in a New Community
In March 2017, Federation received a call from the New York State Office of Mental Health asking whether the agency could recommend some clients for a new building that was going up in Brooklyn. Called Gateway, it held the advantage of offering studio apartments and an opportunity for individuals to live alone.
When Jesse Marroquin, Program Supervisor, Supportive Scattered-Site Housing, Team D, went to check out the building, it was still under construction. The studios he was shown were so new that they had plastic coverings on everything. His main goal was to make sure the apartments were safe and habitable for clients, as well as to check out the layouts and take measurements for the furniture.
Today, Gateway is fully occupied and 26 of Federation’s clients live there. Not only do they live there, according to Marroquin, they “love living at Gateway, and they thank us for the opportunity to live there.”
Clients began moving to the new building in May. Each had been with Federation for many years, either in Supported Housing or traditional housing. Many moved from the 6th Street Community Residence, which includes shared apartments, in Queens.
Moving from Queens to Brooklyn was a big move for many. However, once they were moved in, they began recognizing other individuals from various Federation programs. “Now it’s a community. Everyone has transitioned there happily,” Marroquin said.
The new development has a gym facility, laundry room, and a back-yard area. The street life also offers an abundance of conveniences, with retail establishments, a pharmacy, and a big shopping mall. Each apartment has a fully equipped kitchen and modern bathroom and is adaptable for people who are blind or disabled.
“To live alone in a studio is a rare opportunity for privacy and focus on one’s self,” said Marroquin, adding that some of the residents had lived in shelters or had a history of chronic homelessness.
“Amazing” is the word that Marroquin uses repeatedly to describe how the residents of Gateway are doing. Not only do they enjoy their new residential environment, many are adding decorative touches to personalize the studio apartments.
One client has added a padded headboard to the bed and created a modern aesthetic with clean, crisp lines that suit the steel grey tone of the furniture. When Marroquin complimented her on the beautiful apartment, she replied, “It means a lot to have my own space in a studio.”
Another client decorated his apartment to represent different cultures, with a Victorian picture frame, a Buddha statue, and objects to reflect the country of Italy. “These are places I would like to go see,” he told Marroquin.
During regular visits from Federation staff, as well as site visits to make sure people are safe and comfortable, Marroquin is finding that there are simply no complaints from Gateway residents.
“From Federation’s view, it is wonderful to offer our clients a studio. If someone is happy in their apartment, there are no issues,” Marroquin said.