Preserving an Affordable Housing Icon

Westhab was established in 1981 to address the growing need for affordable housing in Westchester County, New York. Its first residential property was The Windham, at the time a dilapidated, four-story hotel in downtown Yonkers that Westhab leased in 1983 and transformed into an affordable and supportive housing facility.

The Windham’s early success helped establish the nonprofit as a leader in local efforts to tackle the county’s burgeoning homelessness crisis in the 1980s. Westhab gave the facility another extensive renovation in 2005, and today, The Windham still plays a critical role in providing deeply affordable housing and on-site support services for the area’s homeless, including disabled veterans, the previously incarcerated, and people with mental illness.

But in 2020 The Windham’s future was in jeopardy.

Westhab’s lease on the property was not due to expire until August 2031. But with Yonkers gentrifying rapidly, Westhab’s management recognized that the value of The Windham would continue to increase dramatically and that renewing the lease more than a decade down the road could prove impossible.

There was another option, however. Westhab had a unique opportunity to purchase the property, but time was running out—the opportunity extended only through the summer of 2020. Westhab turned to the Leviticus Fund for assistance.

Leviticus provided a $2.1 million loan—our tenth loan to Westhab—that enabled the nonprofit to acquire The Windham. The transaction means that, despite the ongoing gentrification of Yonkers, Westhab will preserve the property’s mix of studio and single-room-occupancy units to provide 11 transitional and 34 permanent beds and on-site supportive services to vulnerable individuals.

Since its inception in 1981, Westhab has created more than 900 homes and helped more than 8,150 homeless households transition to permanent housing. Leviticus is honored to have the opportunity to help support the preservation of The Windham—the place where it all started.