The Gateway Lofts

Giving A Hand Up By First Providing a Home

A Collaborative project of Community Helping Hands (CHH), Southern Tier Environments for LIving (STEL) and the YWCA in JAMESTOWN NY

About the Gateway Lofts


A multi-family housing complex unlike others, providing residents on-site services and support by community service organizations and non-profits, ,located at 31 Water Street, Jamestown, NY. This project will utilize the 100,000+ of undeveloped space at the Gateway Center, the former Chautauqua Hardware factory. It will revitalize  the neighborhood around Jamestown’s medical corridor, by redeveloping a riverfront property and adding to the Chadakoin Riverwalk.  Remediation of the environmental contamination at this historic industrial relic will allow for its use for years to come.  The Project will also incorporate  energy efficiency and solar panels on the roof.  The focus of the project, however, is the people that it will help.  It is in close proximity to wrap around services (Mental Health Association, Community Helping Hands, St. Susan's Center) health care, schools, youth programs (Boys & Girls Club, YMCA), Child-care, and government agencies, providing the best possible foundation to reduce poverty, address homelessness, overcome mental health & substance abuse barriers for individuals and families.

THIS INNOVATIVE PROJECT INCLUDES:
  • Permanent, Supportive Housing for Various Populations, including homeless individuals and families, as well as youth aging out of foster care: Includes supportive services and staff. Funded by ESSHI.
  • Quality, Affordable Housing for the income-eligible. 
  • Upgrades to the entire facility and site: Upgrade and rehab to first floor non-profit space, including upgrades to parking lot, roof, flooring, general services, HVAC, lighting, playground space for residents, green space along the river.
The important benefits to all the stakeholders (the City of Jamestown, Gateway organizations, people in need of help) cannot be overstated. They include:

  • $85,000 in additional annual real estate taxes to the city
  • The project not only will prevent blight at the project site through revitalization of the Gateway Center, but will also fund the demolitions of numerous substandard dwelling units elsewhere in the city in cooperation with the Chautauqua County Land Bank and/or create a fund for rehabilitating existing housing. We are committed to working with the City of Jamestown Department of Development to create a reasonable and mutually beneficial housing mitigation plan.
  • $3 million in environmental clean up to the site and waterways, already accepted into the DEC Brownfield Clean Up program.  
  • Adaptive re-use of an existing building designated as a historic site
  • Improvement and beautification of the River Walk.
  • 56 units reserved for the homeless, including funding secured for support staff and case management.
  • A significant percentage of units reserved for youth aging out of the foster care system, those with a mental health diagnosis or substance use disorder - funding secured to provide support staff and services.
  • Elementary school aged children who live in the building will receive bus transportation to Fletcher Elementary School.
  • Significant greenspace (over 11,000 square feet) and enhanced playground amenities 
  • Proximity to medical care (the Chautauqua Center and UPMC)  and other services/programs (Boys & Girls Club)
  • QUALITY, affordable housing for families that need a stable foundation to find work, help their children do well in school and address other challenges and barriers
  • A $36 million project -- economic development in terms of jobs, other vendors and services utilized during construction. No city or county money used. This money will go somewhere in NYS (usually downstate), this would be an investment in WNY
  • The project will provide significant additional income annually to St. Susan’s to support its soup kitchen operations and expanded capacity, as well as funding to the YWCA to continue its supportive services and case management to families in need of housing.




Frequently Asked Questions


THE GATEWAY LOFTS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The purpose of this document is to offer a straightforward way of answering community questions about the Gateway Lofts, and to correct any misinformation that may be present.

Q. Why does this project cost $36 million dollars? Wouldn’t it be better to use the money to fix up existing properties in need of repair?
  • The $36 million is mostly state and federal funding. It will be spent on affordable housing somewhere in NYS, and most of this funding tends to go downstate, so it would be a “win” for Western NY to bring this kind of economic development project here to Jamestown. "Fixing up" existing housing, to the standards required by the funding agency, would be far more expensive, on a per unit basis than this project is. It would be so expensive as to be considered infeasible by the funding agency.

