Where there once was pizza, there now will be apartments.
Volunteers of America Upstate New York will transform the vacant first-floor space of Cooper Union at 119 State St. into seven supportive housing units for homeless individuals.
The upper floors of the building already house 44 apartments, which VOA created with a $2.9 million grant from New York state in 2008.
The nonprofit agency, with assistance from Hanlon Architects and Hamilton Stern Construction, will use a $1.25 million capital grant from the state and another $60,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation to build the new studio units. The space once was occupied by The Pizza Stop, which moved three doors down the street.
VOA’s Cooper Union is a permanent supportive housing program for homeless and chronically homeless individuals. The program provides housing and on-site support services to help residents address health concerns, strengthen their self-reliance and improve their well-being.
“There continues to be a need for affordable housing, especially with onsite services,” said Lynn Sullivan, president and CEO of Volunteers of American Upstate New York. “In our experience, when support services are provided in concert with affordable housing, people enjoy stable, healthier and more self-reliant lives.”
Homeless veterans will be given priority for the new units. Residents will pay no more than 30 percent of their income, but some may pay no rent because they have no income, officials said.
The goal is to guide residents to stability and, when possible, independence. The average stay for residents at Cooper Union is three years, but some tenants have been at the facility since the units were completed in 2010, Sullivan said.
“Some people do need this level of support for their whole life,” she said.
Construction will begin in the summer and residents are expected to move in by early 2021.
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