Established in 2002, the Council of Peoples Organization (COPO) operates from a centrally-located office on Coney Island Avenue in Midwood, Brooklyn and assists low-income immigrant families in reaching their full potential as residents of New York City. COPO is a “one-stop-shop” that provides free, high-quality and trusted social services to over 12,000 households per year. COPO serves a citywide population with the largest number of clients coming from surrounding Brooklyn neighborhoods. COPO’s services are targeted to meet the specific language and cultural needs of immigrants from South Asia (Pakistan and Bangladesh), Uzbekistan, Haiti and Jamaica, as well as many coming from the Middle East.
COPO operates out of 5 adjacent ground floor storefronts on Coney Island Avenue. The monthly rent is the organization’s largest single expense and strains the group’s capacity to expand its programming. To address growing displacement and development in the surrounding area, Hester Street is working with COPO to acquire 3 adjacent buildings along Coney Island Avenue in order to: consolidate ground floor operations into 3 buildings; provide additional program space on the second and third floors; reduce monthly organizational expenses; and provide COPO with a permanent home to serve its community for the long-term.
A new consolidated space will increase COPO’s ability to provide childcare services, nearly doubling the number of children and families the organization can assist. The expansion will also allow COPO to increase the space currently allocated to its senior programming as well as food pantry operations. Finally, this acquisition will allow COPO the opportunity to build out smaller private counseling areas, teaching classrooms and a dedicated computer laboratory. The organization’s projected mortgage payment for the new and improved space will be lower than the rents that it currently pays across its 5 storefronts while still providing a nearly 80% increase in usable floor space.