A look at Catholic Charities' affordable housing project in Cortland

CORTLAND, N.Y. – If all goes according to plan, construction on an affordable mixed-housing project in the city of Cortland will begin by November.

The planned two-story building on Riverview Avenue will include 39 apartments, with a mix of 1 and 2 bedroom units.

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The proposed building on Riverview Avenue (Holmes, King, Kallquist & Associates, Architects)

The project from Catholic Charities of Cortland County is seen as a positive step toward fulfilling the city's need for affordable housing.

“I think the need for affordable housing in the county is vast,” says Marie Walsh, executive director of Catholic Charities of Cortland County.

“There’s just an inadequate supply, particularly in the city and in some of the rural areas as well…people come to us every day looking for housing.”

About 20 of the apartments will be reserved for people with mental health problems, Walsh said.

The organization is partnering with Syracuse-based Christopher Communities, a nonprofit development company that will develop and manage the complex.

The project’s future hinged on getting funding from the New York State Office of Mental Health Services and the state Department of Homes and Community Renewal. Earlier this month, those agencies awarded $7.5 million towards the project.

Some of that funding will be used to provide mental health services in the complex, Walsh said, alleviating some of the concerns of city residents.

“There have been projects in the past where buildings were restored and there was nobody there to monitor [the residents],” she said.

Walsh also emphasized that while there are some income guidelines, it is not low-income, subsidized housing.

“Anybody can live there,” she said.


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