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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.