NEW BERLIN — Greater Opportunities for Broome and Chenango, Inc. was awarded a little over $4.3 million dollars from the New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP) for a project that will involve the renovation of four buildings located at 26 Genesee Street, 28 Genesee Street, 34 Genesee Street, and 8 Green Street in New Berlin.
Greater Opportunities Deputy Director Kelly Robertson said, “Greater Opportunities is super excited about this grant. This is our 7th HHAP project but according to HHAP, it's our first one in Chenango County in over 30 years.”
She said they are proposing to rehabilitate the four buildings into 17 units that will provide safe, affordable housing to individuals and families experiencing homelessness.”
“This project will allow Greater Opportunities to create larger apartments to accommodate the needs of larger families within Chenango County, along with smaller units and accessible units for individuals with disabilities,” said Robertson.
New Berlin Mayor Peter Lennon congratulated Greater Opportunities for Broome and Chenango as they were awarded the one of only two HHAP grants of this type across New York State.
Lennon said, “This project will have a positive impact on the infrastructure and wellness of our village for decades to come.”
Robertson said, “Our agency anticipates having a fully executed contract with HHAP by December 31, with construction beginning on January 2024 and to be complete within a 12 month time frame.”
“We'll work on one building at a time, so a few people will be rotated into other units but once their building is complete, tenants will then be permitted to move back,” she said.
The section of New Berlin is in a historical district and all four buildings have historic value and will go through State Historic Preservation to be restored as originally built in the early 1900's.
The construction will include gutting the building interiors, all interior finish materials and trim, interior doors, electrical, plumbing and heating, asbestos abatement, window sashes, exterior demolition, and reconstruction for 17 apartments.
The property at 8 Green Street has been vacant for several years, is severely dilapidated, and uninhabitable at this time.
She said this is permanent supportive housing and what that means is when someone enters, they can stay in the housing as long as they need and they will give them supportive management services.
Referrals for individuals and families experiencing homelessness for the Greater Opportunities HHAP buildings will come from the NY-511 CoC Coordinated Entry System.
She said, “Greater Opportunities has been receiving homeless referrals from Coordinated Entry since its inception in 2017.”
According to Robertson, services offered will be provided by the Greater Opportunities Housing Family Advocates. The goal for the Advocates is to provide assistance for participating families and individuals experiencing homelessness to obtain and maintain healthy interdependence with the rest of the community.
“The plan will focus on the strengths of each person and work to empower them and involve them in the decisions and processes that affect their future,” Robertson said. “Services will include case management, life skills education and training, and employment skill training.”
Using a holistic approach, the Housing Family Advocates will strive through collaboration between service providers, to address the multi-faceted issues of social service customers.
Robertson explained rents will be calculated based on the tenants not paying more than 30% of their income (or up to 40% if utilities are included) or the public assistance rate, whichever applies. Allowances will also be granted for households with children, seniors, and disabled family members. Currently, Greater Opportunities utilizes the rent calculation form as developed by HUD.
She said Section 8 as well as Chenango County DSS shelter allowances will also be accepted.
Greater Opportunities will utilize the New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP) funds and a Community Service Block Grant to provide support services and administration for this project.