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Hudson River Housing's Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory receives two state-wide awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 6, 2017

Poughkeepsie, NY - Hudson River Housing's adaptive reuse of the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory will be lauded in two separate occasions this week, one in the state’s capital and one in New York City.

Today, Hudson River Housing will be announced as the winner of the Community Impact Competition at the 44th Annual NY Housing Conference. The competition features innovative projects making a difference in neighborhoods across New York State. Hudson River Housing’s Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory was chosen as the winner of the competition by the NY Housing Conference Young Leadership Council from among fifty submissions. Hudson River Housing will be presented with the award before a crowd of 1,200 housing advocates who have joined together for the annual awards presentation in New York City. The NY Housing Conference is a nonprofit affordable housing policy and advocacy organization that works to support decent affordable housing for all New Yorkers. 

On Thursday, Hudson River Housing will receive a 2017 New York State Historic Preservation Award. The award is presented by the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and recognizes excellence in the preservation and rejuvenation of New York’s historic and cultural treasures. The award for the adaptive reuse of the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory will be presented at a ceremony at the New York State Museum in Albany.

“We are thrilled and honored to be receiving awards for our work at the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory,” stated Christa Hines, Executive Director of Hudson River Housing. “It has truly been a privilege to give back to the City of Poughkeepsie and to the community such a beautiful historic treasure – and to also be able to create much needed housing and economic opportunity for such an important neighborhood. We are so appreciative of the outpouring of community support we have received for this project.”

Earlier this year, Hudson River Housing was named Nonprofit of the Year by Think Dutchess for its work to restore the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory.

The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1874, the building had fallen in to vacancy and disrepair before being purchased by Hudson River Housing in 2012. After a two-year reconstruction, the building opened to the community in March 2017. It currently houses a blend of commercial and residential space, including the North River Roasters Coffee House, Earth, Wind & Fuego eatery and catering company, and the Poughkeepsie Open Kitchen, a shared-use commercial kitchen. It also serves as a location for programming of the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center and Mill Street Loft/Spark Media Project, and is home to fifteen families residing in the studio and one-bedroom apartments in the building.

Located at 8 North Cherry Street, the project is part of Hudson River Housing’s Middle Main Initiative, which works to strengthen and preserve the Main Street corridor by celebrating community assets and deploying dynamic strategies to build upon them. With the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, Hudson River Housing has leveraged community support and partnerships to create a community hub that is enriching the neighborhood while strengthening the local economy through a combination of long-term, quality affordable housing, locally-rooted job and training opportunities, and small business. The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory exemplifies leadership in community development, and puts it into action on a neighborhood scale.

 

 

Hudson River Housing Urges Action on Federal Tax Reform

Proposed Tax Reform Would Have Devastating Impact on Affordable and Supportive Housing

While both the Senate and House versions of tax reform would result in huge deficits that will impact all non-defense spending including homeless housing programs, the House bill (HR 1) that passed on November 16,  would have a devastating impact on affordable and supportive housing by eliminating tax exempt private activity bonds (PAB). These bonds provide capital funding in conjunction with the 4% LIHTC.   These credits are available as-of-right, and automatically qualify for PABs. They are responsible for about half of the affordable housing development across New York State. 

HR 1  does preserve the 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), although, by drastically cutting corporate tax rates from 35% to 20% it will erode the value of the credit by an estimated 25%.   

It is estimated that the state will lose $4.5 billion dollars and 17,000 units of affordable housing annually with these changes. Also eliminated are Historic Tax Credits and New Market Tax Credits, two valuable tools used to spur housing and community development.

TAKE ACTION

Call on your Republican members of Congress and ask them to sign on to a letter to House and Senate leadership from Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14).  This letter opposes the elimination of tax exempt private activity bonds in the House’s version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Eliminating private activity bonds would have a devastating effect on affordable housing. Multifamily Housing Bonds, which are a type of private activity bond, provide critical financing to more than half of all Housing Credit developments annually by triggering the “4 percent” Housing Credit. Without Multifamily Housing Bonds, this housing simply would not be built. See our talking points on Housing Bonds.

Rep. Hultgren will be adding Republican signatories from both the House and the Senate until noon on Monday, Nov. 27. Please urge your Republican Senators and Representatives to sign on by contacting Bill Hulse at bill.hulse@mail.house.gov in Rep. Hultgren’s office.
Tell them that “Private Activity Bonds are essential to ending homelessness and the affordable housing crisis.”

 

The Supportive Housing Network of New York, along with a broad swath of affordable housing groups and housing agencies, leapt into action when HR1 was released. We alerted our membership to share their opinions on HR1 with their representatives; we put out a joint press release; and we published editorials defending the restoration of private activity bonds to the bill.  We also led a series of key meetings in Washington, D.C. with several of the Republican representatives whose votes were in play.

