After beginning in the summer two years ago, RUPCO’s East End II development project in the City of Newburgh anticipates final completion by the end of 2022.
RUPCO, an affordable housing development organization, has been working and constructing new affordable housing units in the city for residents for the past several years. In 2018, a similar project known as East End I was completed by RUPCO that saw the creation of 45 mixed-income units in 15 buildings.
The properties that have been constructed or have been restored in the East End II project include the following: 35 DuBois, 37 DuBois, 39 DuBois, 33 Lander, 42 Lander, 44 Lander, 114 Lander, 118 Lander, 122 Lander, 133 Lander, 135 Lander, 215 First, 25 S. Miller, 45 Johnston, 193 First, 197 First, 135 Chambers, 137 Chambers, 98 Lander, 116 Lander, 137 Lander, 139 Lander, 245 Liberty and 257 Liberty.
Meeting with RUPCO representatives in the City of Kingston, Chief Executive Officer Kevin O’Connor provided a brief update on the development project. “We’re moving towards completion. 26 sites. So in addition to restoration of the former United Methodist Church as High Point, we have, I believe, 10 historic rehab and 12 new construction buildings to create 62 residential apartments,” O’Connor said. “People have moved in since last October.”
At the moment, RUPCO is still awaiting some approvals from New York State for their properties and also has an active waiting list for the units. The East End II project is also the largest RUPCO endeavor with $32 million having gone into the project. The source of the funding, according to O’Connor, came from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and State Historic Tax Credit. Other grants were also provided by the state’s Homes and Community Renewal organization as well, and Webster Bank has also been an investor in the project.
Despite the last several years of the COVID pandemic along with supply chain issues and backups on construction, the project continues to anticipate completion by the end of 2022 and O’Connor also wanted to recognize all the staff and community members and organizers that have helped in the progression of this housing endeavor. Another notable recognition has been the partnership between RUPCO and the Newburgh Community Land Bank which works in the stabilization and revitalization of abandoned properties to create more equitable and affordable housing.
Joining in on the conversation about East End II was Emma Hambright, Assistant Vice President of Social and Human Services for RUPCO who provided a brief overview of her work and what RUPCO has to offer with the partnership with the LYNC Community Foundation, founded by City of Newburgh resident Melanie Collins, who joined later on.
“The work that I do for RUPCO is really more in the supportive side of the housing. And so we have a couple of major programs that are going on in the Newburgh area, one of which is our Newburgh YouthBuild program. So that started just approximately a year ago, we’re about a year into that contract. And that program is to provide GED and job training support for 16 to 24 year olds,” said Hambright. “So over the course of the next two years, we will be serving approximately 60 kids. So they’re all City of Newburgh kids and we are working on getting them their GEDs, CMA medical certifications as well as 50 of those 60 students will be working on their construction training certifications.”
According to Hambright, the goal of Newburgh YouthBuild is to not only teach the students skills, but to have them out working within the community, developing leadership skills, working on projects and ultimately building affordable housing that will be used for their neighbors.
Though High Point is still under construction, the Newburgh YouthBuild program, under the leadership of Collins, still continues to operate. Collins looks forward to High Point’s completion so as to offer a space for the community to enjoy.
“We took a church that otherwise would have been an abandoned building that was down to 20 members and was not for sale and walked in the door and saw an opportunity to create space to do church work,” Collins said. “And out of that church, now students that otherwise would have been roaming around not in school have a place to come to that they will soon consider to be like a home. We’re doing the work and you know, I am honored to be able to share space and work with so many people that are dedicated to making a difference.”
Mayor Torrance Harvey and Councilman Anthony Grice both shared individually their support for the renovation of the church, the work being done on the housing units, and the Newburgh YouthBuild program under Collins.
According to Collins, Newburgh YouthBuild is still accepting students at the moment and currently operates out of a RUPCO property on Johnston St. To learn more about the Newburgh YouthBuild program call (845) 219-1209 or visit newburghyouthbuild.com