New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas today announced the completion of Winston Gaskin Homes, the $22 million rehabilitation of 20 residential buildings in need of repair throughout the east and north side of Syracuse to create 66 affordable and supportive homes for individuals and families, including those who have experienced homelessness or housing insecurity.
“We are proud to partner with Housing Visions and the YWCA on this $22 million investment to upgrade and modernize the century-old Winston Gaskin Homes and to further revitalization efforts across Syracuse’s eastside and northside neighborhoods,” Commissioner Visnauskas said. “Sixty-six families now have a safe, spacious, energy-efficient and affordable apartment with access to supportive services. Through these types of targeted investments, we can continue the rebirth of Syracuse’s neighborhoods and keep Central New York Rising.”
Originally constructed between 1900 and 1930, the buildings underwent moderate rehabilitation funded by the state in the early- and mid-1990s. The development is comprised of 14 buildings on the eastside of Syracuse, mostly along East Genesee Street, and six buildings on the northside near the corner of Catherine and Hickory Streets. The reconstruction was designed to complement the community’s architecture and enhance revitalization efforts in Syracuse.
The apartments range in size from one to five-bedrooms and feature Energy Star appliances, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, central air conditioning, storage areas and laundry facilities. Four of the apartments are fully accessible and adapted for people with mobility impairments, and three have been adapted for people with hearing or vision impairments.
All apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 70 percent of the Area Median Income. The YWCA of Syracuse and Onondaga County will provide supportive services for 20 households with funding from an Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative award administered by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. The development team consists of Housing Visions and the YWCA of Syracuse and Onondaga County.
The project is named for Winston “Win” Gaskin, an African American Syracuse resident, pharmacist, Army veteran and community leader who died in 2009. He chaired a committee at University United Methodist Church that established the Neighborhood Linking Project, an outreach to the church’s neighborhood on Syracuse’s Eastside. His leadership of that committee helped lead to the formation of Housing Visions in 1992.
Financing for Winston Gaskin Homes included Federal and State Low Income Housing Tax Credits that generated about $14.2 million in equity and $2 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. OTDA provided nearly $3 million through the Homeless Housing Assistance Program. Additional financing is being provided by NBT Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program.
The Winston Gaskin Homes project 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. Over the last decade in Central New York, HCR has invested more than $300 million to create or preserve 4,100 affordable apartments in multifamily developments.
OTDA Executive Deputy Commissioner Barbara Guinn said, “By coupling affordable housing with supportive services, we can effectively help individuals and families who experience homelessness address underlying issues that contributed to their housing instability. The Winston Gaskin Homes will provide new hope for those experiencing housing instability and breathe new vitality into downtown Syracuse. I applaud Governor Hochul for continuing to prioritize projects that help preserve affordable homes and establish permanent supportive housing throughout New York State.”
Senator John W. Mannion said, "By prioritizing investment in the Winston Gaskin Homes, Governor Hochul is ensuring Central New Yorkers have access to safe, modern, and affordable housing. These environmentally responsible renovations will lower water and energy consumption and include apartments adapted for mobility, hearing, and vision impairments. Central New York is poised for growth in part because of the innovative housing solutions happening at the state and local levels.”
Senator Rachel May said, "The revitalization of these historic homes is a windfall for our community and for the tenants who will now have the joy of residing in them. By investing in historic property, we are maintaining the character of these neighborhoods and ensuring these homes stay safe and occupied for years to come. I applaud all of the partners who made this affordable and accessible housing opportunity a reality."
Assembly Member Pamela Hunter said, "At no point since the housing crisis has it been more important to preserve affordable housing. The Winston Gaskin Homes were well worth renovating and I am pleased that they will be available for lower-income families. As the housing market continues to see turbulence, I will advocate for similar projects in our region that allow for practical housing options."
Assembly Member William Magnarelli said, “Rehabilitating buildings in our community not only creates better housing options, but also increases the value of our neighborhoods. Housing Visions worked with other local community organizations to create homes to serve the special needs within our population, by offering such services as counseling for domestic violence and substance abuse, case management, and support groups. This approach benefits the surrounding neighborhood and those in need of specialized housing accommodations.”
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, "Access to affordable housing is critical to many members of our community. Combining that housing with wraparound services is even better as we work collectively to help our neighbors out of poverty and to recover from this pandemic. Thank you to all the partners who made this a reality."
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, “The Winston Gaskin Homes project is delivering quality affordable housing to dozens of families and individuals on the city’s north and east sides. I am grateful to New York Housing and Community Renewal, Housing Visions, the YWCA of Syracuse and the other partners for helping us transform city neighborhoods and support people in need of housing. The Winston Gaskin project perfectly aligns with our Resurgent Neighborhood Initiative to build 200 new units of single-family, two-family and multi-family in strategic neighborhoods.”
Ben Lockwood, President and CEO of Housing Visions Unlimited said, “The preservation of these 66 units of quality, affordable housing will not only ensure the continued trajectory of these neighborhoods, but more importantly it reinforces the positive impact that housing has on our community’s most vulnerable residents.”
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.