Development Includes 42 Units Available for Low-Income Working Families, Individuals Recovering from Mental Illness, and the Formerly Homeless
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the ribbon-cutting of the $13.8 million West Street Apartments, an affordable and supportive housing complex in the city of Utica. The 42 unit development is dedicated to serving low-income working families, including 11 supportive units for persons recovering from mental illness, and six units for formerly homeless individuals and families. Located on the former site of a dilapidated, vacant, three-story apartment building, the new development also includes a Community Services Center operated by the Rescue Mission of Utica that will serve both tenants and the public, adding to the revitalization of the Cornhill neighborhood.
"This investment in the West Street Apartments continues our efforts to fight homelessness and increase access to quality housing for the most vulnerable New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "This development will offer critical services to Utica residents, while revitalizing the neighborhood and providing stability to those in need."
"We're committed to providing affordable and quality housing for all New Yorkers with significant investments in projects across the state," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This affordable housing development in Utica will help to relieve financial pressures on working families and continue to combat homelessness among the most vulnerable populations in New York."
In 2016, Governor Cuomo committed to providing all New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing with an unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative. The plan aims to make housing more accessible and combat homelessness by building and preserving more than 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing. The plan is a comprehensive approach to statewide housing issues and includes multi-family and single-family housing, community development, and rent stabilization.
In addition to the housing units, the Rescue Mission of Utica will operate a community services facility inside the building that serves both residents and the public. The building houses a learning center, community clothing room, food pantry and meal program, and a representative payee program that helps people manage their financial obligations.
This community revitalization project, co-developed by the Rescue Mission of Utica and Edgemere Development, Inc., was designed to fight homelessness and enable Utica families to afford to live near employment, day care, transportation, and retail services. The development is conveniently located along a bus route and is a short walk to the city's main thoroughfare. It includes common laundry facilities, a community room, on-site parking, and a playground. Five apartments are fully accessible and adapted for persons with mobility impairment and two apartments are adapted for persons with hearing or visual impairments.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal provided $1.5 million in Community Investment Funds to support the community services facility, with HCR's federal tax credit allocation generating more than $10.4 million in equity. The development is also supported by $1.7 million from the state Office of Temporary Disability Assistance Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, a state Office of Mental Health Program Development grant of $50,000, as well as $103,000 in annual funding for services for residents of the supportive units, the City of Utica, and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
Since 2011, HCR has built or preserved 541 units of affordable housing in Oneida County with more than $66.7 million in HCR resources, which have generated more than $148 million in economic activity, including 268 units built or preserved in Utica.
Homes and Community Renewable Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "West Street Apartments is a concrete example of Governor Cuomo's commitment to providing affordable and supportive housing opportunities to New Yorkers who need them, while enhancing revitalization efforts in the Cornhill community. I'm proud of HCR's collaboration with our state and private sector partners for a development that is a vote of confidence in the future of Utica and the wider Mohawk Valley."
Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "The beautiful West Street Apartments in Utica will provide supportive housing with on-site services that will help people with mental illness make their way on the road to recovery with greater independence and dignity. This is yet another example of Governor Cuomo's commitment to helping vulnerable New Yorkers, and we at OMH are proud to have played a role in its development."
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel Roberts said, "Supportive housing projects like West Street Apartments merge together housing with specialized services to help individuals and their families achieve better stability in their lives. I applaud Governor Cuomo, and my partners on the state and local level, for their tireless commitment to providing assistance to those who need it."
Senator Joseph Griffo said, "The Rescue Mission of Utica plays an important role in helping many people and families in our community. This project will help to provide housing and essential services to those in need and will continue the Rescue Mission's mission to provide hope, assistance and compassion for our neediest of citizens."
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi said, "This project will meet a significant need in the Mohawk Valley region for safe, affordable housing. In addition, supportive services on site and nearby in Utica will provide a variety of services for residents. I want to thank Governor Cuomo and the Rescue Mission of Utica for partnering on a project that will continue the revitalization of Utica."
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente said, "I'm pleased that this vital project has come to completion and to see these families find new homes. This new residential facility will provide them with opportunities and support that will go a long way to improving their lives, while also playing an integral role in the continued revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood."
Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri said, "The West Street Apartments project is a great initiative that was achieved as a result of strong partnerships. The project is a win-win for Utica as it involved the removal of a vacant structure that was an eye sore for over 20 years and now consists of affordable housing units for our residents. This type of development is what's driving Utica's transformation. I commend Governor Cuomo for his proactive leadership and investing in our community. I also thank the Rescue Mission and Jim Haid for being a great community partner and making this project come to fruition."
Jim Haid, Executive Director of the Rescue Mission of Utica said, "Because of the strong collaborative effort on the part of local and state partners, private sector and faith-based organizations. West Street Apartments went from its 'closing' to full-occupancy in a matter of months. This short time frame is testimony to what can be accomplished when dedicated and committed partners work hand-in-hand with Governor Cuomo's commitment to provide good, safe, affordable permanent housing for New Yorkers. For the Governor's commitment and funding his team has provided to this project, the Rescue Mission of Utica is grateful, as are the residents or our community and, more importantly, those who now call West Street Apartments home."
Stephanie Benson, Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Edgemere Development said, "The West Street Apartments project is an example of how a shared vision, local needs and collaboration among New York State, the city, neighborhood and Rescue Mission results in true transformation and community revitalization."