Aging public housing across the city of Yonkers will be given a facelift thanks to a three-year, $300 million renovation plan.
The Municipal Housing Authority of the City of Yonkers launched the initiative this month, with plans to renovate more than 1,700 units of public housing.
“Much of the housing was built in the ’50s and ’60s,” said Joseph Shuldiner, executive director of the housing authority. “Most of it is at least 40 years old.”
The initiative has been in the works for more than five years, Shuldiner said. Plans include new bathrooms, kitchens, roofing, flooring, boilers and other interior and exterior upgrades.
Those repairs and updates will be completed at 20 properties and affect about 10,000 residents, he added. Properties are scattered across the city, from Joseph F. Loehr Court at 10 Western Ave. in southern Yonkers to the Raleigh Valentine Townhouses at 162 Helena Ave. in Colonial Heights.
Local and state officials joined the housing authority recently to announce the first phase of the project, which will include the rehabilitation of 200 two-and three-bedroom apartments at the Dr. James O’Rourke Townhouses. The project, which the city agency is developing on its own, will also create four new units at the 13-building complex at 525 Shoreview Drive in east Yonkers.
The citywide renovations will be made possible by a financing plan under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Program. That HUD program allows the city and the housing authority to use tax credits to attract private investors. Shuldiner said the program allowed the housing authority to leverage private investment in order to make these “badly needed repairs.”
For the first project at the O’Rourke Townhouses, the Municipal Housing Authority has secured funding from Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing based in Columbia, Maryland. Shuldiner said the agency will enlist outside developers for its other planned projects across the city and is continuing to negotiate with funding providers.
“One of HUD’s top priorities is the preservation of affordable housing,” said Lynne Patton, HUD regional administrator for New York and New Jersey, “and I am pleased that the Municipal Housing Authority of the City of Yonkers has chosen HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program to rehabilitate its public housing stock and ensure it will provide safe and decent housing for low income residents in the city of Yonkers for decades to come.”
Funding will also come from a $125 million appropriation in the state budget for public housing outside of New York City. Shuldiner said he worked closely with state officials to ensure the item would be included in this fiscal year’s budget.
“We’re fortunate we obviously have some legislators with pull,” he said.
Some of those legislators representing Yonkers, including state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly members Shelley Mayer and Gary Pretlow, joined the housing authority to announce the launch of the initiative.
“The proposal and work to renovate these units has been in the pipeline for some time now,” Stewart-Cousins said. “I’m happy this year’s state budget will allow needed housing funds to flow and I look forward to watching these plans come to fruition.”
Shuldiner said the agency has applied for around $90 million of the $125 million statewide total. “We’re asking for a good chunk of it,” he said.