July 26, 2023 saw the completion of Edna Craven Estates, a $49 million mixed-use affordable housing redevelopment that creates 164 “sustainable” homes in Northeast neighborhood of Rochester, New York.
It was constructed on land which previously housed 23 vacant and blighted structures that were acquired by the city of Rochester, and were demolished in advance of redevelopment and revitalization.
Andrew Sewnauth, Chief Executive Officer of CDS Life Transitions said, “Edna Craven Estates is more than just affordable housing. It represents revitalization and an opportunity for the people of this community who need it and deserve it most. We are pleased to do our part in providing these safe and quality environments for those in Rochester.”
The newly constructed Edna Craven Estates also features ground floor commercial space and a new community center at the intersection of Clifford and Joseph Avenues.
Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans said, “Governor Hochul is a critical partner in this step forward for the residents of Rochester in need of stable, quality housing. Residents deserve vibrant homes and communities filled with hope; we have accomplished that with the Edna Craven Estates. This development will catalyze change in this neighborhood as it exemplifies the spirit, courage, and tenacity of the woman it was named after and will provide homes that will enrich the lives of all who live there now and into the future.”
The redevelopment is named after Edna Craven, who has been a committed advocate for Northeast Rochester for over 60 years. Ms. Craven is known for her service as president of the Alphonse Bernard Street Block Club and as an active member of her church, Antioch Missionary Baptist.
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, “Housing is not just about providing a place to sleep for the night – it’s about creating and building a strong community. This project transforms what was a blighted block of ‘zombie homes’ into affordable housing and a community center that will offer adult education, workforce training, nutrition classes and more. Many of the families who move into these units will be connected to the wraparound services needed to support a strong, vibrant community. It’s only fitting that this transformative project carries the name of longtime community advocate Edna Craven, a former lieutenant with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Thank you to my government partners at New York State and the city of Rochester for helping to complete this project.”
The redevelopment consists of seven separate buildings along Clifford and Joseph Avenues. The largest is a five-story mixed-use building featuring 94 apartments, a convenience store, a fitness center, and a civic center used by a rotating group of community organizations.
Assemblymember Demond Meeks said, “A major step has been taken to enhance living conditions for members of our community with the completion of the Edna Craven Estates on Clifford and Joseph Avenue. As part of revitalization efforts, a large portion of ‘zombie’ homes were demolished, and 164 supportive housing units and a community center were built within the area. We are committed to continuing our work to ensure that everyone has access to safe, secure, and affordable housing. Thank you to NYS Homes & Community Renewal, the city of Rochester, NYSERDA, and CDS Monarch for demonstrating their commitment to serving our communities.”
Additionally, there is a four-story residential building with 20 apartments and five identical three-story townhouses each with 10 apartments. All apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income.
State Senator Samra Brouk said, “I’m grateful to my partners in government and the team at CDS Monarch for their work on this initiative. In addition to creating more than one hundred affordable housing units, this project will help meet a crucial need in our community by providing housing for those who are struggling with substance use disorder or are survivors of domestic violence. Housing is a human right, and by creating safe and affordable residences in the city of Rochester, we are taking steps to revitalize neighborhoods, reduce violence, improve health outcomes, and create a brighter future for all people who call our community home.”
The redevelopment includes 48 apartments with supportive services funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance and the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.
President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Doreen M. Harris, said, “With the opening of Edna Craven Estates housing development, Monroe County residents now have expanded access to affordable and modern housing that features energy efficient appliances and high-performance space conditioning, windows, insulation, and air sealing. In addition to energy cost savings, occupants will enjoy living spaces that provide a comfortable and healthy environment with lower onsite emissions while supporting Governor Hochul’s goal to develop two million climate friendly homes by 2030.”
Representative Joe Morelle said, “We’re experiencing an affordable housing shortage that threatens the economic stability of too many people across our community. Edna Craven Estates will help address this crisis by providing much-needed supportive, low-cost housing opportunities where they’re needed most. I’m grateful to Governor Hochul for her leadership and commitment to expanding safe, stable housing in Rochester and throughout New York State.”
Designed to meet the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Low Rise Residential New Construction Program criteria, the development includes energy star appliances, low-flow water fixtures, and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “Affordable housing is becoming increasingly hard to find, and we need to rethink how we help low-income families. This new housing development will help ensure that families in Rochester have access to safe, quality housing options and have access to vital support services. I am proud to support Governor Hochul’s efforts to expand affordable housing options for families in Rochester and throughout the state.”
Edna Craven Estates was developed by CDS Monarch, Inc. Financing for the development included $18 million in Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and $20 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. NYSERDA provided $145,000. The city of Rochester provided $1 million in subsidy.
Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Dr. Chinazo Cunningham said, “Access to supportive housing is important for New Yorkers impacted by addiction. We are proud to join with our partner agencies to continue to support Governor Hochul’s comprehensive housing plan. These efforts are creating more opportunities across New York State for people to find safe and secure housing and receive the support that they need to live healthy lives.”
In the last five years, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested over $200 million to create or preserve more than 2,100 affordable apartments in the city of Rochester, including most recently Park Square and Canal Commons.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “New York’s investment in this $49 million project has transformed Clifford and Joseph Avenues by removing 23 dilapidated buildings and replacing them with 164 affordable homes and new commercial and community gathering space. This neighborhood revitalization effort will benefit residents of Northeast Rochester for decades to come and builds upon our success in creating and preserving homes in every corner of the city. Congratulations to our partners in state government, the city of Rochester, and CDS Monarch on the completion of Edna Craven Estates.”
Other state and local leaders voiced their support for the project:
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Acting Commissioner Barbara C. Guinn said, “Providing an affordable place to live by itself is often not enough to stabilize housing for an individual who has experienced chronic homelessness. By combining affordable housing and supportive services, we provide an environment where these individuals can address the underlying issues that contribute to their housing instability and thrive. With operating funding through Governor Hochul’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, the Edna Craven Estates will provide new hope and stability for individuals who have experienced homelessness in the North Rochester area.”
Senator Chuck Schumer said, “Every Rochester family deserves access to safe, affordable housing. I am proud that the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit I have worked long and hard to protect has supplied the millions needed to transform this once abandoned community eyesore into hundreds of new affordable homes for Rochester families with critical supportive services to help our most vulnerable residents. I applaud Governor Hochul’s commitment to increasing access to affordable housing in Rochester and across New York State, and I will never stop fighting to ensure that every single New Yorker has a roof over their head.”
“The opening of Edna Craven Estates represents another major step forward in the revitalization of Northeast Rochester,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.
“As we continue to take steps to address the state’s ongoing housing crisis, these types of developments exemplify how mixed-use affordable housing can enhance a neighborhood, create new opportunities for residents, and spur economic growth for our businesses,” she added.
Edna Craven Estates complements Governor Hochul’s $25 billion comprehensive Housing Plan that will create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes across New York, including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations, plus the electrification of an additional 50,000 homes.
Images courtesy of Passero Associates.