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Ground broken on $9.7M affordable, supportive housing development in Canandaigua

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Canandaigua for the Happiness House Apartments, which is a $9.7 million affordable and supportive housing development. It will provide 30 affordable homes for families, seniors and individuals experiencing homelessness.

The Happiness House Apartments, which is funded through the Governor’s historic $20 billion, five-year plan to combat homelessness and create affordable housing, will consist of 22 apartments for individuals and families and eight apartments for seniors, with four of the senior apartments set aside for older New Yorkers experiencing homelessness.

“We have made an unprecedented commitment to addressing the housing and homelessness issues facing too many New Yorkers across the state, and this aggressive approach is creating affordable and supportive housing for thousands of families and seniors,” Governor Cuomo said. “We have a responsibility to protect and support the most vulnerable people in our communities and new developments like the Happiness House Apartments will provide critical housing opportunities to those who need it most.”

“We are committed to creating and preserving affordable housing opportunities for all New Yorkers in every region of the state,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. “As part of our unprecedented statewide $20 billion housing plan, we have already added or retained nearly 7,400 affordable, multi-family homes in the Finger Lakes. With this investment in Happiness House Apartments, we are helping an additional 30 families, seniors and individuals struggling with homelessness find a safe and secure place to live.”

The Governor’s Housing and Homelessness Plan will ultimately create 100,000 units of affordable housing, which are financed and supported by New York State Homes and Community Renewal, and 6,000 units of supportive housing through multiple State agencies. As of December 31, 2019, construction and preservation is completed or underway on more than 56,000 affordable housing units across the State, which is on schedule for the five-year plan. Additionally, 6,000 supportive units have been funded, over 4,000 of which are part of the Governor’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative.

The Happiness House Apartments will provide an array of on-site supportive social services for residents will include counseling and recovery services for those with a history of substance abuse; individual and group support for older residents fostering memory skills; mobility and social support with an underlying focus on health and wellness; and adult day care, grief counseling and meal delivery services for qualified tenants. Nine households will receive rental subsidies and supportive services funded by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports through Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative.

This is the third phase of development on Happiness House Boulevard, formerly known as County Road 30. Happiness House also developed and operates Happiness House Living Center I, a 20-home permanent housing development, and the Happiness House Transitional Apartments, an eight-unit transitional housing facility. Happiness House Apartments will be constructed on an adjacent parcel. Happiness House Apartments is located close to retailers, commercial services, a town park, restaurants and other amenities. There is a public transit bus stop on the property.

State financing for Happiness House Apartments includes federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate nearly $5.6 million in equity and $1.1 million in subsidy from HCR. The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will provide $2 million through the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program. Additional financing will be provided by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, The Golisano Foundation and the Federal Home Loan Bank. The State’s investment in Happiness House Apartments also supports the Governor’s “Health Across All Policies and Age-Friendly State” Initiative by preserving affordable homes for seniors. The initiative is a collaborative approach that integrates health considerations into policymaking across all sectors to improve community health and wellness.

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “New York State’s investment in Happiness House Apartments furthers Governor Cuomo’s commitment to reducing homelessness across the State by expanding access to permanent supportive homes for seniors and individuals with special needs. This development in the Town of Canandaigua will help to ensure that residents of these 30 new apartments remain safely housed in a caring environment with access to counseling, healthcare and social services. Our partnership with mission-driven organizations such as Happiness House are helping build healthier and more vibrant communities that keep the Finger Lakes region moving forward.”

OTDA Commissioner Mike Hein said, “Permanent supportive housing provides new hope and opportunity for individuals experiencing or transitioning out of homelessness. This new phase of the Happiness House Apartments will offer the support and resources elderly individuals and those suffering substance abuse disorders in Ontario County can use to overcome those issues that played a contributing role in their housing instability. This project represents a significant investment in Finger Lakes Region and affirms Governor Cuomo’s continued commitment to ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to safe, affordable housing.”

OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, “Having safe and stable housing is an important component of a successful recovery. Supportive housing helps to eliminate many of the barriers that keep people from seeking help with substance use disorders, and also allows them to maintain their independence. Thanks to this project, people in the Finger Lakes region affected by addiction will be able to more easily access the help and support that they need.”

Acting Director of the New York State Office for the Aging Greg Olsen said, “I commend Governor Cuomo for his ongoing leadership and recognition that access to safe, affordable housing opportunities are paramount to living with autonomy in the community. This investment in Happiness House Apartments will help older adults in Canandaigua remain connected to the vital community resources they need to remain healthy and engaged and furthers New York’s commitment as the first age-friendly state in the nation.”

Senator Pam Helming said, “This is an exciting and necessary addition to the Town of Canandaigua. It is critical that we continue to create housing options and support for our homeless populations, especially for our families and our seniors. Working together, we will continue to help those who most need our assistance.”

Assemblyman Brian Kolb said, “Reliable housing is something we should be assisting all residents in obtaining and a great first step in protecting and empowering our at-risk populations. I am pleased to witness the beginning of a great project that will provide affordable housing to many local families and those struggling with homelessness. In addition, the infusion and availability of various social services and programs on site will help lift up many residents and build valuable life and career skills. I look forward to the completion of Happiness House Apartments and their value to our community,”

Ontario County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Marren said, “We are so very pleased that the Happiness House Apartments project will be breaking ground in Canandaigua and I look forward to touring the completed site.  The services that Happiness House currently provides to families and individuals with disabilities is vital and the added services with the new housing project will be targeting another group of individuals that are in need.  I commend the various agencies that worked together to finance this project and the many determined people that made this come to fruition.”

Canandaigua Town Supervisor Cathy Menikotz said, “The groundbreaking today represents the next step toward independent living for those individuals who might not otherwise have the opportunity to do so. The Town of Canandaigua appreciates all of the hard work by everyone involved from Happiness House and beyond to make this possible and are grateful to have provided our support to make this possible today.”

President and CEO of Happiness House Mary Boatfield said, “Happiness House Phase II will provide 30 affordable homes for families, seniors and individuals experiencing homelessness. The development of housing directly resulted from those we serve and their families expressing their growing need for safe, accessible apartments.”

Housing and Homelessness Plan

The historic $20 billion, multi-year affordable housing and homelessness plan offers a transformational blueprint to address the diverse housing needs in New York and create new opportunities for working families. The Plan is achieving these goals through building and preserving affordable units and individual homes, investing in communities and promoting employment and housing choice opportunities.

The Plan also includes a groundbreaking commitment to create 6,000 new supportive housing units. ESSHI plays a critical role in meeting the goal to create permanent supportive homes for families, individuals and young adults to live independently, gain stability and remain securely housed.

ESSHI works by harnessing the power and expertise of a number of State agencies and enabling them to fund local nonprofit organizations and service agencies to provide a continuum of onsite care to the tenants, most of whom have a history of homelessness and include persons with serious mental illness victims of domestic violence, runaway and homeless youth, veterans, people with developmental disabilities, people with HIV/AIDS and formerly incarcerated individuals.