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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the start of construction on a $15 million affordable and energy-efficient housing development with 50 apartments in the town of Cicero in Onondaga County. Monarch Commons will include 35 apartments for adults aged 55 and older, and 15 apartments for veterans experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity.
"As we focus on helping New Yorkers recover from the pandemic, boosting affordable, sustainable, and supportive housing is one of our best strategies to fight homelessness and ensure that everyone has a roof over their head," Governor Hochul said. "Monarch Commons not only helps our most vulnerable residents in Onondaga County, including our veterans, it is a model for energy efficiency as we work to create a cleaner, greener future."
Monarch Commons will consist of a single two-story building with 48 one-bedroom apartments and two two-bedroom apartments. All apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income.
Fifteen of the apartments will be reserved for veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. These individuals will have access to on-site supportive services provided by Soldier On, a national organization specializing in supporting veterans. Services and rental subsidies will be funded by the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the New York State Office of Temporary and Development Assistance.
Monarch Commons has been designed to adhere to energy efficiency and green building standards required under the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's New Construction - Housing Program (Tier 3) and the project will pursue LEED certification. Other energy efficient features include LED lighting, low flow plumbing fixtures, continuously operating bath fans, and all Energy Star or equivalent appliances, equipment, lighting, and fixtures.
Each apartment will have ample storage space, modern kitchen amenities and a patio or balcony. Bathrooms will be equipped with grab bars and emergency pull cords. Building amenities will include a lounge, community room, exercise room, and computer room. The building will also include a dedicated office space and separate meeting area for the supportive service provider. The project's developer is CDS Monarch, Inc.
State financing includes federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $12 million in equity and $2.5 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. NYSERDA will provide $175,000 in support. Additional financing is being provided by the CDS Wolf Foundation and the Central New York Community Foundation.
Monarch Commons is part of the state's unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan to make housing accessible and to combat homelessness by building or preserving more than 100,000 affordable homes and 6,000 homes with supportive services. Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested $190 million in Onondaga County, which has created or preserved nearly 2,800 affordable homes.
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Monarch Commons will provide its residents with comfortable and energy-efficient apartments so that they can live healthy and independent lives in a beautiful new building. With 15 supportive homes for veterans, we are also fulfilling a promise to care for those who have bravely served our nation by offering them the opportunity to live in dignified and affordable homes with access to the services they need. Thank you to CDS Housing and our state partners for helping us construct quality new housing in Cicero."
OTDA Executive Deputy Commissioner Barbara C. Guinn said, "Older adults -especially those who served honorably in our armed forces - should be allowed to age gracefully within their community and without the fear of housing insecurity. Developments like Monarch Commons fill a need for these New Yorkers by providing them with the safe, affordable housing and supportive services they can utilize to avoid displacement from their community or the gut-wrenching prospect of homelessness. I applaud Governor Hochul for recognizing the importance of supportive housing and helping projects like this one in Cicero become a reality."
Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "Congratulations to Monarch Commons on their groundbreaking and commitment to bringing energy efficient and healthy climate solutions to residences for seniors and homeless Veterans in Onondaga County. Ensuring that our most vulnerable populations have safe, affordable and comfortable homes is a priority here in New York and the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act prioritizes delivering benefits to these individuals as part of our transition to a clean energy economy."
State Senator Rachel May said, "Central New York is in serious need of more affordable housing units. I am very glad to see this project move forward in Cicero for older New Yorkers and veterans facing housing insecurity. Folks in our suburbs deserve access to quality, affordable housing and I hope this project will serve as a model for increasing options for residents all across the county and state."
Assemblymember Al Stirpe said, "Monarch Commons is a groundbreaking project on many levels. Energy efficient, affordable apartments for our senior and veteran population which provide onsite support services, will be transformative. Amenities including access to technology, safety features and a connection to community is imperative in receiving the quality of care that people need. We look forward to welcoming them to the neighborhood."
Cicero Town Supervisor Bill Meyer said, "There is a real shortage of affordable housing for veterans. These new apartments will be a big step in helping to provide affordable housing with local services."
Andrew Sewnauth, Chief Operating Officer of CDS Life Transitions, said, "CDS is thrilled to partner with the State of New York in providing safe, affordable, and high-quality housing for our veterans. Building upon the foundation of our Warrior Salute program in Rochester, Monarch Commons represents a commitment to our brave men and women who deserve nothing less than the best our country has to offer."
Accelerating CNY Rising
Today's announcement complements "CNY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Now, the region is accelerating CNY Rising 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 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.