New 56-Unit Affordable Inclusive Housing Complex Officially Opens in Town of Sweden

Investment Complements Finger Lakes Forward, the Region’s Blueprint for Economic Growth and Community Development

Brockport, NY–October 12, 2017–Lifetime Assistance, Inc., the largest and most comprehensive developmental disabilities agency in Monroe County, Rochester’s Cornerstone Group, one of Upstate New York’s leading affordable housing developers, and New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) officially opened Frances Apartments today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour. The 56-unit, 8-building independent inclusive housing development, which is fully occupied, was created for low to moderate income families and individuals with developmental disabilities. The ceremony marks the completion of the project, which was begun a year ago, and complements Finger Lakes Forward, the region’s comprehensive blueprint for economic development.

NYSHCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Frances Apartments will allow more than 56 residents to achieve independence and live with dignity in a compassionate environment. By working together with our public and private partners, we can build housing that addresses the different needs of all New Yorkers. Projects like this will have a positive impact on the entire community and will add to the economic vitality of Monroe County. We are proud to be a part of this development that advances Governor Cuomo’s agenda to move the Finger Lakes forward and provide safe and affordable housing for all.”

OPWDD Acting Commissioner, Kerry Delaney, added, “Secure, affordable supportive housing is the foundation for the fulfilling, community-integrated life we strive to help people achieve.  We appreciate the opportunity to partner with our colleagues at Homes & Community Renewal to expand and improve supportive housing throughout the state. Projects like this one build richer lives, more cohesive and diverse communities, and ultimately, an even better and stronger New York.”

“This project advances Lifetime Assistance, Inc.’s commitment to foster independence, dignity, and respect for individuals with developmental disabilities in an inclusive community, while providing affordable, accessible housing and meeting this most fundamental and basic of human needs, a warm and safe home,” said James Branciforte, President of Lifetime Assistance.  “Lifetime Assistance is especially gratified by the overwhelming support by the Town of Sweden!”

Rochester’s Cornerstone Group President Roger W. Brandt, said, “We are proud to be part of the Frances Apartments project. This creative affordable housing model is a wonderful collaboration among several State agencies. We look forward to continuing to work with the residents and Lifetime Assistance to foster an inclusive and welcoming housing community. We feel that Frances Barrier Williams would be very pleased with the new development that bears her name.”

Community living options for people of all abilities are quickly evolving. Funding sources and support for housing for people with developmental disabilities have shifted from institutions and segregated setting to person centered services and support including include community-based residences, smaller group homes, living at home and support services for people no matter where they live.

Although some people with disabilities will never be able to live independently, for those who can live more independently with support, more residential opportunities are needed to meet the needs of the growing numbers of people with developmental disabilities who are eager and able to live a more independent life. There is a shortage of options and a long waiting list, an estimated 2000 in Western NY/Finger Lakes region.

Lifetime Assistance, Inc. is working on many fronts to transform and improve the process to help people with developmental disabilities successfully transition out of group homes and supervised residential facilities and live independently in the community.

Lifetime Assistance offers a range of supported apartments, group homes, family homes and in-home supports and services to help people gain independence and the quality of life they deserve, assisting family members and caregivers every step of the way. It also provides a wide array of support services –  from teaching people how to cook, taking transportation, and making their own appointments – to increase the success rate of independence. These services can follow people to any housing setting, whether that is a group home or independent housing.

“I’d like to thank the dedicated advocates and local officials who have made this worthy idea into an exciting reality,” said Senator Robert G. Ortt, 62nd Senatorial District. “This project addresses a major community need as housing has become a signature issue for individuals with developmental disabilities along with their families and caregivers. This community-based apartment complex will provide more than just housing, it will empower our most vulnerable population and allow them to live more independent lives.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s (R,C,I-Batavia) commended the Town of Sweden, Lifetime Assistance, Inc. and Rochester’s Cornerstone group “For ushering in such an important and inclusive housing development. It is paramount to our community’s growth and success that we continue to provide welcoming opportunities for our region’s working families and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In doing so, we strengthen the Western New York tradition of caring for all our residents and giving them the best opportunity to reach their potential.”

“Today’s ribbon cutting ceremony for Frances Apartments shines a light on an affordable housing option for individuals with developmental disabilities who want to remain active and independent in our community,” said County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. “I am thankful to Lifetime Assistance, Inc. for investing in Monroe County and ensuring that it remains an inviting place to live and work.”

“We’re proud to be part of a partnership that’s bringing safe, affordable and supportive housing to the community,” said Tom McGrath, Senior Vice President & Director of Upstate Revitalization at the Community Preservation Corporation. “Frances Apartments speaks to what can be accomplished when you invest with a mission and have partners that are dedicated to providing housing that serves those most in need. My thanks to Rochester’s Cornerstone Group and Lifetime Assistance for their vision and commitment to the community, and to HCR, and OPWDD for their support of this project.”

