Governor Directs $10 Million in Resources to Fully Renovate and Repair Troubled Properties
New York State Partners with Home Leasing and the Community Preservation Corporation to Preserve Affordable Homes for 63 Residents, Including 20 with Supportive Services
Investment Complements "Finger Lakes Forward" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Cuomo today announced the start of major repairs and renovations at two distressed apartment buildings in Rochester. The renovations will overhaul the badly deteriorated apartments and preserve housing for 63 residents, including 20 units of supportive housing for previously incarcerated residents with a history of substance abuse to live independently in the community. The rehabilitation was financed with $10 million in resources that Governor Cuomo, in collaboration with Enterprise Community Partners, directed go toward preserving the long-term affordability of this community.
"We are delivering on a promise to ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income, have the opportunity to lead healthy lives in safe, secure and affordable homes," Governor Cuomo said. "Our investment in the Apartments at Thurston Village will build a better future for residents and for the city of Rochester."
"This funding will provide the resources needed to renovate apartment buildings in Rochester that are in need of repair and add housing options for residents," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The preservation of these buildings will provide supportive housing for those who need it most, like individuals struggling with substance abuse. This project is part of our ongoing efforts to add and restore housing across the state, revitalizing communities and enhancing quality of life."
The two buildings in Rochester's 19th Ward, located at 447 Thurston Road and 963-971 Chili Avenue, contain a total of 63 studio and one-bedroom apartments. The apartments have a history of code violations and public health and safety issues that the landlord neglected to remedy. This includes raw sewage leaks, water system damage, and insect and rodent infestations.
Under the Governor's direction, New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) intervened and worked with tenants, tenant advocates, and local affordable housing developer Home Leasing on a preservation strategy that will result in the apartments being completely gutted and rehabilitated.
In addition, the city of Rochester took steps to hold the building owner accountable while avoiding actions that would force the tenants into eviction. The city filed legal action to place the properties into receivership, which resulted in a settlement that led to a change in ownership and new management of the properties.
Home Leasing is the owner, developer and property manager. Work will include new roofs, security systems, mechanical systems, kitchens, baths and finishes, asbestos abatement and appliances. Home Leasing worked with residents to find temporary housing for them while the renovation is underway.
The newly renovated apartments will be eligible to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. The properties will be subject to a 30-year regulatory agreement to ensure ongoing affordability and asset management.
Twenty of the 63 units will be set aside for supportive housing for homeless individuals with a history of substance abuse. Through a partnership with Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach, these residents will receive support services that include individualized resident success planning, case management, and job training and placement.
HCR allocated $10 million in funds to finance repairs in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners. The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will provide roughly $2.5 million over five years through the Governor's Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative to fund rental subsidies for the supportive units. The initiative provides operational funding to providers for the development and operation of supportive housing for persons identified as homeless with special needs, conditions or other life challenges.
The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) is providing an additional $1.18 million in financing through its partnership with the New York State Common Retirement Fund. The state pension fund and CPC created a partnership to make permanent financing available for housing developments in New York for low- and moderate-income residents. Together, they have built nearly 18,000 units and have nearly 3,000 under construction.
HCR is also working with Home Leasing on a plan to rebuild a nearby property at 440 Thurston Road that was demolished after a devastating fire last year. The new building will create additional affordable housing.
The Governor's commitment to providing all New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing is reflected in the State's unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan. The plan makes housing accessible and combats homelessness by building or preserving more than 100,000 affordable homes and 6,000 with supportive services. The plan is a comprehensive approach to statewide housing issues and includes multi-family and single-family housing and community development.
Since 2011, HCR has invested more than $177 million to create or preserve 2,251 affordable homes and apartments in Rochester, and continues working with tenants and local community leaders on strategies to address Rochester's housing needs
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The substandard living conditions in these buildings required our immediate intervention. These residents deserve better. Thanks to leadership from Rochester's community and our development partners, we are moving forward to transform the properties into 63 safe, beautiful apartments that residents will be proud to call home. We are grateful to have a Governor who is working so hard to fight for the rights of tenants across the state."
State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Mike Hein said, "Stable housing can be a foundation that formerly incarcerated individuals can use to build a brighter, more productive future. The Apartments at Thurston Village will provide that stability along with the supportive services these individuals can rely upon to live independently, avoid homelessness, and end destructive patterns of behavior. We commend Governor Cuomo's continued support of the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, which has helped countless New Yorkers turn over a new leaf."
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said, "We are pleased to be an investment partner with the Community Preservation Corporation on this shared mission to help renovate The Apartments at Thurston Village and the Chili Avenue Apartments. I welcome this opportunity for our retirement fund that helps improve housing for residents in Rochester."
Assembly Member David Gantt said, "For too long, residents at 447 Thurston Road and 963-971 Chili Avenue were forced to live under terrible conditions. I am grateful for the intervention by Governor Cuomo, the city of Rochester, and the many other partners on this project, for working together to renovate these properties and preserve affordability for years to come."
Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, "In Monroe County, we have worked to transition over 3,000 families from welfare to work in just a few short years by making significant investments in our underserved residents. We are incredibly excited to work with partners in Government on the State and City levels, along with local developers to better serve at-risk individuals, and today's announcement is another reminder of how we are building stronger families by working together. This project represents hope, not just for the families that will call these apartments home, but for all Monroe County residents, as we continue to find ways to build opportunity as one community of Monroe."
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said, "Thanks to the support of community partners including Governor Andrew Cuomo, Home Leasing, the Community Preservation Corp. and a host of others, the Apartments at Thurston Village now stand as a testament to the principle that safe, decent and affordable housing is a basic human right that the city of Rochester strives to protect for its citizens. Providing our citizens with access to quality, affordable housing that they can be proud to call home is the starting point of our efforts to create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities."
Nelson Leenhouts, Chairman, Home Leasing, said, "We are so proud to be a part of restoring this apartment community in a way that preserves affordable housing for those who need it most. Saving housing like the Apartments at Thurston Village is essential to create diverse and vibrant communities."
Rafael Cestero, President & CEO, the Community Preservation Corporation, said, "As a native son of Rochester, I am extremely proud that CPC is able to bring our decades of affordable housing finance experience to help preserve this critical piece of the city's housing stock. Our mission is to bring lasting stability to these properties so they can be preserved as safe, quality affordable housing that the residents will be proud to call home. My thanks to Governor Cuomo, Comptroller DiNapoli, Mayor Warren, HCR Commissioner Visnauskas, Home Leasing, and Enterprise for their partnership and dedication."
Judi Kende, Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners, said, "Preserving New York State's housing stock to create supportive and affordable housing is important and critical to the State's 5-year Housing Plan. There is an urgent need for affordable housing across the state, and we are proud to provide funding to The Apartments at Thurston Village to address this need in Rochester."
About Home Leasing, LLC
Rochester-based Home Leasing specializes in the development, construction and management of high-quality apartment communities. The company is owned and operated by three generations of the Leenhouts family and employs over 150 people who provide support to or are directly involved in the day-to-day operations of affordable, mixed-income and market rate residential communities across New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Home Leasing became a Certified Benefit Corporation ("B Corp") by the non-profit B Lab in 2017. B Corps are a new type of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. In 2019, Home Leasing was recognized as a Top Workplace in Rochester, NY.
Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today's announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for this plan - investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.
The region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.