Banana Kelly is committed to the growth and independence of individuals, families and to the self-sufficiency of the community as a whole. Banana Kelly's vision is to satisfy the community's need for self-reliance so that the community itself can realize its ideals.
The Organization is owned and governed by residents of the area. Our mission is to build and maintain affordable housing, help residents become active and contributing citizens, provide access to traditional educational programs and develop alternative vocational training opportunities, create jobs and business opportunities, and link environmental justice and economic development initiatives with broader ecological concerns.
In 1977, thirty residents gathered to stop the demolition of their homes along Kelly Street, a crescent shaped block in the heart of the Longwood/Hunts Point neighborhood of the South Bronx. Without any support or even tools, money or title to the property, they succeeded in rehabilitating the buildings and in creating 21 units of high-quality affordable housing, These original activists formed Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc. to continue the work that they had started.
The organization was incorporated in New York State in 1978 and is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit with the Internal Revenue Service.
Banana Kelly's achievements to date include raising or leveraging over $100 million of investment in Longwood/Hunts Points; rehabilitating 2,000 units of affordable housing; conducting ongoing management and ownership of 1,000 units of housing in 47 buildings; weatherizing over 8,000 units of housing; providing 1,500 families per year with service referral and housing advocacy; establishing a program of assistance to small businesses; delivering education as well as construction training and building maintenance programs to over 750 youth; developing the first urban dormitory for homeless high school students; and attracting the first new health care clinic in the community in 22 years.
Commitment to the Local and Global Community
More than 85 percent of the staff and over 60 percent of the Banana Kelly's Board of Directors live in the Community. Approximately 95 percent of these persons are Latino, African-America, Caribbean or Asian-American. The majority are also bilingual in Spanish and English. Special initiatives, such as Americans for Better Communities and our participation in the United Nations' Habitat II Conference, are demonstrative of our national and international efforts to share learning experiences and ideas for social and sustainable economic development.
The New South Bronx
In addition to Banana Kelly's historic housing and community development efforts, the organization had undertaken a series of new initiatives in the past several years that build on the strengths of community and that will develop the infrastructure for a thriving, economically viable community: the "New South Bronx." These initiatives include human services, coalition building, small business assistance and environmentally responsible and progressive economic development.