FIVE ALIVE

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Three years ago, the cellar at 332 Bergen Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn was so filthy that anyone who dared enter left coated with black grime. Toilets in the building’s bathrooms rocked when sat upon, and the stairs were a cave-in hazard.

But last Tuesday, the Fifth Avenue Committee, a community-based affordable housing and economic development organization, reopened 332 Bergen Street–the 100th building it has rehabilitated. The committee, founded in 1978 by a coalition of block associations, will sell the building’s eight renovated co-ops to low-income tenants for less than $10,000.

“Just to see the kids running around in T-shirts and with no socks on their feet because it’s warm enough inside that they don’t need jackets and boots…it’s really nice now,” says Sheliah Gibbs, leader of the building’s tenant organization.

Tuesday’s ceremony was one in a series of celebrations commemorating FAC’s 20th anniversary. Executive Director Brad Lander says that the organization plans to increase its attention to economic development. Still, “housing is still at the heart of this organization,” Lander says.