The Housing Task Force was created by Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton, but she was not present at yesterday's meeting, because she was ill. Rick Rector, mayor elect, told the group that Hamilton would not be participating in the task force anymore. Toward the end of the meeting, task force member Peter Meyer reminded everyone that this was a mayor's task force and wondered how it would be impacted by the change of administration. Rector said there would be "some form of housing task force" during his administration but suggested it might be reconfigured as a Common Council committee on housing. Joe Czajka, from Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, who seemed to be the recognized leader of the task force, noted that his group had "a commitment to the state" and said the work of the task force would continue through the next few months, with the goal of producing an action plan by the middle of 2018.
When the DRI came up in discussion, it was noted that there were four projects proposed for DRI funding that involved housing:
- Pre-development for new housing at 6-14 State Street, 202-206 Columbia Street, and 213 Columbia Street
- Homeowner improvement grants
- Redevelopment of the Kaz site
- A forty-unit senior housing development across State Street from Bliss Towers
In describing the plan to build forty units of senior housing, Timothy Mattice, executive director of HHA, and Randall Martin, chair of the HHA Board, spoke of "de-densifying" Bliss Towers. A third of the 135 units in Bliss Towers--the high-rise and the low-rise--are currently occupied by senior citizens. Mattice also talked about transitioning Bliss Towers to the RAD (Rent Assistance Demonstration) program, which, according to the HUD (Housing & Urban Development) website, "allows public housing agencies to leverage public and private debt and equity in order to reinvest in the public housing stock." Mattice said HHA was looking for a co-developer to "rebuild new public housing or rehabilitate what is." He expected an RFP (request for proposals) would be ready by the end of this month, and proposals would be in by the end of January.
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