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Cyndi Lauper's LGBT Shelter in Harlem To Open Winter, 2011



Singer and actress Cyndi Lauper's goal of having Manhattan's first permanent housing for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in Harlem is closer to being achieved. The project has broken ground, and the residence - to be located at W. 154th Street near Frederick Douglas Boulevard - is set to open Winter, 2011.

True Colors Residence will be New York City's first permanent housing facility with support services for 18-24 year old lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth with a history of homelessness. The undertaking was conceived by West End Executive Director Colleen Jackson, and by musical artist Cyndi Lauper and Ms. Lauper's manager Lisa Barbaris. The project entails the construction of a new, energy-efficient multifamily building containing 30 studio apartments, indoor and outdoor community space for residents, and a computer room and resource library. The building is named in honor of Cyndi's Lauper's support for the project and for West End, and references Ms. Lauper's hit song, "True Colors."

True Colors is being financed by a variety of sources, including a construction loan and the purchase of low-income housing tax credits by Citi; construction and permanent lending provided by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Supportive Housing Loan Program; construction and permanent lending from the Federal Home Loan Bank's Affordable Housing Program, through its member M&T Bank; a grant from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; and a loan from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). A portion of the financing was made possible by the Federal Tax Credit Assistance Program. The low-income housing tax credit equity is being syndicated by Richman Housing Resources LLC, a member of The Richman Group of Companies.

"This is a very exciting time for West End," said Colleen Jackson. "After what seems like an eternity, we have finally broken ground and are one step closer to our goal of turning the concept of the True Colors Residence into reality. We extend our sincerest gratitude to all of our funders and collaborators and we send special thanks to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for his invaluable support, and to Cyndi Lauper and Lisa Barbaris whose commitment to serving the needs of LGBT youth led to the creation of this residence. "

"Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth living on the streets and in foster care need our support more than ever," said Cyndi Lauper. "In New York City, the True Colors Residence is going to play a big role in providing these young people with the leg up and encouragement they need. I am thrilled that construction has already begun and I am honored to be a part of this important project."

Borough President Scott M. Stringer said, "West End has provided transitional housing for hundreds of homeless families and individuals over the years. Finding safe, affordable housing is step one for New Yorkers working to build a better life for themselves, and the groundbreaking for True Colors will create a refuge for some of our city's most at risk young people, specifically the many homeless LGBT youth in our City. I applaud all of the work done by West End and Cyndi Lauper to design and launch this welcome mat for Central Harlem."

"HPD is proud to be a partner in creating quality affordable housing that will foster an environment to support and empower the LGBT youth who will call the True Colors Residence home," said HPD Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero. "As part of the NYNYIII program, True Colors will help further our shared commitment with the State to provide affordable housing for New York's most vulnerable citizens. This is truly a special project and I thank Citi, West End, Cyndi Lauper, and Richman Housing for their dedication and commitment."

"We at Citi are thrilled to be financing True Colors," said William Yates, a vice president with Citi Community Capital, the community development lending and investing arm of Citi. "Through both our construction loan and through the permanent equity we are providing, Citi is helping to get the building built and to ensure its long-term affordability. True Colors is a unique effort, and Citi is proud to be a part of it."

"We appreciate the effort on the part of all our partners - West End, HPD and Citi - in getting True Colors started," said Bill Traylor, the President of Richman Housing Resources. "It is an important and unique model of supportive housing and like a lot of first-of-a-kind projects it requires all hands on deck to get it launched."

Acquisition and pre-development financing for True Colors was provided by the Corporation for Supportive Housing and the New York Acquisition Fund. Joseph Biber was engaged as Housing and Development Consultant for the project and legal counsel was provided by Hirschen, Singer & Epstein LLP. The building was designed by Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects LLP. True Colors is being constructed by C&A Construction Corporation. Support services will be offered through funding from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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