The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), a leading nonprofit housing and community development lender, provided $850,000 permanent loan to support the project. CPC financed the loan through their funding agreement with the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

Town of Sweden Deputy Supervisor, Robert Muesebeck, thanked the residents for choosing to live in the Town of Sweden. “We’re thrilled to have this project in our Town. Sweden is a wonderful community in which to live and work. We hope the residents take advantage of everything the Town has to offer – a tremendous Community Center for people of all ages, and a Town Park that is second to none.”

“HUD’s funding is a crucial and flexible source of funding to build affordable housing targeted towards Monroe County’s vulnerable residents” said Joan Spilman, Director of HUD’s Buffalo Field Office. “The 56 units we celebrated in Sweden today will give hardworking families and people with disabilities the stable foundation they need to pursue opportunity.”

“The Frances Apartments project meets a critical need in the Greater Rochester community and Citizens’ support is a sign of our strong commitment to affordable housing,” said Paul Taffe, president of Citizens Bank, New York. “Citizens seeks out financial partnerships on projects that strengthen communities in Citizens’ footprint and, for us, this development is a great example of what Citizens strives to do – help our clients and our communities reach their full potential.”

Brockport native Frances Barrier Williams (1855-1944), was a historic champion of civil rights and inclusion and the first African American to graduate from SUNY College at Brockport, Ms. Frances Barrier Williams is recognized for her work as a suffragist and a major figure in the development of the NAACP in 1912.

The shift from deinstitutionalization began in the 1970s to help people with disabilities live a full life, use their abilities and participate in their communities. In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999), affirmed that the unjustified segregation of individuals with disabilities is a form of discrimination prohibited by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

To help people with developmental disabilities successfully connect with independent housing opportunities, Lifetime Assistance has developed a new transition process  and is also creating a model with tools that other organizations around NYS can use.

About Frances Apartments

Frances Apartments consists of seven (7) two-story apartment buildings, each containing 8 apartment units for a total of 56 apartment units. There are 1- bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom buildings. The Project qualifies as Workforce Housing with fifty-seven percent of (57%) of the total Project units being 2 and 3 bedroom floor plans. The gross building square footage is 55,986 including a 2,490 square foot community building which was constructed as the eighth building.

The fifty-six (56) units are comprised of a mix of twenty-four (24) 1-bedroom units, sixteen (16) 2-bedroom units and sixteen (16) 3-bedroom units. The 1-bedroom units are 697/744 square feet, 2-bedroom units are 902/950 square feet, and 3-bedroom units are 1,147/1,194 square feet. There is no superintendent or manager unit.

The community building features a manager’s office, service provider’s office, vestibule and corridor, computer room with three landlord-provided computers for tenant use, common laundry room with Energy Star washers and dryers, bathrooms, mechanical rooms, maintenance shop, and community room with refrigerator, double sink, and a door that leads out to a rear patio. All buildings have Energy Star rated central air conditioning, heating with sealed combustion chambers, lighting, fans and appliances. Tenants pay their own gas heat, hot water and electric including air conditioning usage.

The residential buildings are two-story design, wood construction with vinyl siding and asphalt roof. Residential units are designed for independent living featuring kitchens, breakfast bar in 3-bedroom units, living room, master bedroom with walk-in closet, second bedroom in sixteen (16) units and third bedroom in sixteen (16) units, bathrooms with bathtub or roll-in showers for ADA units (an additional half bathroom in 3-bedroom units), vanities, toilets, bathroom linen closet, hall closet, storage, and pre-wiring for telephone, cable and broadband internet service. Discounted cable and internet service are provided. Safety measures include the building being fully sprinklered, smoke/heat/carbon monoxide detectors in each apartment unit, and private unit entry door with viewer at street level.

Today’s announcement complements Finger Lakes Forward, the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan—investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia, and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion—and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

About Lifetime Assistance

Lifetime Assistance Inc. is the largest, most comprehensive developmental disabilities agency in the Greater Rochester area serving  more than 1,500 people every day at more than 60 sites. Lifetime provides a full spectrum of individualized services including housing alternatives, to help children and adults with developmental disabilities reach their maximum potential by promoting self-reliance, independence, dignity and a sense of purpose.

About Rochester’s Cornerstone Group (RCG)

RCG was founded in 1990 and is a leader in affordable housing development in Upstate New York. Since its inception, Cornerstone has created or preserved over 1,400 units of affordable housing in upstate New York. These projects serve a wide range of households, including families, the elderly, and individuals with mobility impairments or people with developmental disabilities. RCG has successfully developed several I/DD projects as part of a special needs set-aside – Union Meadows II (7 I/DD units) with Providence Housing in Chili, NY and LAI as the service provider; El Camino Estates (4 I/DD units) with Ibero-American Action League in the City of Rochester and Monarch Senior Living (7 I/DD units) with CDS Monarch in Webster, NY.