On June 29th New York State Homes and Community Renewal, Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program and local officials broke ground for an $18 million affordable and supportive housing development. Hillside Views Neighborhood Revitalization will consist of 51 apartments in several locations for individuals and families with 26 households to receive supportive services through Unity House.
From the Albany Times Union:
TROY – It was a hot day for it, but Darren Scott, a director with the state Division of Homes and Community Renewal, walked from his home in Troy to a press conference held Tuesday to announce the construction of affordable housing in the Hillside neighborhood.
He did it to make a point: “Yes, in my backyard.”
HCR is among the partners in an $18 million initiative to construct eight new buildings in the neighborhood, led by the Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program and Unity House to provide apartments to people with low incomes and people with mental illness. The symbolic groundbreaking ceremony was held in front of 69 Rensselaer St., long the site of a dilapidated three-story building that rained bricks on the sidewalk. Christine Nealon, CEO of TRIP, said razing the building was one of the requests from residents when asked what they thought would improve their neighborhood. Now, it is gone and a new foundation is in place for a building that, when complete, will contain two apartments, each with two bedrooms.
The partners have been working on the housing package for three years, Nealon said. The work started with conversations with neighborhood residents, like Beverly Hickman, who said she struggled to pay $1,100 per month in rent following back surgery before moving into an apartment managed by TRIP on Ninth Street in 2012. She now pays $600 a month, and her rent hasn’t increased since she moved in.
“No matter what, we can come together. Affordable rent is so important,” Hickman said.
Some lots where the new buildings will be constructed were already vacant. Dilapidated buildings on other lots were razed. All of the new buildings have been designed to blend with the existing structures around them. Nealon said it doesn’t serve the community to build big, multiunit buildings that would look out of place in the neighborhood.
In all, there will be 51 units – 33 one-bedroom, 12 two-bedroom, four three-bedroom and two four-bedroom units. Of the 51, 26 were designed specifically for people with mobility, hearing or vision impairments. All the buildings were designed in accordance with efficiency and green standards, another request from the community. Move-in dates range from January to June, 2022. Eligibility ranges from 50 to 60 percent of the local average median income – $57,360 or less for a family of four. TRIP will start taking applications Nov. 6.
Chris Burke, CEO of Unity House, said putting the project together was complicated. But, of the 5,000 families the human services agency sees each year, the most common message is, “we can’t afford rent, we’re having a hard time keeping a roof over our heads.”
“We’re willing to do this again and again if it’s what the community wants,” Burke said.