BACKGROUND and MISSION
Carroll Gardens Association, Inc. (CGA) was founded in 1971 and was designated as a Neighborhood Preservation Corporation by the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (now NYS Homes & Community Renewal) in 1979. The organization’s mission is to foster a community where residents and families of all income levels in Brooklyn’s neighborhoods can live, work, and thrive. Carroll Gardens Association, Inc. fulfills this mission by preserving and developing affordable housing, enforcing quality housing management practices, promoting small business economic development, and providing and linking residents to social services and resources to improve the quality of their lives. The organization’s immediate service area includes the neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens, the Columbia Street Waterfront District, and Red Hook. The organization’s reach has since expanded to the entirety of Brooklyn, with numerous individuals utilizing its services from all over Kings County. The CGA Training Center has trained hundreds of individuals since its establishment in 2011.
PROGRAMS and SERVICES
- Development and Maintenance of Affordable Housing: CGA has developed over 500 units of affordable housing and currently maintains 150 affordable rental units with nearly 375 low-income residents. CGA’s affordable housing units are located in the Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, and Red Hook neighborhoods. As the biggest affordable housing provider in Red Hook outside NYCHA, CGA continues to plan new affordable housing in the neighborhood. CGA’s expanded mission allows the organization to plan and develop affordable housing where opportunities are available.
- Housing Education and Advocacy: Along with assisting CGA tenants, the organization has served as a resource center for over 1,000 residents annually across Brooklyn looking for housing assistance and community resources. From connecting seniors to secure home services, helping tenants navigate public assistance applications, referring residents facing eviction to legal and financial partners, CGA has a range of experience working with distressed tenants. Our one-on-one counseling is supplemented by education programs including ‘Know Your Rights’ and ‘How to Apply for Affordable Housing’ workshops. Expanding the commitment to promoting affordable housing, CGA is active in several borough and city-wide coalitions advocating for policy change, permanent affordability, and a mix of incomes in our communities.
COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
- Worker Cooperative Development: CGA is currently organizing nannies in the Southwest Brooklyn community to incubate the first child care worker cooperative in Brooklyn Community Board 6, with the purpose of empowering minority and immigrant women and developing sustainable wage jobs. CGA is receiving training and technical assistance from the Center for Family Life. The organization is also partnering with the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) in conducting outreach and training to child care workers, as well as Hand-in-Hand to educate employers of domestic workers and parents concerning domestic workers’ rights.
- Entrepreneur Assistance Program: CGA has partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in successfully launching its Entrepreneur Assistance Program in 2012. The Entrepreneur Assistance Program offers resources to small businesses through workshops and one-on-one counseling with those who wish to start a business or expand an existing business. CGA is also the first community-based organization that has partnered with the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE) of the Brooklyn Law School in offering free legal consultations to small businesses and non-profits.
- Merchant Organizing: CGA provides organizing and technical support to small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs in Southwest Brooklyn. We are currently spearheading the formation of the Columbia Waterfront District Merchants Association, a network of businesses and freelancers to advocate for a strong local Southwest Brooklyn economy. In addition to conducting monthly meetings, CGA has assisted the merchants association in successfully developing a Neighborhood Guide in 2015, and continues facilitating the CWDMA strategic planning.
- Workforce Development: CGA has built an excellent reputation as a provider of free computer training classes to community residents, the unemployed, seniors, veterans, minorities, and immigrants since 2011. In addition to free computer training on Microsoft Office and basic computer skills, CGA offers Resumé Workshops to improve access to employment opportunities.
- Community Events: As part of our efforts to promote Southwest Brooklyn as an attractive business and residential location, CGA organizes activities that add to the vibrancy of our community and bring neighbors together. These include the Annual Columbia Waterfront Fall Festival, as well as the Annual Toy Drive and Tree Lighting Ceremony.