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With American Rescue Plan Funds, Construction On Binghamton Affordable Housing Projects Begins

VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — Construction to restore several vacant and blighted buildings on Binghamton’s North Side began Tuesday.

The construction cost is covered, at least in part, by funds allocated to the city through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The properties will be turned into a combined 27 apartments for people currently experiencing homelessness.

Greater Opportunities for Broome and Chenango will provide supportive case management services to residents at four sites across the neighborhood: 39-49 Munsell St., 25 Moffatt Ave., 22 Way St. and 4 Sturges St.

Kelly Robertson, Deputy Director of Greater Opportunities for Broome and Chenango, said any household experiencing homelessness will be eligible to live there, no matter their income.

“If a client can pay, they will pay up to 40 percent of their income,” Robertson explained. “So if that’s $200, that’s all they will pay and the subsidy will pick up the rest. The only qualification is that they have to be homeless at the time of entry.”

A grant from New York’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative will subsidize rent at all four sites.

City officials announced last month at least $6 million dollars of the $46 million allotted to the city through ARPA will go to housing.

The North Side Rehabilitation Project is one of two housing projects that has received ARPA funding from the city so far, the other being the second phase of the First Ward Action Council’s North of Main Revitalization (NoMa) project.

Mayor Rich David said the North Side project was identified after it experienced funding gaps due to an increase in the cost of construction materials.

“I certainly am working on other projects where I envision allocating a portion of that funding for, but the concept that just because we allocated $6 million that we have, like, a list of $6 million worth of projects, we do not,” Binghamton Mayor Rich David said.

David said he will ask non-profits and individual community members to propose ideas for the remaining portion.

City officials obligated approximately $258,000 to the North Side Rehabilitation Project, and another $355,000 for the housing initiative North of Main. The First Ward Action Council will use the funds to create 23 affordable units by renovating six blighted properties and constructing a four-unit building on a vacant lot.

During a virtual town hall held by Democratic members of the Binghamton City Council in May, attendees indicated they want ARPA funds to go to more affordable and safe housing, as well as youth programs and direct financial assistance

Robertson said Greater Opportunities of Broome and Chenango will work with the Southern Tier Homeless Coalition to identify eligible residents for its apartments through the coordinated entry system, which tracks homelessness across six counties in the Southern Tier, as well as availability in shelters, emergency housing and more permanent solutions.

Services through Greater Opportunities will be available to residents to address mental health and substance use, among other needs, so that residents can effectively stay in their homes permanently.

Robertson said she expects all units will be open within two years.