Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of Happiness House Phase II Apartments, a $9.7 million affordable and supportive housing development in the town of Canandaigua, Ontario County. The complex provides 30 affordable homes for individuals, families and seniors, with nine apartments reserved for individuals who have previously experienced homelessness. Happiness House Phase II Apartments is part of Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented $20 billion, five-year affordable housing plan to provide all New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing by building and preserving more than 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing. The development also builds on the Governor’s overall strategy to revitalize communities and grow the economy across the state. Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested $639 million in the Finger Lakes region to create or preserve nearly 7,700 affordable homes.
“New York has made unprecedented investments to create affordable and supportive housing units in every corner of the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new development will provide eligible Ontario County residents with safe housing and access to critical supportive services and builds on our ongoing efforts to combat homelessness and create a safer and stronger Empire State for all.”
“Every New Yorker deserves a roof over their head and the decency of a good home,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Through our investment in Happiness House Apartments in Canandaigua, we are helping an additional 30 families, seniors and individuals struggling with homelessness find a safe and secure place to live. As we battle this pandemic, New York State remains committed to combating homelessness and providing supportive services for New Yorkers in need.”
Happiness House Phase II Apartments consists of a two-story building with 22 apartments and a one-story building with eight studio apartments specifically designed for seniors aged 55 and older. All apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 50 percent of the area median income. Five of the apartments in the larger building and four of the senior studio apartments will receive rental subsidies and supportive services funded through Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.
Residents will have access to an array of on- and off-site supportive social services based on need and eligibility. This includes counseling and recovery services for those with a history of substance abuse; individual and group support for older residents fostering memory skills; mobility and social support with an underlying focus on health and wellness; day services and grief counseling for qualified tenants.
The buildings were designed to meet Enterprise Green Communities building standards. Each apartment has central air conditioning and Energy Star appliances. Happiness House Phase II Apartments is located close to retailers, commercial services, a town park, restaurants and other amenities. There is a public transit bus stop on the property.
The developer and service provider is Happiness House, corporately known as Finger Lakes United Cerebral Palsy, Inc.
State financing for Happiness House Phase II Apartments includes federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated nearly $5.6 million in equity and $1.1 million in subsidy from HCR. The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance provided $2 million through the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program. Additional financing was provided by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, The Golisano Foundation and the Federal Home Loan Bank.
New York State previously provided financing for Happiness House Phase I Apartments, a 20-apartment supportive and affordable housing development adjacent to Phase II on Happiness House Boulevard. The initial phase opened in 2014.
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Governor Cuomo has committed unprecedented resources to reducing homelessness by building supportive housing in every region in the state. With Happiness House Phase II Apartments, we are providing 30 brand-new, energy-efficient affordable homes with on-site access to social services, health care and counseling. The state’s investment in this $9.7 million development will benefit Canandaigua for years to come and help residents thrive in their new homes.”
OTDA Commissioner Mike Hein said, “We are committed to ensuring all New Yorkers can access safe, stable housing – especially those among our most vulnerable populations. The Happiness House Apartments will provide the support and resources elderly individuals who are experiencing homelessness can rely on to identify and address factors that contribute to their housing instability. Along with the existing living center, these apartments represent a new hope for housing insecure residents of Ontario County and a phenomenal asset for the Finger Lakes Region as a whole.”
OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, “This new housing development will allow people in Ontario County to live in a safe and supportive environment as they look to rebuild their lives from addiction. A secure place to live is one of the most important things we can give people affected by this disease, and OASAS is committed to making this a reality for people throughout New York State. We look forward to the benefits that this will bring to people in the Finger Lakes region.”
NYSERDA Acting President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “Providing our most vulnerable residents with access to energy efficient, affordable and safe housing is a central tenant of Governor Cuomo’s goal to include all New Yorkers in the State’s transition to a clean energy economy. We are proud to support Happiness House Apartments and congratulate them on their forward-thinking approach to providing a full-service, supportive development for families, seniors and those in need in their community.”
Senator Pam Helming said, “Affordable housing is an essential component of a strong community. Congratulations to President and CEO Mary Boatfield and the entire Happiness House team on the completion of this project, which is a tremendous asset for the Canandaigua community and the Finger Lakes region. Thank you to New York State Homes and Community Renewal and everyone involved in making this project a reality.”
Assemblyman Jeff Gallahan said, “The strength of our community is built on the strength of our families. This development will provide important new affordable housing options for those with disabilities, working families and our seniors. New York Homes and Community Renewal is a terrific partner and it’s great to see the hard work of the Happiness House team and HCR come to fruition today.”
Ontario County Chairman Jack Marren said, “Ontario County and the town of Canandaigua is fortunate to mark the completion of Happiness House Phase II and be able to provide much needed affordable housing options. The apartments reserved for homeless individuals will assist in addressing the increasing need and I am proud to have this available in Ontario County. The collaboration and partnerships that brought Phase II to fruition deserve much praise for their efforts.”
Canandaigua Supervisor Cathy Menikotz said, “The Happiness House organization has helped so many people in our area for many years including some very important people in my own life. Their never-ending commitment to serve those members of our community who are most in need is truly commendable and humbling. I want to thank Happiness House on behalf of the Town of Canandaigua for choosing the Canandaigua community for this project and I want thank New York State for helping the idea become a reality.”
Happiness House President and CEO Mary Boatfield said, “Happiness House’s mission is to provide safe and affordable housing to those in need in our communities. We are so fortunate to have collaborated with our state and community partners in the development of physical and social environments that promote overall wellness for all individuals who live in our region.”
Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $8 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. This funding has incentivized private business to invest well over $2.5 billion to the effort, which anticipates creating more than 8,000 jobs in the region. More information is available here.