Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of Mount Aaron Village, a new $20.3 million affordable and supportive housing development in East Buffalo. The development features 59 apartments, including 18 apartments for people who need supportive services to live independently.
"Quality affordable housing is the foundation for a healthy community and individual success," Governor Hochul said. "My administration is committed to working with partners like our faith leaders who are championing this development to bring more housing opportunities to East Buffalo and make this community stronger and more stable in the long-term. As we continue our revitalization efforts in these neighborhoods, Mount Aaron Village will provide the types of homes and resources that residents need to thrive."
Mount Aaron Village complements Governor Hochul's sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. In the FY 2023 State Budget, the Governor introduced and successfully secured a $25 billion, five-year, comprehensive housing plan that will increase housing supply by creating or preserving 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.
The development also builds on the State's efforts to address longstanding inequities in the East Buffalo community. Earlier this year, the Governor announced $50 million in targeted investments to address the needs of East Buffalo following the white supremacist terror attack in May.
Mount Aaron Village consists of a three-story building with 43 apartments and 4,000 square feet of commercial space and three townhouse-style buildings with a total of 16 apartments. There are 18 apartments reserved for individuals experiencing homelessness who will receive rental subsidies and supportive services funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.
Services provided by BestSelf Behavioral Health Inc. include case management, behavioral health services, education resources, counseling, mental health services, primary care services, crisis intervention, peer support, and health home services. BestSelf Behavioral Health Inc. is also leasing the commercial space to provide services to residents and the surrounding community.
The remaining 41 apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. Residential amenities include a community room with kitchen, laundry facilities, and an outdoor playground.
Mount Aaron Village was designed to meet the requirements of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's Low-Rise New Construction Program and Enterprise Green Communities. Energy efficient features include Energy Star labeled appliances, heating and air conditioning systems and lighting.
The development was constructed on two acres of vacant land that the Mount Aaron Village Housing Development Fund Corporation, the development arm of the Mount Aaron Missionary Baptist Church, acquired from the Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation. The developers are Community Hope Builders CDC, Inc., and CB-Emmanuel Realty.
State financing for Mount Aaron Village included federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $12.6 million in equity and nearly $6 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. NYSERDA will provide $55,400. The city of Buffalo is providing $800,000 in Federal HOME funds.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Mount Aaron Village continues our investment in restoring East Buffalo's neighborhoods with housing developments that offer safe, healthy, and affordable homes and new community services. With 59 apartments, including 18 reserved for formerly homeless individuals and families, Mount Aaron Village will help ensure that East Buffalo's current and future residents have the opportunities that all New Yorkers deserve. We are grateful to the Mount Aaron Baptist Church and CB Emmanuel for partnering on this development that will strengthen the entire East Buffalo community."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "With the completion of the Mount Aaron Village project, East Buffalo residents have gained increased access to affordable housing that features energy efficient appliances and equipment while providing enhanced comfort from high-performance windows, insulation and air sealing. This project, and others like it, demonstrate the State's commitment to lowering emissions from the building sector to provide healthier living spaces and communities in support of Governor Hochul's goal to develop two million climate friendly homes by 2030."
New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said, "Providing supportive housing to people impacted by addiction can be critical to promoting an individual's overall health and well-being, and their personal recovery. This is an important program that will have real benefits for people in need in the Buffalo area and will allow them to receive critical treatment services and access other resources close to home."
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "Building and maintaining affordable housing in East Buffalo is critical to its future. I'm proud that federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits generated more than $18 million in financing for this important development, which will strengthen the East Buffalo community."
Representative Brian Higgins said, "Mount Aaron Village serves as investment in a better future for East Buffalo residents, providing stable, modern, and sustainable housing with supportive services so families, seniors, and other individuals have the opportunity to live independently. Federal programs like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and HOME help support the development of affordable housing units like the one. The completion of this project signals important progress that we must continue throughout the Western New York community."
State Senator Tim Kennedy said, "With the completion of Mount Aaron Village, East Buffalo continues to see much-welcomed investment. This affordable housing complex will offer opportunity, accessibility, and key supportive services in an interconnected environment. I applaud Pastor Jones for his continued leadership and vision, and for recognizing the importance of creating a thoughtful, community-centered space that people can truly call home."
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "Congratulations to Community Hope Builders CDC, Inc. and CB Emmanuel Realty on the completion of Mount Aaron Village. These 59 apartments and 4 commercial spaces will add more activity, neighborhood density and the provision of health-related services to the Genesee-Jefferson corridor and surrounding community. I believed in this Eastside Buffalo project so much that I was able to successfully secure $250,000 in DASNY capital funds for assistance. I am very grateful to Governor Hochul, NYS Homes & Community Renewal and NYSERDA for helping to financially make this development possible."
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, "The need for affordable housing is critical in our community and Mount Aaron Village directly addresses that need, with 59 apartments including some for individuals in need of supportive services. This energy-efficient development not only provides vital housing, it adds commercial space to the neighborhood and is a great example of how partnerships can strengthen our community."
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, "It's a pleasure to kickoff Christmas Week by marking the completion of Mount Aaron Village, an affordable and supportive housing development that will provide vulnerable individuals and families with the transitional and affordable and supportive housing they need to attain stability and security. Projects like this build on my Administration's efforts to efficiently connect those in need to the housing and shelter opportunities they need and deserve. I am grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul and the many other stakeholders who worked on this project and got it done. Let's continue to work together toward our shared goal of making this even city more equitable and affordable for all."
Ben Upshaw, Principal of CB-Emmanuel, said, "CB-Emmanuel Realty, LLC was honored to partner with NYS Homes and Community Renewal, the City of Buffalo and Community Hope Builders on what we hope is a catalytic project for East Buffalo. We feel this is a positive addition to this growing and emerging neighborhood which will only be enhanced through anticipated future phases of construction on surrounding sites."
Elizabeth Woike-Ganga, CEO, BestSelf Behavioral Health, said, "We are pleased to be part of a collaboration that brings safe, affordable housing to vulnerable people in our community. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that the individuals and families housed in these brand-new units receive all of the supports and services they need to live their best lives."
Pastor Dwayne Jones, Mount Aaron Baptist Church/ Community Hope Builders, said, "This development continues our block-by-block approach to rebuild this historic neighborhood in the City of Buffalo, and it could not be done without the support of Governor Hochul, our state representatives, Mayor Brown and so many others across our community, including the residents who are committed to helping us achieve the revitalization we all are working towards."
Candace S. Johnson, PhD, President and CEO, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, said, "I would like to commend Pastor Jones and Governor Hochul for your tireless work in getting Mount Aaron Village completed. In building affordable housing, Pastor Jones personifies his commitment and dedication to those in our community who need our help the most. We look forward to working with you on future projects to continue to make Buffalo a healthier, more equitable place for all."