A Bright Future for a Blighted Property

Southern Tier Environments for Living (STEL) has a long track record of serving people with special needs.

Founded in 1980, STEL is Western New York’s primary provider of rehabilitative and support services to people with mental illness and other disabilities. Since 1997, the nonprofit also has collaborated with other agencies throughout New York and in Western Pennsylvania to develop affordable housing for people with special needs. STEL has developed or rehabilitated nearly 800 housing units, including 622 supportive housing units.

In 2020, Leviticus provided $706,087 in financing—our second loan to STEL—to fund the predevelopment activities associated with STEL’s latest project: the construction of Hempstead House, a seven-story, multifamily housing project in Hempstead, New York.

Hempstead House will provide 65 affordable apartments in a community where high-quality, safe, and affordable housing options are very limited. Of those 65 units, 52 will be permanent supportive housing for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The remaining 13 units will be reserved for households with incomes at or below 60% of area median income.

The Long Island nonprofit, Options for Community Living, will provide an array of support services to help residents of the project’s supportive housing units learn basic skills for independent living. Goals will include managing medications and psychiatric and physical symptoms, developing assertiveness and self-advocacy skills, and integrating into the community.

The $28.3 million, 69,620-square-foot Hempstead House will have two courtyards, a large ground floor lobby, a lounge, a library with computer spaces, an exercise room, a kitchen, and dining and resident community spaces as well as offices for supportive services staff.

To make way for the new building, STEL will demolish the abandoned and blighted three-story commercial building that currently occupies the site. In addition to providing much-needed affordable housing, the project will eliminate a community eyesore within view of the Village of Hempstead’s municipal square.