Monday, March 27, 2017

Another Plan for Affordable Housing

At last month's forum on affordable housing, Sheena Salvino, executive director of Hudson Community Development & Planning Agency (HCDPA) and Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) talked about a "pilot program" that she said would focus on the 100 and 200 blocks of State Street. At the HCDPA meeting last week, Salvino got approval from the board to pursue another plan for creating affordable housing. The plan involves getting funding from the NYS HOME Local Program Small Rental Development Initiative (SRDI) and acquiring some the thirteen properties now on the City's foreclosure list. The plan is to get the properties before they go to auction, purchasing them for the amount of delinquent taxes due and thus making the City whole, and rehabbing them for rental units. The program requires that a building rehabbed have at least two rental units, and the units must remain affordable for twenty years. The funding program requires an owner-developer, and Salvino said she had spoken with Rick Scalera about HCDPA partnering with Galvan Housing Resources in this project.

Salvino distributed the list of the thirteen properties now threatened with foreclosure for delinquent property taxes, some of which may be redeemed before the City seizes title to them. Of the thirteen, only three or four seem candidates for rehabbing into rental units. There are also two vacant lots on the foreclosure list--both vacant because the City of Hudson demolished the buildings that stood there, added the expense of the demolition to the property taxes, and now is foreclosing in order to order to recoup those costs. The first is 255-257 Columbia Street, where the Colored Citizens Club once stood.

Photo: Scott Baldinger
The building was demolished, not without controversy, in December 2011. One of the things that made the demolition controversial, as it was carried out, was the evidence that the original St. John's Methodist Episcopal Church was hidden beneath the walls of the peaked portion of the building. Now, the City is looking to recoup $90,270.99 in delinquent taxes on the property. The amount includes the cost of demolishing the building, which, if memory serves, was about $60,000.

The other vacant lot is at 67 Fairview Avenue. The City demolished the house that once stood there in 2013, after neighbors reportedly complained about "snakes and rats" living in the abandoned house, and Cheryl Roberts, then city attorney, declared that it presented "an imminent life-threatening situation."

Photo: Scott Baldinger
The Common Council allocated $26,000 for the house's demolition. At the time, Don Moore, then Council president, said there was someone ready to buy the property as soon as the house was demolished, but four years later, the property is on the foreclosure list and the City is looking to recoup $49,921.22 in delinquent taxes, an amount that includes the $26,000 the City spent to demolish the house.

On the subject of foreclosure and auctions, demolition and rehabilitation, the house at 66 North Third Street comes to mind.

In 2010, this house was on Fourth Ward supervisor Bill Hughes' wish list as a tear down to create "scattered site housing" to replace Bliss Towers. In 2012, the house was part of the City's foreclosure auction. The minimum bid was set at $46,700, the amount owed in delinquent property taxes, but at that price, there were no bidders. When bids below the minimum were then invited, the bidding started at $10,000 and rose to $22,000. It took a resolution by the Common Council, but the house was sold for $22,000. 

Today, the house has been completely rehabbed and is for sale. The asking price is $525,000.



  1. Is this list of properties publicly available somewhere on line, and what are the other addresses with structures on them, that seem to you like potential candidates Carole?

  2. One thing to notice here is that the City seems too slow to sell these properties and too quick to demolish them; generally, a waste of taxpayer money. The grant that Sheena Salvino is pursuing might be a way to get the city out of the real estate business. --peter meyer