City to increase supply of affordable homes

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Blighted structures at the RHA’s Federal Street property will be replaced with two low-rise multifamily buildings. (Rendering courtesy of Edgemere Development)

The Beechwood neighborhood will add 53 new affordable homes. The $27 million scattered site development, which has begun construction, furthers the city’s revitalization goal.

The project is being developed by the Rochester Housing Authority with consultant Edgemere Development.  

“Quality affordable housing is vital for our community and this project will help to achieve our goal of increasing and preserving RHA’s housing stock,” says Shawn Burr, director of RHA.

Eight blighted structures at the RHA’s Federal Street property will be replaced with two low-rise multifamily buildings and a single-family home, totaling 18 residences. The demolition is part of the construction.

Thirty-five existing homes will be replaced or will undergo significant rehabilitation. The homes will be a mix of two-, three-, and four-bedroom units affordable to households earning between 30 and 90 percent of the area median income, officials say. Nine apartments, with support services for those with a criminal history and who are experiencing homelessness, are also part of the project. 

Rental subsidies and services will be funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, officials say. Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach will provide supportive services.   

The homes will use Energy Star appliances, low-flow water fixtures, and LED lighting, officials say. A building at the Federal Street site will have solar panels. New high-efficiency boilers, improved ventilation, enhanced insulation, and window replacements are part of improvements designed to meet the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s New Construction – Housing Program Tier 4 criteria. The Federal Street site will have free Wi-Fi, an electric vehicle charging station, and a playground.   

In connection with this project, Gov. Kathy Hochul again stressed her commitment to finding solutions to the housing crisis statewide. The investment in this development will help with the revitalization of Beechwood by creating and preserving urgently needed housing opportunities in the city, she says.

The development complements 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.

Financing for the development comes from various state agencies including $13 million in state and federal low-income housing tax credits and $7 million in subsidies from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The city of Rochester and RNA are providing a subsidy of $400,000.   

“I am grateful to Gov. Hochul and the Rochester Housing Authority for their investments to improve the diversity of housing needs that we have in the Beechwood neighborhood both today and into the future,” Rochester Mayor Malik Evans says. “This partnership will help us accomplish our mission of creating a safe, equitable and prosperous Rochester by providing even more stable, affordable, energy-efficient, and high-quality housing for individuals and families.” 

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 the recently completed Edna Craven Estates, officials say.   

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

3 thoughts on “City to increase supply of affordable homes

  1. Why the houses cost so much would be a perfect investigative story for the Beacon to do. If you cant get answers let us know who refuses to respond. “Just over minimum wage” means nothing.. Get real answers..

  2. Why is affordable housing so expensive? This article says the cost for 53 housing units will be $27M, or over $500K per unit.

    • That is the same question we’ve asked over and over with wpeach of these projects. There has yet to be a reasonable explanation. The construction workers are almost never drawn from union ranks, are almost always from out-of-town/state, and are paid just over minimum wage. So, it doesn’t appear that labor is the driving expense. It feels like our cities and towns are being sold to developers at our expense.

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