West Side Homes Grondbreaking
June 15, 2022

Governor Hochul Announces Start of Construction on $21 Million Affordable Housing Development in Buffalo

Governor Hochul Announces Start of Construction on $21 Million Affordable Housing Development in Buffalo
West Side Homes to Add 49 New Affordable and Energy Efficient Apartments Across Buffalo's West Side; Locations Will Include Sixteen Apartments Reserved for Adults Experiencing Homelessness
Development Awarded Over $362,000 Through NYSERDA's Buildings of Excellence Competition

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the start of construction on a $21 million affordable housing development in Buffalo. Known as West Side Homes, the development encompasses the substantial rehabilitation of two buildings and the new construction of eleven buildings to create 49 homes, which includes 16 apartments with support services for residents experiencing homelessness.

"This important new development provides much-needed energy-efficient and modern affordable apartments for families in Buffalo, including those struggling with homelessness," Governor Hochul said. "By transforming vacant lots into new housing opportunities, we can generate new economic activity across the West Side and enhance quality of life for the households that will soon call this development home."

West Side Homes 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.

The eleven new buildings will be constructed on 17 vacant residential lots and two existing two-family homes will be rehabilitated. When complete, the development will offer a total of 49 affordable homes with a mix of one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments.

Sixteen supportive apartments will include rental subsidies and services for residents that will be funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports. The services provided by BestSelf Behavioral Health will include care management, behavioral health treatment services, peer support, primary care services, educational/vocational services, linkage to childcare resources, and assistance with daily living skills.

The remaining 33 homes will be for households earning at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income.

A three-story, 15-unit building at 625 West Avenue will be constructed to achieve certification from Phius (Passive House Institute US), 2020 Enterprise Green Communities, and WELL Building Certification; as well as meeting performance requirements to receive support from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's (NYSERDA) Buildings of Excellence Competition and the New Construction-Housing Program. The building is designed to be all-electric and will include features such as a ground source heat pump, energy recovery ventilation, and a rooftop solar array.

The development features amenities such as laundry facilities, storage closets, porches, balconies, and a community room.

West Side Homes is located near multiple bus lines and within a one-mile radius of BestSelf Behavioral Health's clinics and offices, the Crane and Isaias Gonzalez-Soto Branch libraries, West Side Community Services community center, various city of Buffalo schools, Massachusetts Avenue Park, and a Boys and Girls Club.

The developer is Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Company Inc (BNSC), the housing development arm of PUSH Buffalo. Through a planning process that began in 2017, West Side community members, led by BNSC, identified these 17 sites to be returned to use as affordable housing.

State financing for West Side Homes includes Federal and State Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $12 million in equity and an additional $3.3 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is providing $3.6 million from the Homeless Housing Assistance Program. NYSERDA awarded $362,620 in Round Two of the Buildings of Excellence program and $124,000 through the New Construction-Housing program. The city of Buffalo is providing $500,000.

Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said," Our investment in the West Side Homes will create 49 energy-efficient and affordable apartments in a walkable neighborhood near services and amenities, including 16 apartments for families in need of additional support. This smartly designed infill development will deliver new activity to the West Side community while complementing the residential character of the neighborhood. By incorporating rigorous energy efficiency measures, West Side Homes will foster a healthier living space for residents, a cleaner and greener community for all, and further the State's efforts to achieve the carbon reduction targets set by the CLCPA. Congratulations to PUSH Buffalo and our other partners for getting this new development off the ground."

Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said, "Individuals impacted by addiction often need a supportive housing environment in order to receive critical services that are essential to their health. OASAS continues to work with our partner agencies to bring these projects to all areas of the state and help connect people in need to the resources that they need. I look forward to the benefits that this will have for the western New York Community."

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "By coupling supportive services with affordable housing, we can provide a stable environment for those experiencing homelessness and address the challenges that contributed to their housing instability. Governor Hochul's continued support for the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, including the West Side Homes project, demonstrates her commitment to ensuring all New Yorkers have a safe place to call home -especially the most vulnerable among us."

Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO of NYSERDA said, "NYSERDA is pleased to see the West Side Homes project break ground and begin construction on what will be all-electric supportive affordable housing for vulnerable Buffalo residents that showcases heat pump technology, energy efficient ventilation, and the use of renewable energy. Buildings of Excellence projects like this demonstrate that a low carbon future is possible and ensure comfortable healthy buildings are accessible to all New Yorkers in support of Governor Hochul's commitment to achieving two million climate friendly homes."

State Senator Tim Kennedy said, "This project is yet another example of New York State's commitment to creating supportive, affordable housing opportunities. I thank Governor Hochul for continuing to prioritize community-centered spaces and investing in sustainable solutions that build up families and individuals across Western New York."

State Senator Sean Ryan said, "PUSH Buffalo has been doing great work in this community for years. This project will make great use of state funds to help revitalize Buffalo's West Side. The rehabilitation of these 19 vacant lots and properties will not only improve the neighborhoods in which they are built - they will also create much-needed affordable housing for many Buffalonians and provide vital assistance to those who are experiencing homelessness."

Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera said, "I want to thank Governor Hochul, Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Company Inc., and PUSH Buffalo for investing in much-needed equitable housing on Buffalo's West Side. The 49 new units that will comprise West Side Homes will not only be fulfilling an area of great need for affordable housing within the Western New York community, but these units will be close in proximity to bus services, BestSelf Behavioral Health's clinics and offices, the Crane and Isaias Gonzalez-Soto Branch libraries and West Side Community Services — organizations that provide invaluable services assistance and amenities to the populations that require them most."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "Affordable housing is critical to our economy and our community that contributes to the vitality of our community as a whole. This major investment and commitment to a neighborhood that will greatly benefit from this project signifies the focus of Governor Hochul's commitment to this type of economic development. Providing this unique affordable housing by renovating existing structures while also building brand new buildings that will be a source of pride in Buffalo shows leadership and forward-thinking by our governor and her administration. I applaud all those involved with the West Side Homesproject and look forward to the eventual ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating this much needed affordable housing development."

Mayor Byron W. Brown said, "I thank PUSH Buffalo, the New York State Office of Housing and Community Review, NYSERDA, the state Office of Behavioral Health, and BestSelf Behavioral Health for collaborating on this great affordable housing development, which will also aid our homeless population. This is the fifth PUSH Buffalo housing project my administration has been a part of and we are pleased to commit $500,000 in HOME funds, as we work to achieve our goal of creating 40 percent affordable housing in every part of the City of Buffalo."

Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Executive Director PUSH Buffalo, said, "BNSC/PUSH Buffalo is thrilled to break ground on the West Side Homes Project. It is the culmination of working with local residents to pass an ambitious and equitable climate legislation, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, CLCPA. As we were championing the CLCPA which passed in June 2019, our community started to imagine what it would like to demonstrate the CLCPA in action and the West Side Homes is that vision. We want to acknowledge and thank all of those that were willing to dream with us and support us to make this project a reality."