Making the Pieces Fit: Landlords, Tenants, RUPCO & Section 8 on December 15

Making the Pieces Fit: December 15Are you a property owner who wants to better understand the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)?

Are you a landlord in search of qualified tenants?

Are you a person holding a Housing Choice Voucher looking for an apartment?

WHAT:  Making the Pieces Fit: Landlord, Tenant, RUPCO & the Housing Choice Voucher Program (RSVP for this free session here)

WHERE:  The Kirkland, 2 Main Street, Kingston

WHEN:  Friday, December 15

10a-Noon Landlord Information Session: A one-hour educational briefing session followed by a Question-Answer session for landlords and property owners participating in Housing Choice Voucher Program, or considering Section 8 enrollment

3-5p Landlord Information Session: a repeat of the 10a session

5-6p Landlord-Tenant Meet-up: A quick interview setting designed to connect apartment seekers with apartment owners. Speed-dating at a whole new level!

Light refreshments will be served. On-street or municipal lot parking available. RSVP here — it’s free!

For more information, contact

  • Maria Wayne, Rental Assistance Coordinator (845) 331-2140 ext. 244 or by email here
  • Vanessa Secore, Director of Rental Assistance (845) 331-2140 ext. 209 or by email here
The Metro Hosts Made in Kingston on December 7

Made in Kingston invitationLocal arts businesses, makers, artists, and creators gather Thursday, December 7 for an expo of all things made in Kingston, at a new space under development in Midtown, the city’s up-and-coming arts district. The fifth annual Made In Kingston is co-sponsored by the City of Kingston, Kingston Midtown Arts District, Arts Mid Hudson, Business Alliance of Kingston, and RUPCO. 

This year’s event will be held at The Metro, the former MetLife Hall of Records building, at 2 South Prospect Street (on the corner of Greenkill Avenue, opposite the Boys and Girls Club). RUPCO closed on the 70,000-square-foot underutilized, near-vacant factory/warehouse earlier this year and is donating the space for this special event. RUPCO is proposing The Metro as a film and technology hub to include maker spaces and other creative uses.

“We are thrilled to host Made in Kingston for the second time in one of our buildings,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Operating Officer at RUPCO. “This time, the event foretells what The Metro is all about. In addition to enjoying and purchasing goods from all the makers, we hope this gives attendees the opportunity to see the vision for The Metro, a center for film, TV, technology and makers alike. This building is about the local economy based in creative production with the overarching goal of providing job training and pathways to equity where people make sustainable livings from their creativity. The Metro brings community vitality forward in a space long vacant of any activity or inspiration.”

Made in Kingston opens its doors to the public at 4 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. In addition to more than four dozen local artists, the evening will feature local food, beverages and musical entertainment. For artists’ online registration click here.

“We couldn’t be prouder to support such a homegrown event that continues to expand every year, showcasing the diverse offerings made in Kingston and by ‘Kingstonians’,” said Mayor Steve Noble. “The event has transformed office buildings and warehouses into pop-up boutiques overflowing with locally made products sought after by visitors from throughout the region and beyond. Kingston’s economy is growing stronger every day and it is thanks to the unwavering commitment and investment in our community by our local business owners and entrepreneurs. I look forward to supporting each of them at this exciting event.”

“Over the last few years, we have come to realize just how great the resources are that we have here in Kingston,” added Richard Frumess, a co-founder of the Arts District. “Chief among them is the unique wealth of art manufacturing and crafts industry that is showcased by the annual Made in Kingston event. With our City officials, we are working hard to realize the creative potential the District represents for revitalizing the City.”

For further information, call 845-331-2238 or visit www.madeinkingstonNY.com and www.facebook.com/Made In Kingston

A Bag of Cans

I picked up Janet hitchhiking this morning. The first time, I’d driven past her at 55mph down Route 9W. Thumb out, cigarette dangling from her lip, she stood shivering close to the metal guardrail — it was 46 degrees. She looked like she had slept in the woods – no doubt, she had. 

I drove past thinking, “Where is she going? Wonder what’s her story?” She looked worried, as if she was late for work, or that she wished she had a job to be late to. I found that to be the case. She lost her job, and her apartment, after breaking an ankle. I didn’t ask how, but from the smell of the bag of cans she lugged with her, I envisioned a cadre of circumstances: a miscalculated stride off the curb, stepping into a groundhog hole, or simply not paying attention. I’d done those  myself over a lifetime, some with, and without, the help of a bag of cans.

After a mile, I turned around. I half hoped she’d be there, half-hoped someone else had stopped for her. Flashers blinking, I pulled over gradually, giving the 18-wheeler behind me time to decelerate and pass. I stopped. She opened the door and thanked me. She wondered why I had my flashers on, what was my story: was I running out of gas? Or was I actually stopping to pick her up? She passed in her cooler, a bag of cans, and climbed in. She’d missed her bus by three minutes. Three minutes, she said, she couldn’t catch a break. She thanked me again, and told me I was one of her “Turnaround Girls.”

Trembling, she clutched a makeshift cup from an apple juice can, sharp aluminum edges folded over made for softer sipping. She cradled a second cigarette in icy-bent fingers, blue with cold and chipped nail polish. Ten minutes in the highway-side wind coupled with a night in morning dew-lined tent had frozen her to the bone. She huddled on the passenger side. I cranked the seat heater and blower motor; she defrosted.

In 5 minutes 23 seconds, from roadside to her destination, I got a glimpse of her story. I’d heard parts of this before, from people in need, some homeless, living in the woods, couch-surfing at a friend’s, tent-dwellers and those in-between on their way to permanent housing. They’d been to my office asking for help, help out, help up, any help.

