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Complex in Poughkeepsie Provides Housing and Services to Seniors and Veterans

Photograph of a façade of a three-story residential building, with brick on the first floor and siding above. A one-story portico marks the building’s entrance, and six gables mark the roofline. In the foreground are a parking lot with grass and trees on the perimeter. Small bushes line the parking lot in front of the building.
Poughkeepsie Commons contains affordable housing for seniors and homeless or disabled veterans. Image courtesy of Ronald Glassman, Kearney Realty & Development Group.
To address the needs of its growing senior citizen and veteran populations, the city of Poughkeepsie, the Dutchess County seat, has partnered with private and nonprofit developers to encourage the creation of affordable rental housing. Recently, the city and the county supported development of Poughkeepsie Commons, a project of Kearney Realty and Development Group, which opened in October 2013. The 72-unit housing complex provides affordable housing and a range of onsite services for low-income seniors and disabled or homeless veterans.

A Convenient Location for Seniors and Veterans

A vacant city-owned property served by a bus route providing access to supportive services located about a mile away in downtown Poughkeepsie caught the attention of Sean Kearney of Kearney Realty and Development Group. The site is also near a community college and approximately two miles away from a Metro North Railroad station, which offers access to New York City and other destinations along the Hudson Line. Kearney recognized the possibilities of the site for affordable housing for seniors and veterans.

The development company purchased the 8-acre parcel and subdivided it to use approximately 4 acres to develop Poughkeepsie Commons, a two-building complex consisting of 72 one-bedroom rental units. The building for veterans has 24 units, and 8 of those units have project-based HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers to provide rent subsidies to formerly homeless veterans. The remaining 16 units are set aside for veterans with physical and mental disabilities. Poughkeepsie Commons’ second building contains a manager’s unit and 47 units for tenants aged 55 or older, with 12 of the age-restricted units set aside for frail elderly tenants with mental disabilities. The development has units affordable to tenants earning a range of incomes; 3 units are affordable to households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), 44 units are affordable to households earning up to 50 percent of AMI, and 24 units are affordable to households earning up to 30 percent of AMI. Units targeted to those with physical disabilities are fully accessible, other units are adaptable, and both buildings include elevators. All units meet the green building standards established by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and New York State Homes and Community Renewal (NYSHCR).

Veterans and seniors living at Poughkeepsie Commons benefit from onsite services and amenities. The ground floor of the veterans’ building features medical examination rooms, a community room, and offices for Mental Health America of Dutchess County, American Legion Post 37, and the VA. Hudson River Housing, a partner in the development, also occupies one of the offices, where it refers residents to appropriate services for physical, mental, or financial issues. The complex also features a meeting room on every floor, a computer room, a laundry facility, and a landscaped courtyard. To fully capitalize on the site’s bus access to shopping and other amenities in Poughkeepsie, Kearney Realty and Development Group added a bus shelter on the property.

Support for Poughkeepsie Commons

Photograph of water cascading down two levels of a rock water feature, which is surrounded with newly planted trees and groundcover. Large native trees stand at the top of the ridge behind the water feature. In the foreground is a sidewalk and two low light standards.
Poughkeepsie Commons’ carefully landscaped courtyard includes a rock-lined water feature for tenants to enjoy. Image courtesy of Kearney Realty & Development Group.
According to Ken Kearney, president and founder of Kearney Realty and Development Group, the city struggled for years to sell the property on which Poughkeepsie Commons is located, because water pressure issues discouraged development. In 2010, the city sold the land to the developer, who worked with both the city of Poughkeepsie and the adjacent town of Poughkeepsie to allow the development to connect to its water line to improve water pressure. The city provided $150,000 in Community Development Block Grant program funding for the water line improvement.

The county joined the city to award the development $745,000 in HOME Investment Partnerships Program funding. Another source of funding was low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC), allocated by NYSHCR and purchased by Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, which yielded $12.3 million in equity for the project. In addition, Community Preservation Corporation, a nonprofit housing finance organization based in New York City, arranged a $7 million construction loan and an $800,000 permanent loan.

Continuing to Meet Needs in the City

Poughkeepsie Commons is fully leased, and residents are taking full advantage of the development’s location and amenities. Kearney notes that some of the veterans living in Poughkeepsie Commons are taking classes at the nearby community college. With funding from the Bureau of Housing Development and Support in the state’s Office of Mental Health, as well as HOME Investment Partnerships and LIHTC funds, the developer is constructing a second phase on the parcel’s remaining 4 acres of land that will include 50 supportive and 24 affordable housing units. Units in the second phase will be affordable to households with incomes below 50 percent of AMI, and nonprofit partners will provide services for the tenants of the supportive housing. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

To learn more about veteran homelessness, read the summer 2012 edition of Evidence Matters.