Malorie Lebeau 06/24/2021


Union Square Apartments Provides 72 Affordable Homes on East Avenue,Including 21 Units Reserved for People Experiencing Homelessness 

Investment Complements "Finger Lakes Forward" - the Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of Union Square Apartments, a $21 million supportive housing development serving the LGBTQ+ community and others experiencing homelessness in the city of Rochester. Completed in time for Pride Month, the development provides 72 affordable homes for low-income families and individuals, including 21 units with onsite supportive services for individuals living with HIV or who are 55 or older and require assistance with daily living. 

"The best way to address homelessness and housing insecurity in our state is by working directly with our most at-risk New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "As we celebrate Pride Month, the opening of Union Square Apartments will provide LGBTQ+ New Yorkers - who are often disproportionately impacted by homelessness - with access to affordable housing and the supportive services they need to lead healthy, independent lives. This supportive housing development represents yet another accomplishment in our overall efforts to achieve housing equality in New York State once and for all." 

"Every New Yorker deserves a roof over their head, including those who are homeless and living with HIV," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "This LGBTQ+ welcoming community in Rochester will include 72 affordable homes and supportive services. Today's announcement represents New York State's commitment to a brighter, more inclusive future as we rebuild from the pandemic."

Located at 275 East Ave., the four-story Union Square was constructed as part of the Inner Loop East Transformation Project, Rochester's multi-year, $20 million project to remove the expressway separating the eastern neighborhoods from Center City with the goal of knitting back together the pedestrian, commercial and residential fabric of the two areas. Union Square Apartments is the third development on the Loop.

Opened during Pride Month in New York State, Union Square is a LGBTQ¬+ welcoming community that will help reduce housing inequality in Rochester. The LGBTQ+ community is among the groups disproportionately impacted by homelessness and housing insecurity.

Developed by Home Leasing, the development offers 72 units of affordable housing for households earning at or below 80 percent of the area median income. Each apartment features a dishwasher, central air-conditioning, storage space and balconies, in addition to access to a community room, fitness center, laundry facilities, indoor bike storage, outdoor recreational space and onsite parking. 

Trillium Health is providing onsite supportive services to 21 units at Union Square. To be eligible for these apartments, individuals must be experiencing homeless and either living with HIV or 55 or older and requiring assistance with at least one instrumental activity of daily living, such as independent living skills or managing finances and benefits. 

In partnership with other community-based programs, housing coordinators will assess each participant's needs and develop an individualized service plan to maintain housing stability and overall well-being. Participants will also have access to group and individualized education sessions, peer support, training in independent living skills and other wrap around services to support their needs. 

New York State Homes and Community Renewal's financing for Union Square includes $4.3 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, federal low-income housing tax credits that generated $7.2 million in equity and an additional $8.4 million in subsidy. Services and rental subsidies are funded through the Governor's Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the state Office of Mental Health. 

Union Square is part of Governor Cuomo's unprecedented $20 billion, five-year affordable housing plan. The Governor's plan will provide all New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing by building and preserving more than 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing.  

The project also builds on the Governor's overall strategy to revitalize communities and grow the economy across the state including "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested $688 million in the Finger Lakes region to create or preserve nearly 8,000 affordable homes.  

Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "As we commemorate Pride Month, New York is continuing our leadership in the fight for justice, inclusion and compassion for the LGBTQ+ community. Our investment in Rochester's Union Square Apartments is addressing the needs of a community that is disproportionately impacted by housing insecurity and often unable to obtain decent and compassionate healthcare. Through our partnership with Home Leasing and Trillium Health, we are delivering 72 beautiful homes with services that empower individuals to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives."     

CEO of Home Leasing Bret Garwood said, "At Home Leasing, we are committed to creating open, accepting and inclusive communities where our residents can live and thrive without discrimination. Union Square provides 72 affordable apartments in a LGBTQ+ welcoming community. Union Square continues the great work to remake the Inner Loop into a vibrant and integrated downtown neighborhood."

Senator Jeremy Cooney said, "The new Union Square Apartments will provide much needed affordable housing and safe living spaces for communities that have been historically discriminated against in the housing market. Rochester is stronger when everyone has a place to call home. The partnership among all of these groups from every sector to further invest in our City's vulnerable populations will be a critical part of our recovery from the pandemic." 

Assemblyman Harry B. Bronson said, "People living with HIV/AIDS need housing as a foundation to staying healthy. They are often marginalized, pushed out of jobs, rejected in countless other ways, and are most in need of stability to ensure they are able to live their best healthy lives. Union Square is designed, through housing assistance and supportive services to have a major impact on the lives low-income Rochester residents, especially those living with HIV/AIDS. The opening of Union Square is recognition that one of the best tools for ending the epidemic is providing stable, affordable housing, which leads to better health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS and fewer transmissions."

Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, "As the mayor of a city with a 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, I am proud that Rochester continues to reflect the ideals of equity and social justice espoused by Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony. By providing the foundation of an affordable home and supportive services to those living with HIV and the elderly with impediments to independent living, Union Square Apartments will stand as a testament to those ideals. I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, Empire State Development, Trillium Health and Home Leasing for this powerful investment in the city of Rochester and for helping us advance our efforts to create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our citizens."

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, "The opening of the Union Square Apartments is exciting for the city of Rochester on a few fronts. First, it shows continued efforts to revitalize the area around Union Street in accordance with the Inner Loop East Transformation Project. Through projects such as this, what was essentially a blank slate is burgeoning into a diverse community. Secondly, the aim of the Union Square Apartments is admirable. This development was crafted with an emphasis on affordability keenly kept in mind. The complex will be available to many of the people who have been hurt the most by the ongoing housing crisis, those of low socioeconomic status. Lastly, the amenities available to residents once moved in are tremendous. Aside from the fitness center, laundry facilities, and so on, the individualized care for each resident provided by Trillium Health will be instrumental in ensuring those living in the complex are afforded the assistance they need to live happy and healthy lives."

Andrea DeMeo, President and CEO of Trillium Health said, "As a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike and Ryan White Clinic, Trillium Health is dedicated to promoting health equity and providing healthcare to the most vulnerable members of our community. We know that housing is an important social determinant of health - you cannot heal, safely store your medicine, adhere to medication regimes, or ensure regular visits to your primary care physician if you don't have housing security. We're grateful for the opportunity to expand our services in the city and to promote health equity in Rochester."      

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward

Today's announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $8 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs.