City Initiative helps five churches develop affordable housing, community spaces.
Wakefield Grace United Methodist Church in the Bronx is one of four churches that will benefit from the New York Land Opportunity Program. (Google Maps)

Navigating the city’s real estate world can be brutal for New Yorkers and businesses alike, but some charitable organizations – five to be exact – are getting a little help from the New York Land Opportunity Program (NYLOP) as they look to the future of their property.


Officials announced Wednesday that five churches have been selected to be the first nonprofits to benefit from NYLOP program, which is a joint effort between the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC NYC), the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit.


NYLOP aims to help nonprofits join forces, for free, with lawyers and architects to issue requests for proposals and select developers to turn unused property into affordable housing units and community spaces.


The first five institutions were chosen after four workshops were held in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx last fall and a “rigorous” application process. They are: 


• The Community Church of New York Unitarian Universalist, which has a property in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood. 


• St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in the Bronx

• Shiloh Church of Christ in Harlem

• Wakefield Grace United Methodist Church in the Wakefield section of the Bronx

• St. John’s Global Ministries in Jamaica, Queens

“Communities often seek guidance and support from their spiritual leaders,” HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer said in a statement. “It is only right that we empower and educate these leaders so they can further strengthen their neighborhoods through the creation of affordable housing and expand community programing.”