(March 5, 2021) -- New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas and Urban League of Rochester President and CEO Dr. Seanelle Hawkins today announced that construction is underway on a $13 million affordable housing development in Rochester’s southwest quadrant that will create 41 single-family rental homes on vacant city-owned lots. Known as L2P Westside, the project will utilize an innovative “lease to purchase” model that will transition the rental homes to affordable homeownership opportunities after 15 years.
Commissioner Visnauskas said, “L2P Westside is a unique development that will offer 41 households the opportunity to live affordably in spacious, energy-efficient rentals while building equity and ultimately achieving the dream of homeownership. This development complements the Governor’s efforts to expand homeownership rates to close the racial wealth gap in communities like Rochester’s underserved southwest neighborhoods. We are so pleased to partner with the Urban League of Rochester Economic Development Corporation on this project that will enhance the quality of life for all who call Rochester home.”
ULR President and CEO Dr. Hawkins said, “We are excited to bring this new venture to Rochester. For decades, creating affordable housing developments to help families achieve stability has long been a priority for us.”
The development is part of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to providing all New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing through the state’s unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Housing and Homelessness Plan. The plan makes housing accessible and combats homelessness by building or preserving more than 100,000 affordable homes and 6,000 with supportive services. Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested $688 million in the Finger Lakes Region that has created or preserved nearly 8,000 affordable homes for about 20,000 residents.
Developed by the Urban League of Rochester Economic Development Corporation, L2P Westside will consist of 41 single-family houses for rent. The homes will transition to homeownership after the initial 15-year rental compliance period. In year-16, the tenant may purchase the home, provided they meet eligibility requirements, including completion of financial counseling and home maintenance training. The equity from tax credits that was applied to the cost of construction is transferred to the homeowner when the house is sold at a substantially discounted price, which results in payments comparable to the rental amount. This program, based on a model successfully pioneered by CHN Housing Partners, a nonprofit housing agency in Cleveland Ohio, creates wealth and net worth for the residents.
The homes will be affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income. Monthly rents will be between $670 and $795 per month plus utilities. Residents are required to provide basic maintenance of their homes and yards.
The homes will be affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income. Monthly rents will be between $670 and $795 per month plus utilities. Residents are required to provide basic maintenance of their homes and yards. For application information, contact [email protected] or call 585-262-6210.
The houses will be energy-efficient and designed to complement the surrounding neighborhood. Each will feature a front porch, storage shed, laundry hook-up, and off-street parking. Thirty-four of the homes will be two-story, three-bedroom houses with full basements offering approximately 1,160 square feet of living space. There will be seven accessible ranch-style homes offering 950 square feet of living space.
State financing for the $13 million project includes federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from New York State Homes and Community Renewal that will generate $11.4 million in equity, and nearly $70,000 from NYSERDA’s Low Rise New Construction Program. Additional financing was provided by Leviticus Fund, Rochester Land Bank and ESL. RBC Community Investments is the tax credit syndicator.
NYSERDA Acting President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “As we press forward with Governor Cuomo’s vision for a growing green energy economy, we are reimagining the construction of affordable housing and integrating sustainability, energy efficiency and resilient design to create safe, comfortable homes while reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. L2P Westside incorporates many facets of green building design while providing valuable housing opportunities for the most vulnerable New Yorkers and NYSERDA is proud to see construction begin.”
Senator Jeremy Cooney said, “This is fantastic news for the Rochester community. Throughout American history, home ownership has been a reliable vehicle to generational wealth and stability. Accomplishing this and utilizing some of the vacant city-owned lots is a great way to revitalize Southwest Rochester and enrich the lives of our residents.”
Senator Edward Rath III said, "Investing in our communities and bringing projects to Upstate is critical. I look forward to the completion of this project."
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, “I commend the efforts of L2P Westside to not only provide single family housing to low income families, but their commitment to transition those properties into home ownership over time. Home equity is a very important tool of building wealth, and the measures L2P Westside are providing to ensure their renters turn into homeowners is a positive for everyone involved. Projects like L2P Westside are remarkably important for building neighborhoods, communities and families.”
Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, “The development of the Lease to Purchase homes in some of Rochester’s most challenging neighborhoods not only uplifts the community, it provides our most vulnerable residents an opportunity to become homeowners. We know that homeownership is the best way to build wealth, and this pilot program provides a pathway for Black and Brown families to have an asset that they can enjoy, as well as pass on from generation to generation. As we continue to create safer, more vibrant neighborhoods by placing housing first for all city families, L2P Westside is a prime example of advancing equity in our great city. We are both eager and excited to partner with the Urban League of Rochester as we continue to lift all residents as we climb.”
Kevin J. Nowak, Executive Director of CHN Housing Partners, said, “CHN is thrilled to partner with ULREDC to bring our lease purchase model to Rochester. We believe homeownership is the cornerstone of strong families and communities and we are delighted to help make L2P a reality in Rochester.”
Stephen Lee, Vice President of RBC Community Investments, said, “RBC is proud to partner with the Urban League of Rochester Economic Development Corporation and CHN Housing Partners by providing $7.8MM of federal LIHTC equity and $3.6MM of NY state tax credit equity for the new construction of 41 homes within the L2P Westside Project. This mark’s RBC’s 4th project with ULREDC and first with CHN. We’d also like to thank NYS DHCR and the other funders in the project, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact that these homes will have on the community.”
Faheem Masood, President and CEO, ESL Federal Credit Union said, “The L2P Westside project is a model example of how collaboration between public, private and nonprofit entities can lead to positive impact in our community. ESL is honored to be a part of this project, and inspired by the outstanding, hard work done by the Urban League of Rochester Economic Development Corporation and all of the partners invested in L2P Westside to help make quality housing affordable and attainable.”
The Urban League of Rochester Economic Development Corporation (ULREDC) is the project sponsor/developer. Since 1986, the ULREDC has developed and sold more than 260 single family houses in the City of Rochester and Monroe County and has also developed over 300 affordable rental units across several projects.
Since 1987, CHN Housing Partners has successfully developed and sold 2,000 homes in Ohio for its Lease Purchase Programs.