Q. Isn’t there too much affordable housing in Jamestown?
  • In short, no. An April 2017 market study done by a third party (GAR Associates) as required for project funding documented an extremely high need for quality, safe affordable housing.  The Gateway Lofts will also include permanent, supportive housing, and services like case management, counselors and other support staff.  
  • A May 2017 City of Jamestown “Poverty Reduction Initiative Needs Assessment” commissioned by the City and the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County supports the above and  concludes, among other things, that "[h]ousing is problematic for low-income residents, as the cost of renting is very high and quality affordable housing is scarce." (pp. 32-22).
  • The City also commissioned a 2015 study by CNY Fair Housing entitled “Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing: Jamestown, NY” which addresses the City’s obligation as a Block Grantee to “affirmatively further fair housing.”  The City's 2015 AFFH study concludes, among other things, that affordable housing choices for families is limited, and recommends that the City work to support subsidized housing developers that are building quality, low-income housing, and to develop better coordination and improved service delivery among subsidized housing providers. Id., p. 12.
  • In fact, the City's need (if not obligation) to address the scarcity of quality affordable housing is underscored by the City's FY 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan & FY 2015 Annual Action Plan (2015-2019 Plan) compiled by the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency. The 2015-2019 Plan establishes a unified vision for community development actions as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for funding through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs. The goals of the 2015-2019 Plan include, among others, increasing the supply of affordable housing, increasing access to quality public and private facilities, increasing services for persons with special needs, the provision of public services concerned with employment and restoring and preserving properties of special historic, architectural, or aesthetic value. Id. at pp. 1 – 2. It is difficult to imagine a project better suited to advance all of these objectives than the Gateway Lofts proposal.

Q. Will it be safe? Aren’t there potential security issues with the population that may reside there?
  • The Gateway Lofts will be staffed 24/7, with security cameras and systems all over the outside and inside of the building. The presence of support staff and services makes the likelihood of security threats unlikely.

Q. Exactly how many people will be living at the Gateway Lofts?
  • If every single unit were to be filled at the maximum level, it would be no more than 296. The more likely scenario is around 200. See chart below:

GATEWAY POTENTIAL TENANT LOAD

Apartment Size

Units

Minimum Occupancy

Maximum Likely Occupancy, based upon tax credit averages

Maximum if 100% of the units were at 100% permitted occupancy

Studio

4

4

4

4

Limited to one per unit as special needs

One Bed- special needs

44

44

44

44

Limited to one per unit as special needs

One Bed-open

27

27

40.5

54




Two Bed

21

42

63

126




Three Bed

14

42

63

84




Total Tenants

110

151

204

296

Includes a typical 5% vacancy rate

Scenario #


1

2

3












Note: Scenario # 3 has never happened in any project STEL has ever built in more than 20 years. Scenario # 2 is only likely at initial rent up. This is because, by tax credit rules, when a two person household becomes a one person household, due to a family member moving out, the one person household can stay in the two bed apartment until a one bed unit becomes available. Which typically takes a long time in an affordable housing building. The same rules apply to three bedroom units with less than three occupants. So we always have less people in the building than is show in Scenario # 2, except at initial rent up.





Q. Isn’t this an over-concentration of poverty? “Warehousing” poverty in one space?
  • Not only are these units extremely high quality and large size, but it is estimated that around half of the families and individuals will most likely be working families. The location of the Gateway Center also provides access to key services, alleviating the need for transportation (a huge barrier to overcoming poverty in our community). It has also been shown that one of the most important factors to overcoming poverty is safe and stable housing. This allows a foundation for finding work, helping children find academic success in school and dealing with mental health and substance use disorder.

Q. What are the income levels for the residents who will be living at the Gateway Lofts? Is this going to a lot of people on public assistance living in one place?
  • The Gateway Lofts will be a mix of working families, people in need of permanent, supportive housing, and individuals who are on some kind of government assistance and not working. See below for maximum income allowed by bedroom size. As you can see, you could have a household earning as much as $40,000 per year and still qualify to live at the Gateway Lofts:

