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May 25, 2021

$7.5 million in state grants will fund Ithaca affordable housing plans

first_img Your government news is made possible with support from: Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at [email protected] More by Brian Crandall center_img ITHACA, N.Y. — The New York State Homes and Community Renewal division has announced a pair of multi-million dollar state grants for projects in Ithaca focused on affordable and supportive housing.New York State will award about $2.2 million to Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services as part of the second phase for its scattered site preservation project, and $5.3 million to Lakeview Health Services for the construction of its West End Heights mixed-use project. The funds come from a combination of the state’s Housing Trust Fund (HTF) for low-income housing preservation and development, and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs).A front elevation of the proposed 203-209 Elm Street.The $9 million INHS Scattered Site Preservation project involves the redevelopment of 29 existing rental units at 203-209 Elm St., 111 W. Clinton St., 406 S. Plain St., 227 S. Geneva St., and 502 W. State St., including six units of housing for special needs households. Most of the projects are renovations, except for the 203-209 Elm Street project, which will replace the existing structures on-site with a new 13-unit apartment building. Most of the units will serve households making 30-60% of area median income. Brian Crandall The West End Heights project consists of a five-story, 60 unit apartment building to be located at 709-713 W. Court St. in the city’s West End neighborhood. On the first floor of the $21.7 million building, office space will be available for both residents and other Lakeview clients. Twenty of the units will be reserved for people with a mental health diagnosis, and an additional 10 units are for people with a diagnosis who are also experiencing homelessness. The remaining 30 units are affordable housing (households making less than 60% area median income), with eight units for “homeless or unstably housed individuals who may also have special needs relating to substance abuse and/or HIV/AIDS,” plans state.Though there’s no concrete start date given for the projects, the grants significantly raise the prospect of construction beginning before the end of the year. Unlike market-rate housing where construction costs are typically covered by the developer and a commercial lender, the low return on investment for lenders leads affordable and supportive housing to seek alternative funding to cover the financial gap so that construction can begin. Affordable housing financing is like a puzzle, to be put together from a variety of public and private funding sources, from bank loans to tax-exempt bonds to tax credits, and all these different sources have to fit together in a certain way for maximum financial leverage.An aerial site plan of West End Heights.All construction and renovation plans have already been reviewed, and both 203-209 Elm St. and West End Heights were approved by the city of Ithaca in 2017. Since that time, the projects have already received some grant funding from various local and state sources. INHS has been awarded $100,000 from the city’s 2018 federal funding award to be used towards its Scattered Site Preservation plans. Lakeview Health Services was awarded a $3.7 million grant from the state Office of Mental Health last November, as well as a $100,000 grant from the city of Ithaca and a $150,000 grant from Tompkins County.These supportive housing grants are only awarded a few times per year, and typically fewer than one in three applicants are funded in an application round. Both of these projects were previously passed over for state funding in an application round earlier last year. With this highly selective, time-constrained process, housing projects like 203-209 Elm Street and West End Heights have to be planned out and approved years in advance. Tagged: 203-209 Elm Street, 709-713 West Court Street, affordable housing, grants, INHS, lakeview health services, NYS Homes and Community Renewal, West End Heights last_img read more

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