Christopher Community’s Riverview Apartments to Offer 39 Units of Affordable and Supportive Housing

Local Investment Complements “Central NY Rising” – Region’s Successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative Blueprint to Grow the Economy and Create New Opportunities

April 27, 2016, Cortland, New York – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that construction has begun on the $7.35 million Riverview Apartments project in Cortland. When complete, the two-story, 39-unit building will provide affordable housing for low-income families as well as supportive housing for individuals who require behavioral health services. Christopher Community Inc. is developing the project which is being funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the Community Preservation Corporation and Enterprise Community Investment. Catholic Charities of Cortland County will provide comprehensive mental health services to the tenants in the supportive units.

“Access to housing is a basic human right and today we are building on our efforts to ensure that every New Yorker has a safe and affordable place to live,” Governor Cuomo said. “This project will help provide the most vulnerable residents in the region with a place to call home and build a brighter and more sustainable Central New York community.”

Located at 6 – 10 Riverview Avenue, the apartments under construction are among the thousands of units that form the foundation of the Governor’s new, $10 billion House New York 2020 program to create or preserve 100,000 affordable units over the next five years.

The 17,306-square-foot building will have a total of 39 affordable apartments with 20 one-bedroom apartments designated for people with serious mental illness. Catholic Charities of Cortland County will provide wrap-around mental health services to these residents. Services can include case management, housing supports, peer supports, linkage to health home providers, and 24/7 emergency support. The remaining 19 affordable units will provide an affordable housing option for low-income families.

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State has developed over 6,000 units of supportive housing over the past four years, with thousands of additional units in development,” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan. “The road to recovery can require a lot of support, not just from mental health professionals, but from family and friends. Housing projects such as these allow people who are struggling with their own mental health to stay close to loved ones and get the help they need.”

“These new apartments will help fill the critical need for expanded affordable housing opportunities in the City of Cortland and offer a life-enhancing choice for people who have a mental illness and who are capable of living independently given appropriate care and support,”said HCR Commissioner James S. Rubin. “Governor Cuomo’s commitment to seeing the region grow and flourish through his Upstate Revitalization Initiative is complemented by this effort to meet New Yorkers’ housing needs. This dedication, combined with the compassion and capacity of our partners both in and out of government are what bring projects such as this to reality.”

Rafael E. Cestero, President and CEO of CPC said, “Supportive housing is a compassionate and effective pathway to providing some of our most vulnerable citizens with an opportunity to find stability and a supportive environment where they can live with dignity. At CPC we have partnered with the state to help finance thousands of supportive units throughout New York, and have seen the positive results firsthand. I thank the Governor for committing an exceptional level of resources to address the need for supportive housing. I also thank our partners at HCR, OMH, Christopher Community and Catholic Charities for their commitment to a project that will provide this community with a much needed resource of affordable and supportive housing.”

Douglas Reicher, President of Christopher Community, said, “We’re committed to providing the finest affordable housing in the area. A portion of these new apartments will be reserved to address the housing needs of the mental health community as well as individuals with mobility impairments. The remainder of the building will provide affordable one and two bedroom apartments.”

OMH provided a $3.5 million construction loan and CPC is providing a $2.5 million construction loan and a $3.5 million private pension fund permanent loan. The CPC construction loan will be repaid through $3.3 million in funding from Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and $525,402 from Medicaid Redesign Team Funds provided by HCR.
Senator James L. Seward said, “Creating affordable housing opportunities for our low-income and most vulnerable strengthens our communities and serves a critical public health need. This new complex will meet a critical need while further enhancing the quality of life for those who live and work in Cortland. I congratulate Christopher Community and Catholic Charities as they embark on this transformative project and thank Governor Cuomo for his support.”

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton said, “The Riverview Apartments development promises to be an enormous benefit for the City of Cortland and its residents, providing much-needed safe, affordable and accessible housing for some of our most vulnerable citizens, who strive to live independently in the community. I am proud of the role that state government has played in making this project a reality and the strong stance the Assembly Majority has always taken in support of state funding for housing initiatives. Thanks also to Governor Cuomo, Christopher Community and Catholic Charities for their steadfast commitment to improving our communities and the lives of our fellow New Yorkers.”

City of Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin said, “We are working hard to ensure that Cortland is a city of opportunity for everyone. Thanks to Governor Cuomo and our great partners in the Riverview Apartments development we have the chance to build new, high-quality affordable housing that will not only provide affordable homes for families who are low-income, but also a safe haven for individuals who need supportive services.”

Tom Eastman, VP of Syndication at Enterprise said, “Enterprise’s investment in Riverview Apartments is part of our long-term effort to end housing insecurity in the U.S., which means no more homelessness and no more families paying more than half their income on rent. We congratulate Christopher Community and the entire development team for the beginning of an exciting project.”

Riverview Apartments will be built on property currently owned by Catholic Charities and began with the demolition of several existing buildings. The development is jointly owned by Christopher Community and Catholic Charities of Cortland County. Each unit will be fully accessible for handicapped individuals. All appliances will be Energy Star and the building will comply with Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. There will also be a program office, communal lounge, resident storage space, utility and laundry rooms, as well as bike storage for residents on the site. Construction is expected to be completed by the fall of 2016 and the complex will be ready for occupancy in early 2017.

The 2016-17 Enacted Budget that Governor Cuomo signed into law includes $20 billion over five years for a comprehensive statewide housing and homelessness action plan.

The $10 billion housing plan boosts state spending on housing programs by nearly $5 billion and will create and preserve 100,000 affordable housing units across the state, along with supporting services for New Yorkers seeking affordable housing. This program builds on the achievements in affordable housing preservation and construction over the past five years, including the creation of the Tenant Protection Unit, which has returned more than 50,000 housing units to rent regulation, and the $1 billion House NY initiative.

The $10 billion homelessness action plan will also support the creation of 6,000 new supportive housing beds, 1,000 emergency beds, and a variety of expanded homelessness services over the next five years. Over 15 years, the state will add 20,000 new units that will build upon 44,000 existing supportive housing units that the state already funds. This investment marks the largest commitment to addressing homelessness in New York State history.

Accelerating Central NY Rising
The development of Riverview Apartments supplements “Central NY Rising,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested nearly $3 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. 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 Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination in which to grow and invest.

Now Central NY Rising is moving 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 encourage private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.