In the end, all amendments to the bill were defeated along straight party lines. HR1 passed with 227 votes for, and 205 votes against, with only 13 Republicans voting against it.  This  group of Republican dissenters includes five New York State representatives: Donovan, Faso, King, Stefanik, and Zeldin, whose opposition was based primarily on the elimination of deductibility for state and local taxes. The PAB cuts are a concern that several of these representatives raised during a press conference explaining their votes.  All Democrats voted against the bill. 

A very different tax reform bill has been introduced in the Senate, after the Senate Finance Committee rejected the House bill unanimously. This bill preserves the PAB, and the 9% LIHTC although, again, the drastic cut to corporate tax rates will lead to the same 25% devaluation of tax credits.  It will only require a majority to pass in the Senate, which is closely divided.  Both New York Senators are opposed, as are the rest of the Democrats.   This bill passed out of the Finance Committee and will face fierce debate on the senate floor.  A vote is expected after Thanksgiving recess.  If this competing bill passes, the House and Senate will form a reconciliation committee to produce a final version of the bill.

Attempts are also being made to improve both versions of the bill, by addressing the loss of value to the 9% LIHTC, and by adding provisions of the Cantwell-Hatch bill that would improve the efficiency of the program.  Some of these provisions may make it into the final Senate bill. Unless the Senate bill fixes the loss in valuation of the credit, there will be a significant loss of capacity to develop affordable and supportive housing.

In other news, The FY 2018 budget has yet to be resolved.  At the beginning of the tax reform process the House agreed to the Senate’s higher overall budget numbers, to allow for the Senate to vote on tax reform under reconciliation, which requires a simple majority.  In general, the last Senate HUD budget proposal, was the most favorable to supportive housing with modest increases to McKinney and Section 8, and flat funding in other key programs.  The final budget details have not been formalized and another short term continuing resolution is expected, as the current CR expires December 8.

The Network will continue to work with our local affordable housing partners and our national partners, including the ACTION Coalition, National Alliance to End Homelessness and the National Low Income Housing Coalition to fight for increased resources for affordable and supportive housing.

 

Hudson River Housing Announces Devastating Cut in Federal Funding
for Dutchess County Veterans Programs

Executive Director Expresses Resolve to Keep Commitment to Veterans, Asks for Immediate Assistance from Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 13, 2017

Poughkeepsie, NY - Hudson River Housing, Inc announced today the US Department of Veterans Affairs notified the organization that its 2018 Supportive Services for Veteran Families application would not be funded. Hudson River Housing has been receiving grant funding from this program since 2012, and current funding expires September 30, 2017.

“Hudson River Housing has made a sustaining commitment to our Dutchess County veterans that we will be there for them in a time of need. It has been a privilege for our organization to serve those who have given so much for our country and the very least we can do to say 'thank you' for their selfless sacrifice on our behalf," said Christa Hines, Executive Director of Hudson River Housing. "But this news has a devastating and real impact on veterans who need housing assistance, and immediately threatens our ability to keep our promise of assistance to our local veterans. We are exploring all options to make up this funding in the short-term, and will need the help of our community to ensure we don't break our promise to Dutchess County veterans."

The funding, totaling $516,145 for the current fiscal year, enables Hudson River Housing to provide services for homeless veterans and their families as well as those at imminent risk of homelessness. Additionally, five full-time Hudson River Housing staff members, two of whom are veterans, are funded through this grant.
Since funding began in 2012, Hudson River Housing has served over 458 homeless or at-risk veteran families, exceeding targets. Services provided include outreach, housing location, counseling and rental assistance, financial planning, community resource links, employment assistance, transportation and other support needed to help veterans obtain and sustain housing. Additionally, many more veterans have received referral and other more limited assistance.

“Additionally disappointing is the only three week notice we received that this funding, after five years, would be completely eliminated. It also unfortunately magnifies the impact this action will have on those veterans we are currently serving and those who will need help in the future," said Hines. 

“However, we are determined not to let this inexplicable decision reverse the progress we have made as a county. In the coming days and weeks, we will be calling on our local elected officials, sustaining partners, and every Dutchess County resident to help us ensure we can continue to tell veterans that we are here when and if they need us. This is a significant and unprecedented challenge for our organization, but one I am hopeful we can meet," continued Hines. “I would also like to thank our Congressional Representatives, John Faso and Sean Patrick Maloney, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, NYS Senator Sue Serino and County Executive Marc Molinaro for their immediate action on our behalf after we received this news. It underscores how deep our regional commitment to our veterans is and is something Dutchess County should be proud of in the face of this devastating news.

Hudson River Housing has 30 open cases of homeless veterans, with an additional 10 new case on average each month. The cessation of this funding beginning October 1 will cause an immediate and serious impact on existing clients and any new veteran that needs assistance in Dutchess County.

Along with county, state, and federal partners, Hudson River Housing has been leading the effort over the last five years to ensure that no veteran who needs housing assistance here in Dutchess goes un-served. Its success at making certain any incident of veteran homelessness is brief, rare, and non-recurring has been recognized by the U.S. Interagency on Homelessness.

 

Hudson River Housing Announces New Executive Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 4, 2017

Christa Hines

Poughkeepsie, N.Y. - Hudson River Housing's Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Christa Hines as the agency's new Executive Director, effective immediately.

