Beacon Rental Project Gets $1.6M Grant

Among projects funded by Dutchess Housing Trust

Dutchess County this week awarded $8.9 million to six affordable rental housing developments, including nearly $1.6 million for a project at Main and Cross streets in Beacon. 

The grants were awarded by the Dutchess Housing Trust Fund with the goal of eventually creating more than 600 affordable units, the county said in a release on Tuesday (March 28). Once constructed, the rental units will be available to households making between 30 percent and 80 percent of the county’s median income.

A year ago, a Dutchess housing assessment painted a grim picture: home prices rising faster than inflation; more than half of renters spending more than 30 percent of income on housing; and a growing disparity between what wealthy and low-income households earn.

The study identified renters earning less than $50,000 annually as facing the greatest crunch, while recommending a “fair share” approach that would require each municipality to add affordable housing on a per-capita basis.

It suggested that Beacon add five new affordable units annually for 20 years.

The Housing Trust grant in Beacon is allocated for 2 Cross St., a development that has undergone various changes since it was conceived and looks to evolve further to comply with trust requirements. 

In a proposal submitted to the Planning Board in late 2019, developer Joe Donovan said he wanted to integrate the existing building at 172 Main St., a brick building at 4 Cross St. and an empty lot between the two. After the pandemic shutdown ended, Donovan returned to the Planning Board, proposing a three-story building with street-level retail space and 18 apartments split between market-rate and below-market-rate units for seniors. 

The city approved those plans in October, but Donovan said this week that higher interest rates and construction costs have made the 50-50 apartment split unfeasible.

He said that, along with the Housing Trust funds, he will need state money to continue with the project, now envisioned with all 18 apartments being affordable housing. He hopes to bring a revised site plan to the Planning Board soon so that construction can start before year-end. [Update: On April 5, Dutchess County announced that it would send $199,000 in federal funds toward the construction at 2 Cross St. of two of its nine units of affordable housing designated for seniors.]

The revised application will be limited to changes in the configuration and location of parking, he said. Nine of the affordable apartments will be for seniors; the others will meet state and county affordability standards. 

City Council Member Wren Longno, who was part of a committee that reviewed the housing needs assessment, said Beacon still needs more affordable units.

“We have a community deeply motivated by human services” such as “supportive housing for special-needs populations like domestic violence survivors and people living with disabilities,” she said. Solutions could include “inclusionary zoning” (which could provide incentives for developers), more public housing and using city-owned properties to create units.

2 thoughts on “Beacon Rental Project Gets $1.6M Grant

  1. Does anyone wonder why New York State keeps giving low-interest or forgivable loans to developers to build “affordable” apartments? How much in monthly rent do they think is affordable: $1,500 for a one-bedroom, or is it $2,000?

    Why don’t they give low-income citizens grants to buy those apartments? They have probably been paying $1,200 a month, or more, for 10 to 20 years, but they still have no credit? They sure don’t have $20,000 or $30,000 for a down payment. That money keeps going to the top, and the problem never gets solved.

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