State announces $8.2M to break ground on housing complex for seniors in Oneida

Published Jun 17, 2017 at 4:00pm

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday announced the groundbreaking of Seneca Fields Apartments, an $8.2 million new construction development that will provide 32 units of affordable housing for those who are aged 55 and older in the city of Oneida.

Of the 32 units, 10 will be reserved for formerly homeless seniors who will receive supportive services. This project complements Central New York Rising, the governor’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative aimed at growing the economy and creating new opportunities in Central New York.

“Vacant property is being transformed into a vibrant new community that will create affordable housing for seniors in need,” Cuomo said. “With this project, we ensure that our most vulnerable New Yorkers have safe, decent and affordable homes along with the resources they need to live independently – helping to keep Central New York rising for years to come.”

Seneca Fields Apartments is being built on the Oneida Healthcare campus, located adjacent to the Seneca Street Extension. Future residents will have direct access to Oneida Healthcare’s hospital and extended care facility, as well as several medical offices and the local YMCA. The local grocery store and shopping are also within a mile of the site, officials said. The building will contain 32 rental units, a community room, on-site offices for management staff and Oneida Healthcare’s care coordinator. The building will provide laundry facilities, central heating and air conditioning, and on-site parking for residents and staff.

Three of the one-bedroom and one of the two-bedroom apartments will be fully accessible for persons with disabilities, with a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom unit designed for the visually and hearing impaired. All other units can be readily adapted to be handicapped accessible.

“We are proud to be delivering on Governor Cuomo’s commitment to provide 100,000 units of affordable and 6,000 units of supportive housing, plus 1,200 units of supportive housing for formerly homeless New Yorkers,” said RuthAnne Visnauskas, the state Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) commissioner. “Seneca Fields Apartments will help meet a need for affordable housing and support services in Central New York so seniors can live independently in the community they love. This is part of Central New York Rising, the governor’s overall plan for reinvigorating the region’s economy and grow strong communities.”

The target population for residency is for those age 55 and older whose incomes are below 60 percent of the area median income. Five units will be for those whose incomes are below 30 percent of the area median income. Rent plus utilities will range from $342 to $791 a month. Oneida Healthcare will provide support services and rental assistance through funding from the governor’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, which provides statewide service and operating funding for at least 1,200 units of supportive housing for formerly homeless persons with special needs.

“Seneca Fields Apartments will provide older adults with an affordable housing option in close proximity to health care and other community services. I thank Governor Cuomo for following through on his commitment to affordable housing, which will benefit residents here in Oneida,” said State Sen. David J. Valesky, D-53, Oneida.

Assemblyman William Magee, D-121, Nelson, said, “There is a large and increasing demand for new, safe, affordable housing among older adults in the Oneida community, and these units will help to meet that need. It is exciting to see construction begin thanks to the efforts of the Oneida Healthcare Center, Two Plus Four Companies, and Central New York Rising, on this site located near stores, restaurants, and other familiar conveniences for these future residents.”

“The partnership Oneida Healthcare and 2 Plus 4 Construction are embarking on will help address the needs of our region’s aging population, while responding to new initiatives to manage the population’s health more cost-effectively,” Oneida Healthcare President and CEO Gene Morreale said.

“With the assistance of the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative we will be able to provide coordinated care to seniors in an independent setting who otherwise would reside in a skilled nursing facility due to personal or economic circumstances. The benefits of this program will have significant impact on the quality of life of those individuals, their families and the communities we serve. The addition of Seneca Fields Apartments will further signal the transformation of our main campus into a place of residence, enriching the experience of thousands of patients and visitors who frequent our campus every month. Seneca Fields Apartments represent a larger vision we share with many for a continuum of care model in Madison County that addresses present and future needs of the communities we serve. This opportunity will be a crucial first step to making that vision become a reality.”

The development team consists of Lakewood Development II, LLC, as developer and owner; Two Plus Four Construction, general contractor; Zausmer-Frisch, Scruton & Aggarwal, architect and Two Plus Four Management, management agent. The project is owned by Oneida Healthy Seniors, L.P., in which Oneida Health Ventures, Inc., a subsidiary of Oneida Health Systems, Inc., and Lakewood Development II, LLC, are general partners.

Funding for the $8.2 million project includes: $2.2 million from the New York State Housing Trust Fund; $629,492 in annual Low Income Housing Tax Credits which leverages $5,755,630 in Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity and $32,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Construction is expected to be completed by next year.

As part of the second phase of the governor’s $20 billion comprehensive, five-year housing plan, HCR recently made available more than $588 million to create and preserve a wide range of affordable housing, including up to $175 million for supportive housing as part of the Supportive Housing Opportunity Program. HCR’s request for proposals is part of $650 million in capital funding and $30 million in service and operating funding that HCR, the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Temporary and Disability Services have advanced to further the governor’s investment in combatting housing insecurity and homelessness.