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Homes and Community Renewal

Grand Opening And Dedication Ceremony Of Meals On Wheels Culinary Arts Kitchen At Capital South Campus Center

(Pictured left to right: John Demers, Capital District Physicians Health Plan; Dr. Steady Moono, President, Schenectady County Community College; Sean Fitzgerald, Assistant Commissioner HCR; Hon. Kathy Sheehan, Albany Mayor; Assemblyman John McDonald; Steven T. Longo, Executive Director, Albany Housing Authority)

July 1, 2015, ALBANY, NY - The Albany Housing Authority and New York State Homes and Community Renewal announce the grand opening of the Walter and Michelle Borisenok Family Meals on Wheels Culinary Arts Kitchen at Capital South Campus Center (CSCC), 20 Warren Street, Albany.
The new 3,300 square-foot commercial kitchen will be used by Senior Services of Albany to prepare hundreds of meals a day for the Meals on Wheels Program, which provides sustenance to the community for the aging and homebound populations, and the Head Start pre-school programs. Schenectady County Community College will also conduct culinary arts training courses at the kitchen.

This is the latest project to be completed in the Campus Center, a community education facility designed to make General Education Development (GED), college degree and certificate programs available to residents with limited access to higher education. It’s made possible through unique partnerships of state and local governments, not-for-profits, academic institutions, and private donors. Partners include the Albany Housing Authority (AHA), which owns the CSCC; Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, which manages and programs the CSCC; New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR); Schenectady County Community College (SCCC); and Senior Services of Albany (SSA).

“Our mandate from Governor Cuomo is to find innovative and creative ways to serve our fellow New Yorkers,” said James Rubin, Commissioner/CEO, Homes and Community Renewal. “We are proud to be part of this collaborative effort to enhance the quality of life of those who will enjoy nourishing meals, as well as culinary students who are learning an important craft that will aid them in their professional careers.”  
During the grand opening, to be attended by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Dr. Steady Moono, an additional $100,000 grant from the Walter and Michelle Borisenok Family will be announced by Senior Services of Albany. The grant will be used to help sustain the operations of the kitchen, as well as purchase the additional equipment necessary for the operation of SCCC’s culinary arts program. 

“Congratulations to all the project partners and thank you to Governor Cuomo and Homes and Community Renewal for recognizing the value of this kitchen as a lifeline to Albany’s seniors and as a gateway to education and career opportunities for those aspiring to work in the culinary arts industry,” said Kathy Sheehan, Mayor, City of Albany.

"Rarely in all my years working in the public sector have I seen a more exciting, fruitful collaboration than the Meals on Wheels Culinary Arts Kitchen,” said Steven T. Longo, executive director, Albany Housing Authority.  "It is truly a homerun for the entire community."

The kitchen was funded by HCR with a $750,000 award from the Community Investment Fund (CIF) under Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion HOUSE NY initiative. The program prioritizes projects such as the Campus Center that address critical unmet educational needs of the community. 

"Schenectady County Community College is proud to be a part of this innovative partnership that will have far-reaching positive effects in communities across the Capital Region,” said Dr. Steady Moono, president, SCCC. “Our College’s culinary arts and hospitality programs are regularly recognized for their excellence, and this collaboration on the Capital South Campus Center will allow us to extend additional educational opportunities further into the Albany community. It is heartening to see so many organizations and donors coming together to accomplish this mission, and we are glad to be a part of that process.”

For nearly three decades, Meals on Wheels has operated from a small space in the Steamboat Square public housing high-rise on Rensselaer Street. The kitchen was aging badly and in danger of being closed due to ack of funding for capital improvements. Meals on Wheels employs more than 20 staff members and has more than 450 volunteers.

“The partnership between AHA, SSA, SCCC, and Trinity Alliance is an amazing example of how very different organizations can come together to benefit the Albany community,” said John McIntyre, board president, Senior Services of Albany. "This new kitchen enables SSA to continue feeding seniors’ bodies and souls, providing not only a nutritious meal, but also a friendly smile and supportive hand to our elderly neighbors.”

When Capital South Campus Center was completed in August 2014, unfinished space was reserved while the partner organizations pursued additional grant funding to combine and address additional, urgent community needs with the project. The CIF grant was used to complete construction of the kitchen. The initiative is part of Capital South Campus Center’s ongoing mission to bring career-based additional educational opportunities to the Albany community. It has already forged educational partnerships for a broad range of studies with the University at Albany, Hudson Valley Community College, Schenectady County Community College, Maria College, the College of Saint Rose, Bryant and Stratton College, the Educational Opportunity Center and Capital Region BOCES. 

The 17,200-square-foot campus center opened after three years of planning and construction. It was funded with a $4.9 million grant from the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD), plus a $250,000 match from the Albany Housing Authority. The architect was CSArch and the construction manager was AOW Associates, both of Albany. 

Located on land in Lincoln Square Homes, a 200-unit low-income housing complex, CSCC includes classrooms, labs, administrative office space and a child-care facility. The Center is within walking distance for residents of the South End and workers in downtown Albany. The Route 100 bus line of the Capital District Transportation Authority puts the CSCC in reach of the rest of Albany and the Capital Region.

The Walter and Michelle Borisenok Family Meals on Wheels Culinary Arts Kitchen at Capital South Campus Center is part of an overall strategy to revitalize the Albany’s South End neighborhood, which includes three phases of development funded largely through HCR’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program. The result is 151 new and renovated affordable apartments in the South End community, transforming areas of urban blight into neighborhood opportunities.