Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, Senator Schumer and Local Leaders Join Concern for Independent Living to Break Ground on Veterans' Housing
The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Supervisor Richard Schaffer, and state and local legislators joined Concern for Independent Living today to host a groundbreaking ceremony for Concern Amityville, a new 60-unit affordable, supportive housing development for veterans and their families. The project was awarded more than $1.25 million through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Council initiative last year, and will inject more than $21 million into the local economy.
"Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State has worked hard to ensure our veterans get the services they need and deserve," said Regional Council Co-chairs Kevin Law and Stuart Rabinowitz. "Through his Medicaid Redesign Team, the Governor has also recognized how supportive housing can be an effective model in both providing needed services while lowering overall healthcare costs. The Long Island Regional Council recognized that Concern's project met all of those policy priorities. Thanks to strong partnerships on every level, shovels will be in the ground before the onset of winter and we are closer to providing veterans with good homes in a strong and vibrant community."
"Now that all the hurdles have been cleared, we can finally move forward with this critical project that will soon be the home to over 60 vets and their families," said Schumer. "Veterans have served and risked their lives for our country and one veteran in need of housing is one too many. When our soldiers willingly sacrifice life and limb for their country, at the very least they should expect a place to live when they come home."
Located on the former North Amityville Armed Forces Reserve Center site, the project was spearheaded at the Federal level by Senator Schumer, who assured that both the transfer of land from the U.S. Department of Defense to the Town of Babylon and the groundbreaking occurred before the federal tax credits expired later this year.
Concern Amityville will provide apartments for persons with mobility, hearing and/or vision impairments. The project will include common laundry rooms, an outdoor garden, a recreational play area for resident children, and off-street parking.
Ralph Fasano, Executive Director of Concern for Independent Living said, "We are thrilled to begin construction on this important project and look forward to accepting the first veterans toward the end of next year."
Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer said, "I am proud that the Town of Babylon has been able to play a role in providing housing to our veterans. This extremely important project was truly a team effort; it could not have come together without the cooperation of all branches of government and I want to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Congressman Israel, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk County Legislator DuWayne Gregory for all of their hard work. Concern for Independent Living does great work across Long Island, and I am proud to stand beside them as we all do our best to serve the men and women that have bravely served our country."
Concern for Independent Living acquired the North Amityville Armed Forces Reserve Center site through the Base Closure Community Redevelopment and Homelessness Act of 1994, which provides local communities the opportunity to take over closed military bases to give special consideration to the needs of the homeless. The site is located adjacent to a future Community Resource Center, which will provide community members access to local non-profit service agencies offering educational/vocational training programs; parenting education and supports; case management; and space for family and community meetings.
In 2011, a total of $785 million was awarded through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans. As part of that process, Concern for Independent Living was awarded more than $1.25 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, which will generate more than $13 million in tax credit equity, as well as financing from a variety of public and private partners including the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Services Homeless Housing Assistance Program, Bank of America, and a Suffolk County Capital loan.
New York State Homes & Community Renewal Commissioner Darryl C. Towns said, "Concern Amityville illustrates what we can accomplish when we work together to solve some of the most pressing needs in our communities. By developing homes for our veterans, we do more than provide a roof overhead-we help keep families together, we reinvigorate our economy, and we make communities strong and stable. This is what Governor Cuomo had in mind when he created the Regional Economic Development Councils. I want to thank Senator Schumer for his support and work to make this a reality, and I congratulate Concern for Independent Living and the veterans who will soon have safe, affordable homes."
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "No Veteran should ever have to go without a warm bed to sleep in, a roof over their head, or access to the care they deserve. When complete, this project will provide vital services to Long Island Veterans and I am proud to support its development."
Congressman Steve Israel said, "I commend Concern for Independent Living for their outstanding work to make Concern Amityville a reality. This facility will provide housing for Long Island veterans who put their lives on the line defending our country. The least we can do is provide them a place to call home, which is why the work that Concern for Independent Living does is so important."
Assemblyman Bob Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) said, "Veterans who have served their country honorably shouldn't have to worry about homelessness, and this project is a significant step towards addressing that problem on Long Island."
Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone said, "Suffolk County will provide $1.5 million to subsidize infrastructure costs for this project, including roadways, curbs, sidewalks, sewer piping and street lighting. One really exciting feature of this project is that it will provide supportive housing options to homeless veterans and their families, as well as individual female veterans, populations for which housing is in extremely short supply. What's more, it will create more than 160 jobs during the construction phase and at least eight permanent positions when the facility is completed. It's a model for the kind of development Suffolk County wants to encourage and support for our military veterans."
Suffolk County Legislator DuWayne Gregory said, "This project demonstrates our country's commitment to our veterans."
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) Executive Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin said, "OTDA is pleased to make this substantial investment in partnership with the federal government and our sister State agencies in supportive housing for homeless veterans and their families. As New Yorkers and Americans we have greatly benefited from their selfless service to our country, and we welcome the opportunity to assist them in transitioning back to the local community."
Vice President and National Director of Supportive Housing for the National Equity Fund, Inc. Debbie Burkhart said, "National Equity Fund is proud to be part of this outstanding project. These housing developments change lives. They rescue men and women who have served our country with honor."
Federal Home Loan Bank of New York President and CEO Alfred A. DelliBovi said, "Concern Amityville honors our veterans by providing them and their families with affordable and supportive housing which will make them part of the Amityville community. The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York is proud to partner with our member, Astoria Federal Savings, to award a $1 million Affordable Housing Program grant to support this tremendous project. Concern for Independent Living is a leader in affordable and supportive housing initiatives across New York, and we know that this housing is in great and capable hands."
New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) consists of all the State's major housing and community renewal agencies, including the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others.
Concern for Independent Living, Inc. is a non-profit agency committed to helping low income persons and persons with disabilities to live in the community with dignity and enhanced opportunities through the provision of housing and support services. Concern is one of the largest housing agencies of this kind in New York State, currently serving over 800 individuals and families in over 200 locations. Concern offers a variety of housing options with individualized support services designed to support personal growth and independence.
To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov. For information on how the New New York is working for businesses and Long Island, please visit www.thenewny.com.