The Leviticus Fund is a New York-based regional community development financial intermediary (CDFI) that provides flexible capital to nonprofit organizations that create and preserve affordable, special needs and emergency housing, early education centers for children of low-income families, charter public schools, community health centers, healthy food access sites and other community facilities that improve neighborhoods and the lives of their low income residents.
New Supportive Housing Set For Long Island Site
A loan in October of 2015 from the Leviticus Fund secured the purchase of the last remaining land parcel needed for a new supportive housing project in Central Islip, New York.
The Adams Road project is the newest initiative of Mercy Haven, a Long Island-based human services agency serving the homeless. The project received $370,000 in financing from Leviticus and proposes 19 units of permanent, supportive housing within two buildings constructed across the three contiguous land parcels.
The first building will consist of 14, one-bedroom apartments for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. The facility will also include a community center for training and life skills development. The second building will contain five, two-bedroom apartments for five single adults and two families struggling with chronic homelessness.
Mercy Haven received approval for a New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance grant for the project’s land acquisition and new construction. Yet with the grant’s disbursement set for after the purchase deadline for 56 Adams Road, Mercy Haven risked losing the smaller parcel that is essential to the overall development plan.
“Leviticus fast-tracked this loan for Mercy Haven because we recognized how critical this additional property is to the project’s overall design,” explained Greg Maher, Leviticus’ Executive Director. “Our financing ensures that development of these new supportive housing units moves forward and also makes it possible for almost $5 million in additional investments from multiple sources to flow to this project.”
“The bridge loan from Leviticus allowed us to gain site control for one of the three lots of property needed to complete this development effort,” said Joseph Mercurio, Associate Executive Director for Mercy Haven. “The overall project would be in jeopardy if we were not able to obtain site control of this parcel prior to construction.”
Neighborhood Revitalization Values Affordable Rental Housing in Otsego County
A predevelopment loan in September of 2015 from Leviticus set the foundation for a comprehensive, $15.3 million neighborhood revitalization effort in upstate Otsego County, New York.
Housing Visions Consultants, Inc. (HVC) is the nonprofit developer for Oneonta Heights, which will create 20 units of affordable rental housing for families and 40 affordable units for seniors among 14 scattered sites. Leviticus’ $516,077 loan is financing the predevelopment costs for the project, which will eliminate blight, rehabilitate a vacant building and transform underutilized vacant lots.
The properties that comprise Oneonta Heights are just north of the downtown core of Oneonta. The area is dominated by the State University of New York at Oneonta to the north and Hartwick College to the west. The rental market in the largely residential area has been impacted by the influx of students, causing rents to rise and landlords to steer away from offering affordable units to local residents.
HVC is collaborating in the project with the City of Oneonta, which has committed funding in recognition of the revitalization potential of Oneonta Heights to change the landscape of the community and stimulate new economic investments in the city’s core.
“As a regional lender, Leviticus is proud to direct its financing to such an innovative project in the City of Oneonta,” said Greg Maher, Leviticus’ Executive Director. “This development will revitalize an important part of the city’s core and will provide the residents with viable bus transportation options and accessibility for shopping, healthcare and jobs.”
Oneonta Heights is being designed as an intergenerational project. The 20 units of affordable rental housing for families will be developed within six buildings with off-street parking and green space. The 40 units for seniors aged 62 and older will be contained in one, newly constructed building. The senior building will include a comprehensive service plan for a minimum of nine units for the frail-elderly with the Otsego County Office of Aging, a well-respected service provider in the area.
Affordable Housing: Made Possible by Resident-Owned Communities
Owning your home – and collectively owning the land underneath with your neighbors – is a nationwide strategy to preserve homeownership affordability for seniors and families in manufactured home communities (MHCs).
The Leviticus Fund is a Lead Organization in the I’m HOME Network, a diverse group of practitioners advocating for policy and legal reforms for manufactured housing as a national affordable housing strategy. In New York State, Leviticus has financed eight MHC projects for either resident purchases of investor-owned communities or infrastructure improvements in existing resident-owned communities. The New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) has been a strong partner in all of these deals, along with ROC USA Capital and PathStone, which are both active in the I’m HOME network.
One of the most recent MHC resident purchases involved Venture Lake Estates, a 55+ age-restricted community located in Dutchess County. Venture Lakes is comprised of 44 homes within a 13 acre parcel. Financing from the HFA, Leviticus and ROC USA enabled the homeowners to collectively purchase the community for $2.3 million and preserve in perpetuity the existing homes as affordable in a prime real estate location in the Hudson River Valley.