46 Energy-Efficient Affordable Homes for Low-Income Residents in Buffalo’s West Side Neighborhood
Governor Cuomo announced the completion of the $13.4 million, 46-unit Massachusetts Avenue Community Homes in western New York. The new development features affordable, energy-efficient homes for low-income families in Buffalo’s West Side neighborhood.
“As one of the largest investments in affordable housing in Buffalo in recent memory, this announcement marks a major step forward for western New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “With the cost of living continuing to climb, it is more important than ever to protect and expand the supply of affordable housing in New York. This project will make a fundamental difference in the lives of dozens of hard-working families, and is another example of how we are creating vibrant, sustainable communities across the State.”
Developed for low to moderate-income households by Housing Visions Unlimited, Inc., in partnership with Buffalo-based nonprofit PUSH, the complex contains eight units for people with physical disabilities.
The project, financed by New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) and the City of Buffalo, including $9.8 million in federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credit Equity and $2.3 million in Housing Trust Fund monies, is part of a comprehensive effort to revive this West Side neighborhood and create a mixed-income, mixed-use sustainable community.
“Replacing blight and vacant lots with quality affordable housing and commercial space is key to neighborhood revitalization,” said Kenyon M. Craig, President and CEO of Housing Visions. “Our investment in the Mass Ave Community is part of this neighborhood’s continual efforts to revitalize itself and was, in a large part, driven by residents and organizations who have a dream for a healthy and vibrant community. We are proud to be part of that dream.”
“The new homes in this development have brought new life to this neighborhood, and in doing that created jobs, and job training opportunities,” said HCR Commissioner James S. Rubin. “This is the sort of economic and community development that Governor Cuomo envisions when he talks about creating sustainable, affordable housing opportunities for New Yorkers. Thanks to Housing Visions, PUSH Buffalo, the City of Buffalo, Urban Initiatives, KeyBank, and our dedicated public servants at HCR, I’m proud of the work we’ve done together and look forward keeping this momentum going.”
The development encompasses 16 buildings – seven of them substantially rehabilitated and nine newly constructed – with a total of 46 affordable rental units with one, two, three and four-bedroom apartments. Five units are fully accessible to people of all abilities. Green and sustainable features include: Energy Star Certified appliances with an estimated 15% reduction in energy use; Heat Recovery Ventilators to save energy and provide preconditioned fresh air to the units; low-flow faucets, showers and toilets to reduce water consumption; and an innovative storm-water management system installed by PUSH Blue, including a living roof and rain garden.
The mixed-use development features 800-square-feet of commercial space and a 700-square-foot community center located at 527 West Utica Street. The facility also includes laundry facilities and a business center. The development is transit-oriented, located within walking distance of several bus routes and many businesses, services and a nearby supermarket.
The apartments are affordable to households earning from 40% to 80% of the Area Median Income, with rents ranging from $375 to $675. For a family of three, this is $24,400-$48,800 annually.
During construction, Housing Visions partnered with PUSH Buffalo and its Hiring Hall, which provides a pipeline of local residents to work on major residential construction sites in return for on-site job training. Housing Visions hired several local laborers at the City of Buffalo’s living wage rate who clocked more than 7,000 hours and were instrumental in the completion of the project.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “This new housing is the result of a great partnership between the City of Buffalo, Housing Visions, the State of New York and PUSH advocates. As Buffalo continues to build a city of opportunity to ensure that everyone benefits from our city's significant economic resurgence, these new homes mark a fresh start for a neighborhood on the cusp of change. I thank the developer and partners for their unshakeable commitment, and Governor Cuomo’s Homes and Community Renewal program for helping us continue to make important investments in Buffalo’s future.”
Senator Tim Kennedy said, “As we unveil 46 high quality, affordable apartments on Buffalo’s West Side today, we’re reminded of PUSH’s commitment and dedication to the City of Good Neighbors. Not only will these units significantly open up opportunities for low-to-moderate income families in our City, but they will become a place for these families to call home. I thank PUSH for their vision, and I commend them for their continued efforts to make Buffalo a vibrant, accessible city full of possibilities and I thank the Governor and the State for providing the financing to make this development a reality.”
Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “This is one of the largest affordable housing developments in Buffalo’s recent history and PUSH deserves a lot of credit for bringing us all here today. They made this possible. Getting this housing built and making it a reality took a substantial investment on the part of the state. I want to thank the Governor, and Housing and Community Renewal for making this project a priority. Our investment here will help to continue the growth and momentum on Buffalo's West Side, and ensure that low income residents will have more affordable housing options in the City of Buffalo.”
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “This new sustainable, affordable development is exactly the right development at exactly the right time for this neighborhood. This is a powerful and meaningful, life-changing injection of capital into the Massachusetts Avenue community – I thank the Governor and all of the partners including PUSH, Housing Visions, Key Bank, and the City – for this commitment.”
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