Angela's House in Cheektowaga to provide 67 apartments for adults over 55, including 21 supportive units
State's homeless housing and assistance program providing $3.6 million to redevelop wing of historic Villa Maria Academy
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced the groundbreaking for Angela's House, a $22.8 million development that will transform a long-dormant wing of the historic Villa Maria Academy into affordable housing in the Town of Cheektowaga. Funded in part by $3.6 million from the state's Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, the project will redevelop the former all-girls high school into 67 affordable apartments, including 21 supportive units that will serve adults over the age of 55 who are grappling with housing insecurity.
"All New Yorkers deserve a safe, stable place to live – especially seniors and older adults who have experienced homelessness," Hochul said. "Angela's House will provide the affordable homes and supportive services that older adults in Erie County can use to address underlying issues that contributed to them experiencing housing insecurity. We remain committed to a brighter, more inclusive future as we rebuild New York, and projects like this one will help us to achieve that end."
The project will redevelop a six-story Gothic Revival structure into 55 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom apartments with all units affordable for those earning 60% of the area median income or less. Among these apartments will be 21 units with supportive services that will be reserved for adults 55 or older who are experiencing homelessness.
Built in 1927 to house a boarding and day high school for the Felician Sisters of St. Francis, the wing of the building being redeveloped was formerly occupied by Villa Maria Academy, which closed in 2006. Delta Development of Western New York Inc. is undertaking the project, while CB-Emmanuel Realty will be the project's leasing agent.
Funding for the work includes $3.6 million through the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, $3.4 million through the New York State Homes and Community Renewal's Supportive Housing Opportunity Program, $300,000 through the Town of Cheektowaga, and $60,000 from NYSERDA. In addition, the project is receiving $8.8 million in low-income housing tax credit equity, $3.4 million in federal historic tax credit equity and $2.8 million in state historic tax credit equity. Operating funding will be provided through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative through the New York State Department of Health.
Administered by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Homeless Housing Assistance Program provides capital grants and loans to not-for-profit corporations, charitable and religious organizations, and municipalities to acquire, construct or rehabilitate housing for persons who are unable to secure adequate housing without special assistance. The grants are awarded through a competitive process by the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corp., a public benefit corporation staffed by OTDA.
OTDA Commissioner Mike Hein said, "Older adults should be able to age with dignity safely within their community and without the fear of housing insecurity. Angela's House will provide safe, affordable homes for these individuals and families, while breathing new life into a long-dormant wing of this historic campus. I applaud Gov. Hochul's continued support for these important projects that help to address the root causes of homelessness throughout our state."
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Our nearly $23 million investment in Angela's House is an example of what can be achieved when state and faith-based organizations dedicate their efforts to providing new homes for those who need them most. Thanks to our partnership with the Felician Sisters, CB Emmanuel Realty and Delta Development, the former Villa Maria Academy in Cheektowaga will be repurposed into 67 affordable and sustainable homes, including 21 with supportive services. Our efforts to fight homelessness and housing insecurity across the state depends on our partnerships with government, private and nonprofit leaders. As we continue to navigate the COVID pandemic, this mission is more essential than ever."
Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said, "Safe and supportive housing is the foundation of good health, and I am confident that Angela's House will provide their residents with the care they need. I am proud of our continued efforts to move our state forward and provide New Yorkers with the security they need for a bright and healthy future."
Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski said, "I am excited to finally see this long-awaited housing project come to fruition. This project will provide much-needed new and affordable housing options to the most vulnerable in the Town of Cheektowaga, including seniors, and individuals with supportive needs. The revitalization and reuse of the former Villa Maria High School is an iconic landmark in the Town of Cheektowaga and the Western New York region. This is an exciting project and I look forward to its completion."
CB-Emmanuel Realty Managing Director and Co-Owner Benathan Upshaw said, "CB-Emmanuel is fortunate to once again partner with New York state on another affordable housing initiative in Western New York. There are so many others to thank and recognize, as these types of efforts involve so many community stakeholders – not the least of which in this instance is the Town of Cheektowaga and various financial partners. Angela's House will be a unique and transformative addition to an emerging neighborhood that I am confident will enhance the quality of life for so many."
Franciscan Felician Sisters of North America Sister Judith Marie Kubicki said, "The ground on which we stand is holy ground – ground that has been hallowed by 84 years of educating young women to realize their full potential. This day marks the beginning of a new path of ministering to seniors by offering affordable housing."