Renovation Project Preserves Housing for the Homeless
Thanks to the funding and support of the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Homeless Housing Assistance Corporation, and the Federal Home Loan Bank, OCO was able to repair and restore an apartment building that provides safe, affordable, permanent supportive housing for individuals and families who would otherwise be homeless.
The building, located on the corner of Route 481 and Oneida Street, houses OCO’s Backstreet Apartments. There are six apartments on the building’s second and third floors: one studio apartment, two 1-bedroom apartments, two 2-bedroom apartments, and one 3-bedroom apartment. These units were created by OCO in 2006 from a shell that was once a hotel but had been vacant and run-down for many years. In recent years the building’s exterior deteriorated from decades of exposure to rain and snow, and the apartments were no longer energy-efficient.
This renovation project has remedied those issues, and turned a crumbling exterior into an attractive and functional façade built to withstand our toughest rain and snow storms! New insulated windows and new HVAC and bathroom ventilation systems will improve energy efficiency and keep our residents more comfortable year-round. Finishing touches included new thermostats, interior painting, and enlarged window areas.
Safe, affordable housing that is close to community services is sorely needed throughout Oswego County. A person needs to earn $15.71 per hour and work full time in order to afford the fair market rate for a two bedroom apartment, but the estimated average wage for renters is only $11.53 per hour. This forces those with low incomes to accept substandard housing or resort to living with friends and relatives until they wear out their welcome and most to another home, where the cycle repeats itself.
Without a stable address you can’t get a job, buy car insurance, or open a bank account. Your kids won’t do well academically because they’re always moving from school to school. Everyone’s health suffers from lack of adequate rest and regular meals. And there are no homeless shelters in Oswego County to tide a family in crisis over until proper housing can be found.
That’s why preserving the Backstreet Apartments is so important. These residents have a place to call home! They receive a hand up to develop job skills, get their children enrolled in school, improve their physical, mental and emotional health, and become part of the community in which they live.