STEL Awarded Nearly $800 K To Develop Supportive Housing Units In Chautauqua County

UPDATE 2:39 PM: Whitney told WNYNewsNow Monday the proposed Gateway Lofts will utilize vacant space, with Community Helping Hands’ help, in the Gateway Center on Water St.

PLEASE NOTE: The image used is a stock image and isn’t necessarily the design of either project.

CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY-Southern Tier Environments for Living, Inc. (STEL) recently received two conditional awards from New York State to develop 35 supportive housing units in Chautauqua County through its Dunkirk Renovation and Ownership Program and a proposed Gateway Lofts project in Jamestown.

The Gateway Lofts is a multifamily affordable housing project which will include 74 units. Twenty-five of them are meant to take place of incarceration for those mentally ill who have a serious mental illness or a substance abuse disorder with a history of criminal offenses based on a $625,000 award.

The project would be a collaboration among STEL, Community Helping Hands Inc., and Chautauqua County’s Department of Mental Hygiene and Department of Corrections.

“All 25 of the ESSHI units for the proposed project in Jamestown would be affordable for households with incomes at or below 50% of area median income and under this funding it would create affordable units for households with incomes at or below 30 percent,” said STEl Executive Director Thomas Whitney. “These ESSHI units are intended to be an alternative to incarceration.”

“We have not secured all of our capital funds for this project, but New York State Senator Catharine Young has been an important asset in helping us achieve funding for this project.

The awards were recently announced by  Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of his Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI), a $2.6 billion, five-year plan to develop 6,000 units of supportive housing across the state.

STEL’s Dunkirk Renovation and Ownership Program also received grant money. Dunkirk’s program is a multifamily affordable housing project that will be located at various sites in the eastern portion of the City of Dunkirk.

It will reportedly involve the new construction of 11 buildings and the rehabilitation of 14 existing one and two-family houses to create a total of 49 units of affordable rental housing for low income individuals and families. The award provides $165,000 for 10 units for homeless individuals with serious mental illness.

“By receiving this funding, it will allow the 10 ESSHI units in our Dunkirk project to be affordable for households with incomes at or below 30 percent of the area median income,” said Whitney. “We anticipate closing on the construction loan for this project by the end of the year with construction starting soon after.”

County Executive Vince Horrigan stressed the importance of more supportive housing units.

“Increasing the number of supportive housing units in Chautauqua County has been one of my key priorities,” said Horrigan. “These awards will help provide support services to individuals who are facing homelessness and struggling with mental illnesses or drug addiction. It will also help keep rent affordable for them as they get the services they need.”

Support services that would be provided through each of these projects include care management services, employment services, linkages with community providers, supportive counseling, and assistance in daily living skills development.

“This award is the result of a strong collaboration and advocacy between the participating community partners,” said Patricia Brinkman, Community Mental Hygiene Services Director. “Access to safe and affordable housing is essential for anyone in the recovery process. The creation of a supportive housing community will enhance the potential for residents to be successful in their recovery.”