The Southern Brooklyn Community Organization (SBCO), a division of Agudath Israel of America Community Services, Inc., a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation, was founded in 1977, to address the deterioration in the fringes of the Borough Park and Kensington neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Concerned citizens of various cultural backgrounds came together to form an agency which could concentrate on neighborhood stabilization and promote revitalization of the areas whose long-term viability was being threatened. If the trend were not reversed, the decline would reach the heart of the neighborhood. An entire community, with millions of dollars of investment would be lost, as had been the case in neighborhoods throughout the city.
Since its establishment, SBCO has been a leader in the rehabilitation and stabilization of these neighborhoods, providing decent, safe and sanitary housing for low and moderate-income residents. SBCO's mission is:
- To play a leadership role in the rehabilitation and stabilization of the neighborhood as a residential community;
- To provide decent, safe and sanitary housing, rehabilitated or new, for low and moderate-income residents in the community without relocating them outside the area;
- To help maintain and enhance the quality of residential life in the community by providing a range of neighborhood and housing services.
Through its development of affordable housing, and the housing-related services it offers, SBCO has made an extraordinary contribution to the growth and stability of the Borough Park, Kensington and Flatbush communities, and increased the housing opportunities for low and moderate-income families. Over the span of 30 years, many housing developments dotting the landscape in these neighborhoods have been SBCO's creation. The collective impact of these projects and services has been immeasurable in restoring a sense of pride in the area and building overall confidence in the future.
SBCO’s board consists of community residents and leaders who are the eyes and ears of the organization. They meet regularly with the staff to discuss relevant current issues affecting the community and set policy and the direction of the Agency. SBCO’s activities have acted as a catalyst in promoting over $60 million of private reinvestment in the community.
To date, the organization has successfully completed construction of more than 450 units of housing designated for low and moderate-income families. These include the rehabilitation of low-income rental units for senior citizens under the Federal Section 202 Low-Income Senior Citizen Housing Program; and low-income rental units under the Section 8 Substantial Rehabilitation Program. To create home ownership opportunities for low and moderate-income large families, affordable 3, 4, and 5-bedroom condominium units have been developed with the assistance of federal, city and state programs.