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Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative

State supportive housing program issues grants to DePaul Properties, GCASA

By Mike Pettinella

DePaul Properties Inc., and Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse are among 104 community providers in 41 counties to receive funding from the fifth round of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative.

Announced at the end of January, DePaul’s Batavia Apartments at 555 E. Main St. will receive $400,000 for an additional 20 units (beds) – increasing the facility’s capacity from 42 to 62 units – while GCASA will receive $250,000 for an additional 10 units (beds) to go toward operating costs of its supportive living program.

Additionally, DePaul’s Batavia Apartments have been granted $4.7 million from the New York State Homeless Housing Assistance Program to cover construction and design costs.

“We’re really excited for Genesee County,” said DePaul President Mark Fuller, also mentioning that the agency opened the 60-bed senior apartment building known as La Rosa Villas in Le Roy last September.

Fuller said he was particularly pleased that the project includes the installation of an elevator.

“The elevator will make it more user-friendly for both the existing and the new people,” he said. “I’ve been working on this for a while.”

He noted that when constructed about a dozen years ago, DePaul decided to save some money by not putting in an elevator.

“The first floor was handicapped accessible, but the reality is that a lot of our residents have real mobility problems – getting up and down – and they also have different handicaps. So, that has been an issue,” he said. “And other issue is that there has been a huge waiting list, twice as many people (as apartments that are available).”

Fuller said the push to build 20 more units has been in the works for about three years.

“This will enable an enhancement of the services that we’re providing,” he said. “And the need is definitely there. As Batavia, Genesee County and Upstate New York ages, we’re seeing more and more frail elderly, and they lack good, handicapped-accessible housing.”

He said the ESSHI money – broken down as $20,000 per unit times 20 units -- will be used to run the addition and will be reimbursed after it is open.

Of the new units, 10 will have no age requirements for tenants and 10 will be limited to those 55 and over. The previous 42 apartments have no age requirements, he said.

Rent is fixed for the one- and two-bedroom units but potential tenants are subject to income limits.

Fuller said the company has acquired building permits and is in the process of getting it designed en route to the financial closing. He said he hopes to start construction by June and expects completion within a year.

Funding Ups GCASA's Units to 15 in Genesee

At GCASA, Rosalie Mangino-Crandall, director of project innovation and expansion, said the ESSHI awards permit up to $25,000 per bed/unit and “that is what we ask for per unit or very close to it each time.”

“So, for the units about to open, we will have just shy of $125,000 (5 units x $25,000), and for the newly announced award, we will have about $250,000 (10 units x $25,000).”

GCASA also operates two units of ESSHI housing in Orleans County.

Mangino-Crandall said 100 percent of the ESSHI funds will go for operations of the program, which are paid when the agency submits a list of expenses incurred to the state for reimbursement.

She said for this project, renovations on the units of a property previously purchased are almost done, setting the stage to provide supportive housing for those with a substance use disorder who are homeless or a risk of not having a home, or have a history of housing instability. Individuals and families are eligible for this service.

The ESSHI, per its website, has been set up to provide $30 million annually to fund support services and operating costs for at least 1,200 units of supportive housing for homeless persons with special needs, conditions or other challenges. The conditional awards provide service and operating funding for permanent supportive housing units.

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