Albany County receives $1.4M grant expanding housing and mental health services – troyrecord

ALBANY, NY — Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy announced that the county has been awarded $1,389,890 in grant funding by New York State Homes and Community Renewal to expand housing opportunities and mental health support.

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) CARES funding will provide $1 million for the Albany County Land Bank for affordable homeownership opportunities in Albany’s South End and $389,890 to enhance mental health services for those most impacted by COVID-19.

“Today’s announcement is great news for Albany County and particularly for the communities in the County that have been hardest hit by COVID-19,” McCoy said.

“We need to take on the issues of mental health and affordable housing head-on and New York state is a great partner in that effort. I want to thank Governor Hochul and NYSHCR Commissioner Visnauskas for this crucial financial support that will help us continue to recover from the pandemic and promote equity in Albany County,” McCoy continued.

The Housing funding will be directed to the Albany County Land Bank to fully rehabilitate three two-unit residential buildings located in the South End neighborhood of Albany into affordable homeownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers. The buildings — located at 45 Second Avenue, 48 Second Avenue, and 50 Second Avenue — are owned by the Albany County Land Bank and were acquired from Albany County through tax foreclosure.

Once fully rehabilitated, the Albany County Land Bank will market each of the properties for sale, with the goal of serving members of underserved and vulnerable low-to-moderate income populations that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. The Land Bank will seek to pair qualified buyers with available financial and educational resources designed to help more low-income families and individuals achieve the dream of homeownership.

“This grant is another important and welcomed addition to our ongoing efforts to reverse the tremendous and disproportionate harm that decades of discriminatory policies and practices have caused to historically redlined neighborhoods and their residents,” Adam Zaranko, executive director of the Albany County Land Bank remarked. .

“With this grant we will be able to finally stop the harms imposed by these vacant buildings and transform them into affordable homes that will create stability for both the occupants and the surrounding neighborhood. We thank the State of New York, the Albany County Executive and Albany County Legislature for their continued partnership as we collectively work together to help our communities recover from the pandemic,” Zaranko explained.

The mental health funding will support four programs to bolster the mental health system in Albany County. The County’s Department of Mental Health serves many of the most vulnerable populations in the County who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

The programs include:

  • A dedicated social worker and peer advocate to work with individuals who have high needs or are high users of emergency services;
    • A case manager to increase client engagement for the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program;
    • Expanded mental health support in the County’s rural communities; and
    • Additional support for the County’s alternative mental health-related crisis response team (known as ACCORD).

“This Community Development Block Grant Cares Act funding will be instrumental in continuing our efforts to make our neighborhoods a place where all residents can live and thrive. We are always looking for opportunities to invest in Albany County, especially when it comes to increasing homeownership rates and creating comprehensive, strategic plans for addressing mental health. The Albany County Legislature looks forward to building stronger and more resilient communities, and seeing the impact of this funding,” Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce stated.

“Investment in housing stock is vital to the revitalization of our neighborhoods. Second Ave is a major thoroughfare in the historic South End of the City of Albany. It deserves the attention these funds will bring to a community that has been marginalized for decades. The County Executive is right to look this way in an attempt to provide access to quality, affordable housing to current and future residents. This is an investment in the sustainability of a historic community. I expect this investment to serve as a catalyst to generate further personal and business investment in this deserving neighborhood,” Albany County Legislator Carolyn McLaughlin noted.

“I’m grateful to the County Executive for providing funding in the fight against blight as well as key investments in innovative mental health programs like LEAD and ACCORD,” Albany County Legislator Matthew Peter commented.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues on creating systematic change to invest in traditionally underserved communities and to properly fund mental health services,” Peter added.

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