Approximately 100 people gathered on E. Genesee Street in Syracuse, NY, last month to celebrate the completion of Winston Gaskin Homes, following the renovation of 20 multi-family buildings with 66 affordable and supportive housing units.
The development, named after a prominent Syracuse African-American business person who co-founded Housing Visions, also has set aside 20 units for families experiencing homelessness and domestic violence.
The apartments range from one to five bedrooms, and four units are fully accessible and adapted for people with challenges with mobility. Three units have also been adapted for people with hearing or vision impairments.
The buildings, mainly constructed between 1900s to 19030s, had deteriorated, and Housing Visions, a not-for-profit Developer, sought financing to rehabilitate this critical housing resource. CSH awarded Housing Visions with a $100,000 Project Initiation Loan in 2017, followed by a $1,047,000 million unsecured predevelopment loan in 2018.
Funds from New York State Housing and Community Renewal, the Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, Low Income Housing Tax Credits and the Federal Home Loan Bank's Affordable Housing program aided the completion of the project. In addition, the Empire State Supportive Housing (ESSHI) Funds will be used to sustain operations and support services for the 20 supportive housing units dedicated to domestic violence survivors.
The YWCA of Syracuse and Onondaga County is providing support services to families. Fanny Villareal, the YWCA's Executive Director, emphasized how vital a resource this housing is for the families who need it.
Dignitaries from state and local government, including Mayor Ben Walsh, RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner and CEO of NY State Housing and Community Renewal (HCR), and Dana Greenberg of the NYS Homeless and Housing Assistance Corporation, were also present at the event.
Ben Lockwood, President and CEO of Housing Visions underscored the importance of this project: "The preservation of these 66 units of quality, affordable housing will not only ensure the continued [upward] trajectory of these neighborhoods, but more importantly it reinforces the positive impact that housing has on our community's most vulnerable residents."