MAXIMUM INCOME LEVELS PER SIZE APARTMENT

Studio

655 sq ft

$27,060


One Bed

730 sq ft

$28,980


Two Bed

870 sq ft

$34,740


Three Bed

970 sq ft

$40,140





Q. How is this housing project different than other ones already in existence in the City that have reputations of being unsafe or undesirable places to live?
  • It’s important to note two important distinctions between other housing units in Jamestown and this project. One is that the Gateway Lofts project includes significant case management and supportive services as a key part of what is offered. This means support staff that helps residents navigate services, provides substance abuse recovery counseling, and also helps connect to other rehabilitation services. It also means 24/7 staffing at the Gateway Lofts. This is very different than other affordable housing projects in existence in Jamestown, in which none of these support measures and safeguards  exists. STEL’s management of the Gateway Lofts will provide the quality and professionalism that epitomizes its many other successful facilities.  STEL manages similar units in Dunkirk, Olean, Buffalo (Evergreen Lofts - 56 units) and Rochester (113 units) and has a stellar reputation for doing so. The other significant difference is that, unlike certain HUD projects, a tax-credit funded project like the Gateway Lofts provides apartments that are larger, higher quality and subject to standards of upkeep and maintenance and annual inspections in order to avoid significant penalties.

Q. Isn’t it unwise and potentially unsafe to intermix all these different populations?
  • Actually, it is well understood among housing authorities, policy researchers and sociologists that an integrated and mixed approach to housing is best practice. In fact, state agencies that fund projects require integrated housing.  This is because it is stigmatizing and counter-productive to recovery to segregate people with special needs such as homelessness or mental illness from the general public. It is also unnecessary, as direct service providers will agree that these vulnerable people present no greater danger to the community than the average person off the street, particularly given the supervision and support that the Gateway Lofts will provide. In addition, families living in close proximity to persons with disabilities fosters a healthy awareness and attitude that is mutually beneficial to all concerned.

Q. Hasn’t there been significant opposition to the project?
  • Although no project enjoys 100% support, the Gateway Lofts has had overwhelming support in the community. There was a public hearing held in September 2018 and the overwhelming majority of individuals that spoke were in favor of the project. The project has also received letters of support from the following: State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell; Former County Executive George Borrello; Former State Senator Catherine Young; Mark Geise, IDA / Economic Development; Lori Cornell (Governor’s Office); Chautauqua Opportunities; Chautauqua  County Homeless Coalition; Office of Probation; UCAN City Mission; Sheriff Jim Quattrone; Christine Schuyler, Commissioner of Chautauqua County Health & Human Services; Congressman Tom Reed; and Former Sheriff Joe Gerace.

Q. Why is Community Helping Hands Involved in this project?
  • The mission of Community Helping Hands (CHH) is to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of people as we show the love of Christ to empower people to help themselves and others--in short, to give “a hand up.” Currently, CHH meets emergency needs for clothing and household items through its thrift store, provides opportunities for workforce development and has a significant outreach to the Hispanic population in Jamestown. Since 2001, the leadership at CHH has felt strongly there was a God-given vision to provide housing to those in need. Many of the clients of CHH, volunteers and Work Experience Participants struggle to find affordable, safe, and quality housing in our community. It is their stories that are the driving force behind CHH’s desire to partner in this project by transforming the building at 31 Water Street iinto a service-rich place to live and grow.. CHH has always treated those in poverty with dignity and respect, valued their voices and experiences; the Gateway Lofts are the next iteration of that mission, “to give a hand up by first providing a home.”

Q. What is STEL’s experience developing and also managing projects like these, i.e., tax-credit funded housing (both permanent, supportive as well as affordable housing)?
  • STEL is a 501(c)(3) non profit housing developer and has been building housing for low income and special needs persons and families since 1997. In that time STEL has developed more than 750 residential housing apartments. All of STEL’s buildings have at least 30% of the units set aside for persons with special needs. All have long waiting lists to become a resident. STEL's projects are concentrated in Chautauqua County, Buffalo and Rochester but also include buildings in Olean, Ithaca, Long Island and New York City.

  • STEL is currently under construction on a 49 unit, 25 site, scattered site in-fill housing project in the City of Dunkirk. STEL obtained vacant lots and abandoned houses, some from the Chautauqua County Land Bank, and built new single family homes and townhouse style homes in their place. This project would not have been possible without the strong and very active support of Mayor Willie Rosas of Dunkirk. The Gateway off site mitigation plan is designed to be the first step in producing this type of project in the City of Jamestown. 

