Governor Hochul Announces Start of Construction on 56-Unit Senior Housing Development in White Plains

Government and Politics

April 12, 2024

From: New York Governor Kathy Hochul

Governor Kathy Hochul on April 12th, announced that construction has begun on a $40 million affordable housing development for seniors in the city of White Plains. Mt. Hope Plaza will feature 56 affordable apartments, including 20 for individuals in need of supportive services. The development is located on an underutilized property formerly owned by the Mt. Hope A.M.E Zion Church, which agreed to make the land available for affordable housing.

“It’s vital that our efforts to combat the housing crisis include the types of investments that allow our seniors to live independently in the communities of their choice,” Governor Hochul said. “Thanks to our strong partnership with faith-based groups across the state, we are working together to ensure more New Yorkers have access to a safe and secure place to live, and are provided with the services they need to thrive.”

In the last five years, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has created or preserved more than 4,300 affordable homes in Westchester County. Mt. Hope Plaza continues this effort and is part of Governor Hochul's $25 billion comprehensive Housing Plan that will create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes across New York, including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations, plus the electrification of an additional 50,000 homes.

The six-story Mt. Hope Plaza apartment building will be constructed on a parcel adjacent to Mt. Hope A.M.E Zion Church, and all 56 units are reserved for adults aged 62 and older who earn at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. There will be 20 units for seniors experiencing homelessness supported by services and operating funding through an Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative award administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health. The supportive service provider is Community Housing Innovations, Inc.

Mt. Hope Plaza is participating in the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s New Construction – Housing Program and is expected to achieve ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction v1.1 Certification as well as meet Enterprise Green Communities 2015 Criteria. The building is designed to be all-electric and solar-ready.

Residential amenities will include a green roof, a community room, central laundry room, and free internet to the residents with at least one wired connection in each apartment. The development will include a structured parking garage with 72 spaces, of which 47 will be shared with the church.

State financing for the development includes $18.8 million in Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and $8 million in subsidy from HCR. OMH is providing $500,000 annually in operating funding for the 20 supportive housing units through the ESSHI program, as well as a program development grant of $188,000 to cover start-up expenses. NYSERDA is providing $196,000. Westchester County purchased the property for $2.1 million from the New Homes Land Acquisition fund and is providing $2.8 million from the Housing Investment Fund. Mt. Hope A.M.E Zion Church is providing $1 million, and the city of White Plains is contributing $400,000. Additional financing is being provided by Webster Bank. The project’s developers are the Mt. Hope Community Development Corporation and Community Housing Innovations, Inc.

Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, we are working closely with New York’s faith-based community to identify opportunities for collaboration that will help produce the quality homes that New Yorkers need and deserve. Thanks to our partnership with Mt. Hope A.M.E. Zion Church and Community Housing Innovations, this $40 million development will provide 56 urgently-needed affordable homes for seniors in a modern, all-electric building. New York needs more developments like this one that offer our seniors the opportunity to remain in the communities they know and love.”

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, New York State is prioritizing investments in projects that ensure a high-quality of life for residents, especially our most vulnerable populations, while moving us closer to meeting our climate goals. When completed, this all-electric and solar-ready building will demonstrate how healthier, affordable living spaces through weatherization and energy efficient features can enhance communities and help reduce harmful emissions for generations of New Yorkers to come.”

Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “Mt. Hope Plaza is a great example of what can be achieved when state and local governments partner with healthcare providers, advocates and other stakeholders for the benefit of the local community. In addition to being a beautiful addition to the neighborhood, Mt Hope Plaza will provide safe and stable homes with supportive services that will allow people with mental illness to live successfully in their own community. OMH is very proud to be a partner in this wonderful new development.”

State Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, "I am so pleased to celebrate the groundbreaking of Mt. Hope Plaza, a true victory for this Church and for the seniors of our community in White Plains. The 56 new affordable units that will be built here will be life changing for all who live in them, both seniors and those who will use the supportive services that will be provided. I cannot overstate my appreciation for the steadfast determination of Mt Hope AME Zion Church and Rev. Dr. Gregory Robeson Smith for getting to this day. Thank you to Governor Kathy Hochul and all the New York State partners who helped make this wonderful development happen."

Assemblymember Chris Burdick said, "The groundbreaking marks the beginning of a remarkable chapter for the Church and a terrific development for the City of White Plains. The need for affordable housing has never been greater and the need for supportive housing also has never been greater. Congratulations Rev. Dr. Gregory Robeson Smith for his outstanding leadership in making this happen."

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “We are thrilled to finally be breaking ground on Mt. Hope Plaza in White Plains, which took years of working cooperatively with local religious institutions, housing advocates and key community members. Westchester County played a pivotal role in shepherding this project through the early stages of the development process, and I want to thank Governor Kathy Hochul for seeing Mt. Hope Plaza through to fruition. This six-story facility will create 56 affordable apartments, including 20 for individuals in need of support services, with shopping, restaurants and mass transit just a mile away.”

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said, "In White Plains, we demonstrate our commitment to affordable housing through our zoning and land use policies and our affordable housing program. This project is a great example of how that commitment makes a difference. The funds contributed by the City to the all-affordable project came from developers not the taxpayer. It has been a long journey and we were fortunate to have shared the journey with Rev. Dr. Gregory Robeson Smith and Mount Hope A.M.E Zion congregation. Their commitment to serving the community and perseverance in keeping the project going through thick and thin has brought us to this happy day and will make a real impact on many lives in the years to come."

Mt. Hope A.M.E Zion Church Senior Pastor Dr. Gregory Robeson Smith said, “Our seniors are the crown jewels of the community with the greatest need for affordable adequate living accommodations. Unfortunately, they are most forgotten. Our mission is without question to minimize and or eliminate this atrocious situation. Mt Hope Plaza design will provide a comfortable living space during their maturing golden years.”

Community Housing Innovations Chief Executive Officer Ron Abad said, “We are so proud of this partnership to provide an affordable home for seniors. Affordable housing for all New Yorkers, particularly our seniors, is vital to the prosperity and development of our community.”