On June 29, 2021, Troy, New York announced the start of construction on an $18 million affordable and supportive housing development in their North Central neighborhood. The Hillside Views Neighborhood Revitalization project will redevelop eight vacant or underutilized parcels to create 51 energy-efficient affordable homes with 26 units reserved for previously homeless households in need of support services.
Readers of the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity, know that affordable housing is often a central tactic of effective downtown and neighborhood revitalization strategies, so Troy is on the right tack here. New York is one state that understands this, as they have actually combined housing and community revitalization into a single agency. Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested $490 million in the Capital Region alone to create or preserve nearly 5,600 affordable homes.
As part of this sizeable redevelopment project, which is supported by the local land bank, four blighted buildings will be demolished and the lots will be combined into eight sites located within Ingalls Avenue (North), Eleventh Street (East), 5th Avenue (West), and Hoosick Road (South).
Mayor Patrick Madden said, “Access to affordable housing opportunities is critical to building stronger, more resilient neighborhoods and communities. The Hillside Views Neighborhood Revitalization Project will help support the ongoing revitalization of North Central Troy by removing abandoned buildings and replacing them with quality housing options for local families. We are excited to support this important housing construction project, and thank Governor Cuomo, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, Office of Mental Health, NYSERDA, Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (TRIP) and Unity House for their vote of confidence in the future of Troy.”
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul explained, “Everyone deserves the decency of a roof over their heads and access to the support services needed to better their lives. As the Capital Region gears up for a post-pandemic economic recovery, the Hillside Views Neighborhood Revitalization Project will help provide safe, quality and affordable housing to all in the Troy community, while providing a much-needed boost to local businesses.”
The Hillside Views Neighborhood Revitalization project is part of Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented $20 billion, five-year affordable housing plan. The Governor’s plan will provide all New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing by building and preserving more than 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing.
“Housing is a fundamental right, and every single New Yorker deserves access to safe, affordable housing,” New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said.
“Projects like Hillside Views provide much-needed relief and reassurance to our most vulnerable residents, especially after the hardships brought on by the pandemic, while also benefitting the economy of the entire region as we work to build a stronger New York for all,” he added.
Hillside Views will comprise one four-story building with 28 apartments and seven townhouse-style buildings at scattered locations. The project is being developed on 17 individual parcels obtained over time by the city of Troy, the Troy Community Land Bank, and various private owners.
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “We are grateful to TRIP and Unity House for their vision in developing this $18 million housing community across Troy’s North Central neighborhood. The Hillside Views Neighborhood Revitalization project will transform underutilized properties into much-needed modern housing and promote Troy’s resurgence as a thriving city with a rich history. With 51 affordable and energy-efficient homes, including 26 with supportive services, we are helping to build a healthier and more attractive neighborhood for the benefit of all who call Troy home.”
All apartments will be affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. Twenty-six apartments are reserved formerly homeless individuals who will have access to onsite support services through Unity House. These services will be funded through the Governor’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the NYS Office of Mental Health.
Six apartments are fully adapted and move-in ready for people with a mobility impairment and three are fully adapted and move-in ready for people with a hearing or visual impairment.
The project’s developer is Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program.
President/CEO of Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, Christine Nealon, said, “When the neighbors of Troy’s Hillside North neighborhood spoke, TRIP & Unity House responded! With investments from NYS Homes and Community Renewal, the Office of Mental Health, NYSERDA and Redstone Equity Partners, eight new homes will replace five vacant and blighted buildings in a traditionally disinvested neighborhood. Strong community is built in partnership with our neighbors and with equitable investment in our infrastructure. We are proud to co-develop this project and look forward to even greater investments as we achieve our collective vision of a strong Hillside North and North Central Community.”
The multifamily building will have energy-efficient features including a high-efficiency furnace for heating and cooling in each apartment and common areas. Hot water at each site will be handled with a central high-efficiency water heater and piped throughout the building to the common areas and apartments.
Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, “The Hillside Views Neighborhood Revitalization project will be transformative for the North Central neighborhood of Troy as the project redevelops underutilized or vacant buildings as well as removes blighted buildings as well. The supportive units that are part of this project being located near the Unity House Front Door will provide resources these families can use to address underlying issues that contributed to their housing instability. With supportive housing like Hillside Views more individuals will be given the opportunity to break cycle of housing instability and thrive within their own community.”
The location of all project sites is near the Unity House Front Door. Residents will have access to Unity House’s community services, including a community meal offered every weekday, the Re-Style Boutique, a choice food pantry, and case management services.
Chief Executive Officer of Unity House of Troy, Chris Burke, said, “For more than 50 years, Unity House has endeavored to make life better for people who are struggling — food, safety, childcare, and we recognize that safe and stable housing is the key to creating that life stability. This project is a big step forward to realizing this goal and our mission. We are grateful for the partnership with TRIP, and all those who are helping make this a reality.”
Public transportation is available for the tenants via the Capital District Transit Authority. Multiple routes are within walking distance to all properties in the development. St. Mary’s Hospital is nearby on Massachusetts Avenue.
Office of Mental Health Commissioner Ann Marie T. Sullivan, MD, said, “The Hillside Views apartments will beautify the surrounding neighborhood, and more importantly provide safe and stable housing for formerly homeless people living with mental illness. They will now be able to receive the support services they need right in their own homes, allowing them to become independent, productive and successful members of their community. I am so proud to be part of the team implementing Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, which has provided new opportunities for thousands of families and individuals.”
State support for Hillside Views includes the allocation of federal low-income housing tax credits that will generate about $9.1 million in equity and $6.3 million in subsidy from HCR. OMH is providing $221,000 in capital and $650,000 annually in operating funds through ESSHI.
Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO of NYSERDA said, “NYSERDA is pleased to support the Hillside Views Neighborhood Revitalization project which will provide safe and supportive housing. The energy efficiency features being utilized will contribute toward the comfort and health of residents while showing that new construction can have a lower carbon footprint while still being affordable, beautiful places to live.”
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is providing more than $57,000 in grant funding to the project through its Low-Rise New Construction program. In addition, the Leviticus Fund will provide $1.5 million.
Rendering courtesy of office of Gov. Cuomo.