Attorney General James Grants $1.5 Million To Schenectady And Albany To Support Affordable Housing

The Funds Will Be Provided to Community Land Trusts

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ALBANY — Attorney General Letitia James granted $1.5 Million to the Cities of Albany and Schenectady as part of the second round of the “Community Land Trusts Capacity Building Initiative.” The Initiative was founded in 2017 to help owners of small- and mid-sized multifamily buildings and houses take advantage of local governments’ affordable housing programs.

“This is an important investment that will strengthen and revitalize the communities of Albany and Schenectady by creating and preserving affordable homes for many families,” said Attorney General James. “With this program, we are helping local governments partner with community based organizations to meet their local housing needs, while building more vibrant neighborhoods for future generations of New Yorkers.”

The grant provided is a continuation of the 2017 Community Land Trust (CLT) Initiative, a program created by the Office of the New York Attorney General and Enterprise Community Partners to support the formation of six community land trusts in the state. This program also led to the creation of a CLT Learning Exchange comprised of nine community-based organizations, to address housing challenges, especially vacancy and blight, and to develop and promote new models of community ownership of affordable housing and community spaces.

“Enterprise is excited to provide this second round of funding to catalyze new Community Land Trusts and strengthen existing ones,” said Enterprise Community Partners Vice President and New York Market Leader Judi Kende. “CLTs give neighborhood residents the power to decrease displacement, ensure permanent affordability, and, most importantly, make decisions about development in their own communities. This round of funding will deepen that work by supporting even more CLTs and expanding opportunities for local stakeholders to play an active role in revitalizing and preserving communities across New York.”

Two Capitol Region community land trusts, the Albany Community Land Trust and Community Land Trust of Schenectady Inc., will receive grants in this round of funding. The Albany Community Land Trust will receive $900,000 to work in partnership with the Albany Housing Authority as well as the Albany County Land Bank to acquire properties to rehabilitate or construct at least 10 units for affordable rental housing. It also intends to construct eight units for permanent affordable homeownership for first time homebuyers.

“These much-needed funds will help continue to expand the Albany Community Land Trust program – ensuring that more affordable housing is available for both renters and first-time homebuyers in the City of Albany,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “Thank you to Attorney General Letitia James for her commitment to New York’s Capital City and our entire state.”

“The Albany Community Land Trust, working in tandem with the Albany County Land Bank that we launched in 2014, is a critical tool in our arsenal allowing us to continue tackling two major issues in our communities: quality affordable housing and blighted buildings that attract crime, endanger first responders and drag down property values,” said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy. “I want to thank Attorney General James for her vision and for investing in Albany County and the Capital Region as more and more families come to call them home.”

“The Albany Community Land Trust is grateful for the support from Attorney General James,” stated Valerie Alexander-Moseley, board chair, Albany Community Land Trust. “The funding has provided us a wonderful opportunity to leverage resources to work on projects which will have significant, positive impacts on the lives of Land Trust residents and our neighborhoods.” 

The other grantee is the Community Land Trust of Schenectady Inc., which will receive a grant of $600,000 to acquire and renovate 10 properties and sell them to low-income families as permanent affordable housing. The Community Land Trust of Schenectady also plans to build internal capacity of CLT staff and increase public awareness to attract potential CLT tenants and homeowners.

“The Community Land Trust of Schenectady is a vital part of our community. This funding award will continue to support home ownership services as well as reinvestment in our neighborhoods,” said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy. “We are grateful for Attorney General James’ support and look forward to expanding affordable housing options for our residents.”

“Community Land Trust of Schenectady, Inc. would like to thank the Office of the Attorney General and the Enterprise Community Partners for this funding award to continue to provide quality affordable housing services to the residents of the City of Schenectady,” said Community Land Trust of Schenectady President Jackie Falotico.

Enterprise Community Partners released a report on the impact of the first round of the Community Land Trust Initiative. Enterprise was able to leverage the initial grants into a $63 million investment for permanent affordable housing in NYC, Long Island, and Albany. The first round of the program resulted in the creation of 70 buildings or homes, 453 permanently affordable housing units, and 34 new positions or jobs.

The program also reserves $200,000 if the grantees need additional funding before the two-year program is complete.