  • Two STEL projects that are similar to the proposed Gateway development are the Carriage Factory Special Needs apartments in Rochester and Evergreen Supportive Residences in Buffalo. Both were late 1800's factory buildings that have been converted to residential buildings. Carriage Factory has 68 apartments with 38 of those for persons with mental illness and the rest for low income families. Evergreen has 56 units with 28 units for persons with special needs and 28 for low income families. Both projects are, like Gateway, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Carriage factory also utilized Brownfield Tax Credits. The architect for the Gateway Lofts was also the architect for these two buildings. Below are pictures from the Evergreen Lofts project completed in Buffalo in partnership with Evergreen Health Services called The Evergreen Lofts. 

Why Support the Gateway Lofts


 Neighborhood Revitalization

The neighborhood in which the Gateway Center is centrally located in the city of Jamestown and is a catalyst for revitalizing the medical corridor neighborhood. It is also a Brownfield credit project that brings the site up to residential standards.

 Saves Taxpayers Money

Chautauqua County spends hundreds of thousands of dollars in vouchers to the Budget Inn due to a lack of options for housing. In 2017, the total was $375,000. Through May 2018, it was over $600,000! The Chautauqua County jail houses individuals with mental health and substance issues, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars even while unable to provide the services that would help them improve. More options for quality, affordable housing and permanent supportive housing would save the tax payers money and the $36 million invested in the Jamestown project come from federal and state (not city) funds.

 Meets a Critical Need for Affordable, Quality Housing

Affordable, QUALITY housing is a gap in our community, as market studies and anecdotal evidence have shown. There are no options for permanent, supportive housing in our community. Data from the Homeless Coalition shows that in From 2013 to 2017, 1030 Chautauqua County households were considered “homeless” (HUD definition). 43% were single female parents with children.In 2017 alone it was 783 households; In the first 6 months of 2018 (Jan-June), it was 804. The problem of quality, affordable housing is increasing and this data does not include individuals/families that “couch surfing” or are “at risk” of homelessness Many studies have shown that providing stable, quality and affordable housing first is a critical component to overcoming poverty, addiction, mental health barriers and achieving academic success.

 Reduces Poverty

Housing plays a critical role in providing stability to poor families. When families lack it, there are terrible consequences. Research shows that eviction can have enduring effects on families’ ability to obtain basic necessities (e.g., food, clothing, and medicine) and can cause depression among mothers, and a strong body of evidence links inadequate housing and homelessness to child abuse and neglect. Housing instability can lead to frequent school moves, high rates of absenteeism, and low test scores among children. Housing affects almost everything. Stable housing can strengthen parenting and support early childhood development. Urban Institute research shows that increasing access to housing vouchers to a targeted group of poor, rent-burdened households with children could reduce child poverty by as much as 21 percent (a bigger impact than we see by expanding transitional jobs, child support, the earned income tax credit, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or increasing the minimum wage). Housing isn’t a panacea—it will take a lot more to end poverty—but it’s a good place to start, and one that is supported by the evidence.

 Collaborative and Innovative Project

Multiple agencies across a variety of sectors are partnering to make the project a success and provide wrap-around, person-centered support. Not only is the collaborative location of the Gateway Center already innovative, but this project will be innovative in its energy efficiency practices (solar panels on the roof) AND be a workforce development site.

 Proximity to Wrap Around Services

The proximity to wrap-around services at the Gateway Center makes the success of the supportive housing viable and serves a variety of populations. These services include Community Helping Hands (Workforce Development; material housing and clothing needs); Mental Health Association (addiction, recovery and mental health support); St. Susan’s Soup Center (food), E2CC BOCES (GED and ESL programs). In addition, the Gateway Lofts are located in close proximity to the the hospital, other health care services, child care, the high school, governmental agencies, youth programs, grocery stores, pharmacies and banks. The proximity to services increases the possibility of success for those in poverty or with special needs for support.

Testimonials


 The Gateway Lofts projects is addressing several critical housing needs in the community. It is adding more quality affordable housing to the local housing market. Quality units that are both safe and affordable are proven to increase health and financial outcomes of families. The project is also addressing the need for more permanent supportive housing in the County and the City of Jamestown. For those with severe and persistent mental illness, permanent supportive housing provides a environment where people are stable as they work towards their long-term goals. National research has demonstrated that persons who are stabilized through permanent supportive housing are less likely to visit the emergency room and less likely to become incarcerated--this is good for people and good for the community."

Josiah Lamp, ChairpersonChautauqua County Homeless Coalition

 I was very impressed with the vision of the plan. This could be a remarkable advantage for people that are moving, through diversion, into housing. So I am very encouraged. It’s something that I’ve been looking at for a very long time."

