Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of a $3.5 million supportive housing project in downtown North Tonawanda in Niagara County. Supported through the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, the adaptive reuse of the structure at 49 Tremont St. created 12 units of affordable housing, including eight studio apartments with on-site supportive services to help women who have experienced homelessness and are survivors of domestic violence.
"All too frequently, domestic violence survivors find themselves facing housing instability as direct result of leaving an abusive partner," Governor Hochul said. "These studio apartments will provide a safe haven for survivors, where they can access the support and services they need to start on the path to recovery and stability."
Located across from Historic Riviera Theatre, 49 Tremont St. is within walking distance of the downtown area of North Tonawanda. The project substantially overhauled the more-than-a-century-old structure, converting a former gymnasium into studio apartments and adding a ground floor café, which will provide residents with on-site workforce training and employment opportunities.
The project received $1.4 million from the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, which is administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. In addition, OTDA will provide operating funding for the supportive services via the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative.
The New York State Homes and Community Renewal provided $1.7 million in funding through the Low-Income Housing Trust Fund Program and Rural and Urban Community Investment Fund, which leveraged funds from the Homeless Housing Assistance Program, New York Main Street, the Yahoo Foundation, and developer equity. Empire State Development also provided $300,000 for the project through the Smart Growth Community Fund and $33,000 via Verizon Media Community Benefit Fund for Niagara County.
The project complements Governor Hochul's statewide plan to make housing more affordable, equitable, stable, and Green. In the enacted 2023 State Budget, Governor Hochul 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.
State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "For survivors of domestic violence, having a safe, stable home is a crucial first step on the road to recovery. These studio apartments will provide that stability for survivors, while also providing them with the supportive services they need to start anew. This project, like so many others supported through the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, further demonstrates Governor Hochul's unwavering commitment to ensuring all New Yorkers have access to safe, affordable housing, including some of the most vulnerable among us."
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Every affordable housing development, large or small, makes a difference. This 12-apartment, $3.5 million investment will benefit North Tonawanda's downtown and provide vulnerable residents with the support, stability, and resources they need to heal and thrive. We thank our partners in this endeavor and the YWCA of Niagara Frontier for acting on their mission to help families and strengthen communities."
Empire State Development President CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, "The redevelopment of this former YWCA facility into a safe, welcoming home for women will provide them with a stable and supportive environment and access to valuable services. Further, the adaptive reuse of this YWCA is a critical component of economic development, requiring a strong plan and partnerships between many levels of government, private and non-profit sectors. I am proud that ESD could play a role in this vital project."
Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Director Kelli Nicholas-Owens said, "Without safe and affordable housing, many victims of domestic violence have to make the impossible choice to either stay with their abusive partner or face homelessness. As New York State transforms systems to be more survivor-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive, we are reframing services and prioritizing permanent housing solutions to stabilize families impacted by the many forms of abuse. I am honored and excited about this partnership with the YWCA Niagara Frontier. I know from personal experience that the YWCA changes the lives of the women and families they serve. Governor Hochul's leadership remains steadfast in ensuring that survivors of gender-based violence have access to the stable support they need."
YWCA of Niagara Frontier CEO Kathleen Granchelli, said, "The YWCA Board of Directors and staff are very excited to have this project completed and open to serve the needs of the women in our community."
State Senator Robert Ortt said, "Having a safe and welcoming place to call home is an integral aspect of an individual's life, yet, far too many are forced to cope with dangerous and hostile environments due to domestic abuse. With this investment, New York State is stepping up and providing the survivors of domestic abuse a place where they can feel safe and secure. Not only will these survivors now have a place that they can call 'home,' but they will also have access to critical resources to help overcome the many challenges they have faced."
North Tonawanda Mayor Austin Tylec said, "The YWCA is a new facility that wouldn't be possible without the support of Governor Hochul's office. With this financial support, our community is able to provide shelter for victims of homelessness and domestic violence for women and their children."
Niagara County Legislature Chair Rebecca Wydysh said, "This project is such a tremendous accomplishment on multiple fronts, providing much needed affordable housing for survivors of domestic violence while also giving this century old building a new purpose. I applaud the YWCA of Niagara Frontier and their partners in state government for their vision and hard work to make this project happen."