Safe, stable, affordable housing was first recognized as a human right in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Still, too many of our neighbors struggle with homelessness or housing insecurity.
In October, the Leviticus Fund closed a $3.85 million pre-development/acquisition loan to a nonprofit partner, RUPCO, for the purchase of a former Quality Inn in the Town of Ulster, just north of Kingston, for conversion to permanent and emergency affordable housing.
The project will convert the 145-room hotel to approximately 81 apartments, including studios and 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units. According to RUPCO, the need to address homelessness in Ulster County is clear and urgent. As of December 2021, there were at least 313 people who were homeless in Ulster County (including 63 families, 76 single men, and 58 single women.)
Non-profit RUPCO will provide onsite supportive services for resident families and individuals. The Leviticus Fund honored RUPCO with its Cornerstone Award in June, noting that their “tremendous community-building achievements in Kingston and the region are a testament to their determination to listen and to work effectively on the ground.”
The effort will focus on moving homeless families and individuals out of long-term hotel/motel placements and into permanent supportive housing. Supports will include help in accessing public benefits, job training, life skills training, behavioral health, food access and nutritional support, recreational activities, and on-site daycare. Small buses will be used to transport residents to appointments and for recreational purposes. The onsite indoor pool will be available for therapeutic purposes. The grounds will contain developed green space for passive and active recreation.
This project is one of the first to make use of New York State’s “Housing our Neighbors with Dignity Act” or “HONDA” outside of New York City. The measure, passed in 2021, facilitates the acquisition of distressed hotel and commercial office properties for conversion to 100% affordable or supportive housing.
This loan directly supports the first goal of the Leviticus Fund’s 2022-24 Strategic Plan by deepening our investment in supportive housing.