Homeless outreach programs to build hundreds of new homes

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Hundreds on the brink of homelessness will soon have steady roofs over their heads and warm beds to sleep in every night thanks to a $30 million dollar supportive housing award Governor Cuomo announced this week.

“This funding is so critical for people, because there’s nothing more important than people being stably housed. It makes such a difference in their life, their children’s lives. The trauma of a homeless episode can last for years for a family,” says Chris Burke CEO of Unity House of Troy.

Unity House of Troy is one of more than a dozen Capital Region housing programs to receive part of the governor’s supportive housing award. The grants are conditional that the programs acquire properties to convert.

Burke tells NEWS10 ABC’s Mikhaela Singleton Unity House has plans for one location in Cohoes and three in Troy. The Cohoes project will create 24 supportive housing units for survivors escaping domestic violence and 40 affordable housing units.

“We see hundreds of people, just in the course of a week and several thousand a year, who are one bad thing happening away from becoming homeless,” Burke explains. “Some of them are paying up to 50 percent of their income towards rent, which is just impossible.”

The three Troy projects will add permanent housing options for those suffering mental illness. In total, the grant will contribute to 106 supportive housing units and 250 affordable housing locations.

Over in Albany, Cares of NY, Inc. provides housing to those working through HIV and AIDS, mental illness, and struggling parents. Organizers say their $3 million will create 15 affordable housing properties that will blend in seamlessly with the Arbor Hill and Center Square neighborhoods.

“The more we can challenge ourselves to find ways to provide these opportunities, individuals really strive and seek to be successful and to sustain themselves,” says Audra Higgins, the Cares of NY Board of Directors President. “They crave independence and if you can provide them that safe place to lay their head, then they can more easily overcome those other challenges that may hinder them.”

Both programs hope to break ground on their housing projects in the new year.

The following Capital Region programs have all received a portion of the $30 million award:

  • CARES of NY, Inc. (Albany)
  • Catholic Charities Housing Office (Albany – 2)
  • Joseph’s House and Shelter, Inc. (Albany)
  • Rehabilitation Support Services, Inc. (Albany)
  • Soldier On, Inc. (Albany – 2)
  • The Community Builders, Inc. (Albany)
  • Unity House of Troy, Inc. (Albany)
  • Unity House of Troy, Inc. (Rensselaer – 3)
  • Shelters of Saratoga, Inc. (Saratoga)
  • The Salvation Army (Saratoga)
  • Transitional Services Association, Inc. (Saratoga)
  • Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council of Schenectady County, Inc. (Schenectady)
  • Bethesda House of Schenectady, Inc. (Schenectady)
  • The Salvation Army (Warren)

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