Investment Complements “Finger Lakes Forward”—the Region’s Successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative to Create a Strong Economy and New Opportunities
60-Unit Housing Development Offers Supportive Housing Option for 30 Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities, Affordable Housing for 30 Low Income Families
ALBANY – The New York State Office of Mental Health and New York State Homes and Community Renewal today announced the opening of a $16.6 million housing development at 175 Alexander Street in Rochester. Alexander Commons will offer affordable and supportive housing options with on-site behavioral health services provided by East House. The investment enhances Finger Lakes Forward, the region’s successful economic development initiative that is creating new opportunities for individuals and families, and revitalizing communities throughout the Finger Lakes.
“Supportive housing developments, like this one in Rochester, give individuals with mental illness a path to their own future,” says Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan. “They ensure people have a safe, stable living environment, which is the cornerstone to recovery. Taking away the fear of housing instability allows individuals to focus on their own individual goals and paves the way for their success.”
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Alexander Commons combines quality homes with the services people need to lead independent, productive lives in their communities. Developments like this have positive impacts on working families and entire neighborhoods. Alexander Commons enhances Governor Cuomo’s Finger Lakes Forward initiative that is revitalizing communities, creating economic opportunity and improving quality of life for families who live and work in the region.”
The three-story building has 60 living units, with 30 one-bedroom apartments dedicated for individuals recovering from mental illness. The remaining 30 units are available to low-income individuals or families who qualify. Each unit offers an open floor plan, with energy efficient kitchen appliances. The building is fully accessible to the disabled, with ample parking and a landscaped courtyard, providing recreation space for residents. Alexander Commons is staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
East House will provide on-site case managers and peer specialists to help residents develop a plan that ensures their success living independently in the community. East House will also offer support services to help individuals learn how to manage their apartment, be a good neighbor and locate amenities such as grocery stores, pharmacies and transportation options in their neighborhood.
“The need for quality, affordable housing is a critical issue in our community. Studies show a correlation between the quality and stability of a person’s home and their sense of well-being, particularly for those in recovery from mental illness,” said Greg Soehner, East House’s president and CEO. “At East House, we have seen this positive impact first hand. We look forward to assisting the new residents at Alexander Commons as they build successful recoveries in the community.”
“It has been our distinct pleasure and honor to partner with East House and New York State in the development of Alexander Commons. This was a very special opportunity to create an exceptional community for very special people. This joint enterprise provided over 80 construction jobs and 3 permanent jobs with potential for several more. As PathStone continues to partner with community leaders and work together, great things happen for our community,” said Stuart Mitchell, President/CEO of PathStone Corporation.
“Our region has long been a leader in supportive and affordable housing and Alexander Commons will be a great new addition to the City of Rochester and the 55th District.,” said Senator Richard Funke. “The affordable and supportive housing model is proven to attract investment, grow jobs, and improve outcomes for some of our most at risk residents. I am proud state investment will play a part in making this project possible.”
“The result of an innovative partnership between New York State, East House and Pathstone, Alexander Commons is a breakthrough mixed-use community investment,” said Assemblymember Harry Bronson. “This stunning addition to the Monroe Avenue neighborhood will provide comfort and stability to families that are having difficulty making ends meet and also provide safe and affordable supportive housing to individuals overcoming mental health challenges.”
To support this project, the New York State Office of Mental Health provided $7.3 million in financing. The project also received Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from New York State Homes and Community Renewal that will generate more than $6.2 million in equity for the development, a subsidy loan of $2.55 million from the Housing Finance Agency, and a $151,000 New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant. The tax credits were syndicated by Enterprise Community Investment.
Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today's announcement accelerates "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The state has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to support its 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.
Now, 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.