Ms. Hines’ career with the agency spans nearly twenty years, most recently as Associate Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer. She brings to the position a passion to provide quality affordable housing to communities and compassionate services to those in need, along with a deep knowledge of finance and real estate development. Ms. Hines joined Hudson River Housing as Senior Accountant in 1998. Prior to joining Hudson River Housing, Ms. Hines held the position of Financial Manager for Dutchess County Child Development Council, Inc. She has also worked as a senior accountant with Sperry, Cuono, Holgate and Churchill, CPAs in Kingston, New York.

"I'm thrilled to be chosen as Executive Director for Hudson River Housing, an organization that I have been committed to for nearly two decades," says Ms. Hines. "I'm looking forward to guiding the organization through the next years of its development as we continue to grow in exciting ways that help us better serve our community."

Ms. Hines has deep roots in the Hudson Valley as a life-long resident of Rhinebeck, NY. She attended Binghamton University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance.

 

Hudson River Housing Celebrates Opening of the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30, 2017

Contact: Elizabeth Celaya

Poughkeepsie, New York - Hudson River Housing has completed its nearly $7 million renovation of the historic Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory. The long-vacant structure is now home to 15 apartments and 7,000 sq. feet of commercial space. Hundreds joined the agency for a Grand Opening Celebration and open house on Thursday, March 30th.

The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory is the adaptive re-use of a historic mill building in the heart of Poughkeepsie’s Middle Main neighborhood. After decades of decline, Hudson River Housing has brought the building back to life as a dynamic hub of commercial, community, and residential space. It features 15 affordable and market rate apartments, a shared use commercial kitchen, a coffee roaster and coffee house, and multi-purpose arts spaces.

The Grand Opening Celebration included tours of the building, refreshments in the new Poughkeepsie Open Kitchen, coffee from North River Roasters, studio visits with resident artists, on-demand screen printing of commemorative t-shirts, information on Spark Media Project/Mill Street Loft arts programs, and more. Speakers include representatives from Hudson River Housing; Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro; City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison; Meghan Taylor, Director of Empire State Development Mid-Hudson Region; and Joanie Straussman, Regional Director for NeighborWorks America.

According to City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison, "The City has been looking forward to this for several years. This building has already - and now will continue to - have a lasting positive impact not only on the upper end of Main St. but throughout the City as a whole. My congratulations to Hudson River Housing for making this into a reality."

The redevelopment of the factory is the anchor project in Hudson River Housing's work to revitalize the Main Street corridor as part of its Middle Main Initiative.  Since 2009 the agency has worked to create a strong, vibrant, and creative neighborhood in the heart of Poughkeepsie by engaging with residents and businesses, implementing neighborhood branding projects, and creating countless community partnerships.

"With this building, we take one big step forward to restoring the economic engine that is Main Street and supporting the residents, entrepreneurs, artists, and all who share a vison of a strong future for Poughkeepsie," stated Elizabeth Celaya, Hudson River Housing's director of organizational and community development.

Hudson River Housing is proud to steward the historic building into its next phase. The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory property was built in 1874 as William S. Patten's Poughkeepsie Live Oak Leather Manufactury, and shortly thereafter became the Dutchess Manufacturing Company. By 1895 it was William Paulding's Cooperage.  In 1899 the Queen Undermuslin Company was incorporated, and in 1904 it moved from a location on Mill Street into this building. The building was remodeled to accommodate the unique offerings of Queen Undermuslins, and was highly regarded as a building entirely run on electricity: "One of the lightest, most sanitary, and most up-to-date factories in the city," according to a 1911 Poughkeepsie Eagle article.

The company produced 60,000 garments annually, exclusively for women and children. They were of a very high quality, winning top prize at the Galveston Cotton Carnival and Exposition. The owners of the factory, Robert Stuart and JC MacLean, were certainly progressive employers. Records show them as successful inventors and businessmen, "whose first interest is the promotion of the business, but next to that is the improving of the working conditions of the employees."  All employees were women and they were involved in resolving business disputes. The grounds were lauded for their beautiful condition, included a perfectly manicured privet hedge, a large flower bed at the front of the site, and even a tennis court for recreation for the employees!

Not much is known about the history of the building from the mid-20th century on. Later pictures show it as Central Press, but details have not yet been found about this operation. It was vacant by the 1990s. The building joined the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 as the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, forever cementing its place in history. 

The agency is currently soliciting applications for rental units in the building (income restrictions apply to eleven of the fifteen units) as well as from food producers interested in renting time at the shared use commercial kitchen. Those seeking more information should email underwearfactory@hudsonriverhousing.org or call (845) 337-0263. The coffee house, which will serve a selection of North River Roasters coffees and locally made baked goods, and will provide employment training to local residents, will open to the public on May 15th.

 

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Contact

Elizabeth Celaya

Director of Organizational & Community Development
ecelaya@hudsonriverhousing.org
(845) 454-5176 - Office

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