Hour Apartment House

ESKW/A recently had the pleasure of documenting one of our newly completed projects, Hour Apartment House III, in Astoria, NY, with photographer David Sundberg of Esto Photography.

HAH III provides supportive housing exclusively for formerly incarcerated mothers and their children.  The property is one of 7 housing properties owned and operated by Hour Children Inc., an organization dedicated to providing comprehensive help for the women and their families to build new lives together post-incarceration.  We are pleased with the results of working with a strong team, and thank David for once again capturing such lovely photos.

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Congratulations to Sister Tesa on Winning the 2014 Opus Prize!

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The Opus Prize is a prestigious international prize awarded annually to organizations that demonstrate outstanding faith-based humanitarian work.  We at ESKW/A were utterly thrilled to find out that this year’s $1 million first prize recipient is none other than Sister Tesa Fitzgerald of Hour Children.   We are honored to be the architects for both the rehabilitation of Hour Apartment House II and the new design and construction of Hour Apartment House III, two of Sister Tesa’s extremely successful housing programs.  In her acceptance of the prize, Sister Tesa announced that the award money would go towards site acquisition to create more housing, which she said is desperately needed. Sister Tesa was also a subject of the recent non-fiction book If Nuns Ruled the World by Jo Piazza, which we highly recommend. She’s a hero and an inspiration.

Congratulations, Sister Tesa and Hour Children!

For past coverage of this amazing woman’s accomplishments, please see our post about her feature in the NYTimes, and read about the ribbon cutting ceremony at Hour Apartment House III.

Celebrating Very Special Mothers at Hour Children’s Ribbon Cutting

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Hour Children Inc. celebrated their official ribbon cutting at the recently completed Hour Apartment House III. Among the many honored guests were Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Greg Birch from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, Brett Hebner from the Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, and Deputy Director Raymond Hodges from NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Each honored guest remarked on the beauty of the building stating that this project is more than affordable housing: it’s housing that lends dignity and is a place of healing, blessing, and hope.

The 18 families at Hour Apartment House III are all formerly incarcerated mothers who have reunited with their children and are on a journey to improve the lives of their families. The event was particularly poignant as we celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday. This brings us to the most powerful part of the ribbon cutting: the women and children who spoke to the group. These speakers shared their stories of struggle, encouragement, and triumph all at the hand of Sister Tesa Fitzgerald and the staff of Hour Children. One young man spoke with wisdom beyond his years of life being like an arrow: “sometimes you have to be pulled backwards to shoot forward.”  Another woman, Vinita, spoke about her many struggles and how Sister Tesa never gave up on her, pulled her out of difficult situations, and sent regular letters of encouragement to her while she was incarcerated. Vinita, who loves to talk, then faced Sister Tesa head-on and said, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

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With Mother’s Day coming this weekend, we are very happy to acknowledge the amazing and inspiring women at Hour Apartment House III. All mothers struggle to do the best for their children and the journey these women are on is one we are proud to be part of. We are glad to see them all taking pride in their new apartments and forming a strong community where borrowing a cup of sugar is no big deal.

We are especially inspired by Sister Tesa, without whom the program wouldn’t exist and countless lives would have taken a very different path. She is fearlessly committed to helping these mothers and missed no opportunity to remind the funders and politicians that they would be hearing from her again very soon!

Architect: ESKW/A; General Contractor: Fazio Construction