Joe GeraceFormer Chautauqua County Sherriff

 This is a vital, collaborative effort that will transform a former industrial building into vitally-needed housing for individuals and families in transition. Safe, affordable housing is essential for those seeking to build better, stronger lives for themselves and their children. I was glad to be able to secure state funding for such a worthwhile project and look forward to the positive impact it will have for years to come."

Cathy YoungFormer New York State Senator

 I recently had the chance to tour the historic building and hear the vision for the Gateway Lofts project. This project will bring needed housing while enhancing and preserving the historical value of the Gateway building."

George BorrelloFormer Chautauqua County Executive

 As Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and Chief Executive Officer for the County of Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, I am tasked with developing a multi-faceted approach to economic development in our County. I believe that the Gateway Lofts Project is an important component as it pertains to the future of Jamestown and the County. It accomplishes this by satisfying a need in the community through the provision of a hub of social services at the Gateway Center, at a strategic location within the medical corridor. This area of the City was specifically identified in the Goody Clancy planning report, which was commissioned by the Gebbie Foundation in 2018, as a proper site for an undertaking of this nature."

Mark GeiseDeputy County Executive for Economic Development

 Other Supporter of the Gateway Lofts include: * Andrew Goodell, NYS Assembly * Christine Schuyler, Chautauqua County Commissioner of Social Services / Public Health Director"

Learn More


Gateway Lofts Project Approved By Jamestown Planning Commission

The Gateway Lofts in Jamestown, NY is an innovative and adaptive re-use project that will offer homeless families, children, and those struggling with substance abuse or mental health a place to receive supportive services -- but more importantly -- a place to call HOME

Read More  
PLAYGROUNDS, GREEN SPACE & RIVERFRONT REVITALIZATION

The Gateway Lofts in Jamestown, NY is an innovative and adaptive re-use project that will offer homeless families, children, and those struggling with substance abuse or mental health a place to receive supportive services -- but more importantly -- a place to call HOME.

Read More  
$36 MILLION INVESTED IN THE CITY OF JAMESTOWN

The Gateway Lofts in Jamestown, NY is an innovative and adaptive re-use project that will offer homeless families, children, and those struggling with substance abuse or mental health a place to receive supportive services -- but more importantly -- a place to call HOME

Read More  
INNOVATIVE REPURPOSING OF AN HISTORIC BUILDING

The Gateway Lofts in Jamestown, NY is an innovative and adaptive re-use project that will offer homeless families, children, and those struggling with substance abuse or mental health a place to receive supportive services -- but more importantly -- a place to call HOME.

Read More  
HELPING THE HOMELESS

The Gateway Lofts in Jamestown, NY is an innovative and adaptive re-use project that will offer homeless families, children, and those struggling with substance abuse or mental health a place to receive supportive services -- but more importantly -- a place to call HOME.

Read More  
TAX SAVINGS FOR JAMESTOWN RESIDENTS

The Gateway Lofts in Jamestown, NY is an innovative and adaptive re-use project that will offer homeless families, children, and those struggling with substance abuse or mental health a place to receive supportive services -- but more importantly -- a place to call HOME.

Read More  
THE BUILDING OF SECOND CHANCES

The Gateway Lofts in Jamestown, NY is an innovative and adaptive re-use project that will offer homeless families, children, and those struggling with substance abuse or mental health a place to receive supportive services -- but more importantly -- a place to call HOME

Read More  
THIS JAMESTOWN PROJECT TOOK FIGHTING POVERTY TO THE NEXT LEVEL. YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT

The Gateway Lofts in Jamestown, NY is an innovative and adaptive re-use project that will offer homeless families, children, and those struggling with substance abuse or mental health a place to receive supportive services -- but more importantly -- a place to call HOME.

Read More  
THE 'HOUSING FIRST' APPROACH TO ENDING HOMELESSNESS

What do you think would happen if you invited an individual with mental health issues who had been homeless for many years to move directly from the street into housing? Loyd Pendleton shares how he went from skeptic to believer in the Housing First approach to homelessness -- providing the displaced with short-term assistance to find permanent housing quickly and without conditions -- and how it led to a 91 percent reduction in chronic homelessness over a ten-year period in Utah.

Read More  

Contact Us


  • 31 Water Street, Jamestown, New York, United States