Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that construction is complete on a $21.7 million affordable and supportive housing development in Ithaca. The highly energy efficient building known as West End Heights offers 60 apartments, 38 of which are reserved for people in need of support services to live independently.
"Access to quality, affordable and supportive homes where New Yorkers can live and thrive is a cornerstone of my administration," Governor Hochul said. "I am proud to support projects like West End Heights that promote personal health and a better, greener future for New York."
West End Heights is part of Governor Hochul's statewide plan to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. In the recently enacted State Budget, the Governor successfully secured a new $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.
West End Heights is a five-story, elevator building with 60 one-bedroom apartments adjacent to Washington Park. Five aging buildings were demolished to clear the site for the new building, which also contains ground floor office space for the developer and supportive service provider, Lakeview Health Services, Inc.
Fifty-four of the apartments are for households earning at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income and six apartments are reserved for those making at or below 60 percent AMI.
Twenty apartments are set aside for people who will have access to rental subsidies and supportive services funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health. An additional 18 apartments funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative will serve formerly homeless individuals who will receive rental subsidies and tailored services, such as counseling and trauma recovery, administered by OMH.
Amenities include laundry facilities, a community room, a lounge area on each floor, courtyard, and 24-hour secured entrance. The development is in a walkable neighborhood and near public bus lines, including ADA Paratransit, and shopping.
West End Heights is compliant with Ithaca's own Green Building Policy and is seeking certification through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and ENERGY STAR® Certified Homes Program Version 3.1. Energy-efficient features include ENERGY STAR appliances and LED lighting, windows, insulation, air sealing and additional measures to improve indoor air quality, take full advantage of natural light, maximize resident comfort, and reduce overall energy consumption and costs. In addition to being cable and internet ready, there are high-performance all-electric heating and cooling systems with individual controls in each apartment.
State funding for West End Heights includes Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $11.4 million in equity and $4 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance provided $3.7 million from the Homeless Housing Assistance Program. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided $56,000 in support from the Low-rise Residential New Construction program. The Community Preservation Corporation provided $8.1 million in construction financing and $1.8 million in permanent funding. The Tompkins County Community Housing Development Fund provided $250,000.
This project was a recipient of the 2022 AIA New York State - Excelsior Award of Merit, a statewide award recognizing design excellence in publicly funded projects.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "West End Heights delivers the high-quality, energy efficient homes that New Yorkers deserve while helping to further the city of Ithaca's economic development goals. These 60 apartments and the services that are connected to them are invaluable to the residents, and the green design will benefit the entire community. At Homes and Community Renewal, we are always grateful to have the support of our committed, compassionate partners such as Lakeview Health Services, and of Governor Hochul, who proves day in and day out that she embraces the value of the housing we are providing - for the individual, the community and for the State."
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "New Yorkers who experience homelessness often face underlying challenges that can exacerbate their housing instability. Developments that couple affordable housing with supportive services like West End Heights provide these individuals and their families the resources they need to live with dignity in an independent setting. Governor Kathy Hochul's continued support for projects funded through the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program demonstrate her strong resolve to address housing instability throughout our State."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "We are pleased to see the West End Heights project cut the ribbon on new supportive affordable housing that expands access to healthy, energy efficient and climate friendly homes for some of Ithaca's most vulnerable residents. This project and others like it demonstrate Governor Hochul's continued commitment to reduce harmful emissions from buildings while ensuring that all New Yorkers benefit equitably in the transition to a clean energy economy."
New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "For people living with and recovering from mental illness, supportive housing plays a crucial role. A safe and stable home, with access to appropriate services, promotes resilience and provides a foundation that allows people with mental illness to live successfully in their own community. West End Heights will provide quality housing for clients that will encourage their recovery and independence."
State Senator Tom O'Mara said, "West End Heights is an exciting new addition to the Ithaca community. State investment and support in partnership with Lakeview Health Services will greatly enhance safe and affordable housing and supportive services for many local residents, as well as strengthen the overall fabric and quality of the community at large."
Assemblymember Anna Kelles said, "The county is in great need of affordable and supportive housing. Lakeview Health Services has been providing safe, quality, affordable housing and wrap around services for many years. The West End Heights project will be a boon to the community at a time when our housing needs have escalated."
Ithaca Acting Mayor Laura Lewis said, "I am excited that West End Heights has created 60 affordable housing units with over half of the units reserved for people in need of supportive services to live independently. This is an asset to our community. I want to thank the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, Homes and Community Renewal's Supportive Housing Opportunity Program, Homeless Housing Assistance Program, NYS Office of Mental Health, Tompkins County Community Housing Development Fund, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's Low-rise Residential New Construction Program, Enterprise Green Communities Program and Lakeview Healthcare Services for recognizing how important it is to provide housing for our most vulnerable residents in a safe and supportive environment that's close to a range of resources and employment opportunities."
Tompkins County Legislature Chair Shawna Black said, "I'm proud of this new housing development in our community, this is exactly the type of housing that will help house and support some of our most vulnerable community members. Not only is this going to help low-income residents, but it will also support those who have experienced homelessness with both housing and community support. Thank you to Lakeview Health Services and New York State for their investments and partnership, this is an inspiring project and new housing that our community is grateful to have."
Lakeview Health Services Chief Executive Officer Dr. Harry Merryman said, "One of our primary goals is to provide affordable, stable, and safe housing coupled with support services for those in need in our communities. We have long envisioned advancing this goal in Ithaca, and the opening of West End Heights is the tangible realization of that vision. We are particularly grateful for the support we have received from the city of Ithaca and our New York State agency partners: Homes and Community Renewal, the Office of Mental Health, and the Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation. Their investments and collaboration in the construction of this beautiful building will enhance the quality of life in the Ithaca community for years to come."
The Community Preservation Corporation Neighborhood Mortgage Officer Patrick Miller said, "The West End Heights project speaks to the power that mission-driven investments in housing can have in serving the unique needs of a community. This beautiful new building will be an anchor for the Ithaca community, acting as a vital source of quality affordable housing that will provide a safe and supportive environment where its tenants can live with the dignity and the respect they deserve. I'd like to thank our partners at Lakeview Health Services for their vision and commitment to the Ithaca community, Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner Visnauskas and team for their years of partnership with CPC, and the NYS Office of Mental Health for their work and support."
National Equity Fund Vice President and Regional Manager Emily Chen said, "National Equity Fund's mission is to deliver innovative, collaborative financial solutions to expand the creation and preservation of affordable housing. Partners like Lakeview Health Services have shown tremendous creativity and commitment to integrate supportive housing while meeting general affordable housing needs. Our partners at the State agency level have been integral in making West End Heights a reality for its residents and the community."
Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today's announcement complements "Southern Tier Soaring," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. 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 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.