Why the woods I asked? To save money for an apartment, she said, it was the only way to get ahead. But someone stole her pocketbook yesterday with $400 in savings. A friend had found her purse contents, but not before she’d cancelled her bank account; the bank charged her $30 to do so. She was back to zero. Luckily, she bought a tent two days ago; the Catskill cold had set in this week and she needed protection, but still needed a tarp. She’d been out there 10 days. She couldn’t afford a tarp. She cried, reset.

Janet would charge her phone at the convenience store. Her phone, a needed expense was her lifeline to work prospects, a human connection, a promise of another life, a home. Her battery barely holds a charge longer than an hour, she said,  but she’d make it work. She’d recycle the bag of cans she’d collected while walking and spend a dollar on coffee. She’d warm up, cry, recharge, reset.

Her warm clothes stored 30 miles away, her Kingston apartment belongings in limbo; she had no way to get to her stuff, to move them, to store them. She cried through our brief talk about support services, how a system tough to navigate was cruel and offered little help and no hope. She couldn’t access the support she needed. Anger reset her composure. She was not letting this get her down. Her sporadic surveying gig in Tug Hill provided inconsistent income that disqualified her from most services. We talked about 12-step meetings, asking for help, holding onto hope that things will turn around. She thanked me again and closed the door.

I crossed the street to get my car serviced. In the back seat, I found the bag of cans. Shame-filled, I clutched the stale-beer promise of 5-cents-on-redemption. I cringed, wondering what the Service Desk employee thought. Did he think that clanking smelly bag of cans was mine? Disgusted, I wanted to toss the bag of cans, ditch them inside the warm waiting room recycling bin, or maybe stash them out-of-sight outside under a dealership bush. Would this bag of cans really matter to Janet if it weren’t returned? What if it were her clothes bag and phone? I cried inside, reset.

I climbed into the warm shuttle van and asked the driver for two stops. Walking into the convenience store, I found Janet charging her phone, making small talk with another semi-defrosted companion. I gave her a bag of cans. She smiled, thanked me, hugged me. “It’s gonna get better, right?” Yes, I said. And walked out.

In the passenger seat, I cried, reset, and went to work… for housing for those most in need.

Do you want to share your perspective? Email Tara Collins with your story.

Local Artist Finds Solace in Lace Mill, Continues Artistic Journey Despite Setbacks

Lace Mill resident-artist Dawn BisioDawn Bisio’s home environment is stable now, but that was not always the case just two years ago. Recently divorced and motivated to redirect her life path, she moved to the Hudson Valley from Westchester, coincidentally at the same time RUPCO announced a call for artists to #WhereArtistsLive. After financial upset with divorce legal fees, she found opportunity at The Lace Mill to be the silver lining in turbulent times.

“The Lace Mill has been motivating for me artistically and the creative community has helped me feel secure and supported, and turned around the worst times,” she remembers.

However, landing an apartment wasn’t straightforward. At first, she missed the first lottery round of new tenants. But she stayed within the area, stayed positive, and reflected on possibilities that might arise if an applicant dropped out or didn’t follow through with a lease. So she waited, and checked in with RUPCO from time to time. Luckily, during RUPCO’s second lottery wave for the newly finished East end—which was under final construction—she got the call. Ecstatic, she agreed to move in and start fresh in her career and home life. She now shares memories with fellow tenants who moved in the same time she did, and they bond over communal living quirks and resident building meet-ups.

Besides sharing the trickle-down effects of administrative check-ins and construction work during the renovation period, Bisio shares other fond thoughts of residents at Lace Mill. “I run into people who are truly fascinating, kind and supporting, and if we [my husband and I] were out by ourselves, we would feel isolated and lonely sometimes—here we can have a glass of wine outside with people we live with, and that’s really nice to have.”

Of course, there are periods when communal living is a bit overwhelming, and Bisio states she sometimes “just needs to retreat and find my own source of peace. I personally like peace and quiet, but I wouldn’t trade this living.” She finds serenity in her own company when she is not spending time collaborating on art shows or conversing with neighbors.

The outside world beckons her attention in between these solitary times for exploration and discovery. “Shapes, people outdoors, moments of reflection, and also things that happen to me personally,” provide sparks of insight into subjective reasoning.

In the larger social domain, things that may not make sense immediately are great catalysts for creative energy. The mystery is what may be alluring to contemplate, like an unsolved riddle that provides more questions than solutions. Bisio notes that maybe things—and people—can convey interesting truths to examine without making sense. “I always try to find a way to process things, especially things that I can’t figure out. Art and writing helps translate experiences or questions, and leads me to an answer—not the answer—but it helps me to make sense of the world and to create things of beauty.”

Allowing herself to branch out is also a large part of being inspired. She finds that while she is toning down on writing, she is able to explore other art forms that clue in on aspects of herself that weren’t revealed before. A recent piece entitled “Mobile Home,” made of a globe that is evocative of the Sun, explores her identity being a Korean adoptee. Another piece featured in the upcoming Dirty Laundry exhibit is a mixed-media work on a canvas box that opens up and allows viewers to see “inside her dreams,” which are written in text on a tree background. Many of her pieces are a result of abstract ideas that echo memories, and are difficult to convey in the real world.

“A lot of my pieces involve construction, and part of the challenge is knowing ‘how do I suspend it correctly, what materials do and don’t work, and how do I translate the pure idea into a work of art?’”

Though home is “like a base,” the foundation that promises security while figuring out the mechanics of her ideas, she hopes to travel in the near future, and have Lace Mill as a part-time home. But with Kingston’s arts district on the rise, she may have incentive to stay here and develop further. “It’s exciting to see where we are going. People are doing all sorts of events: kids events, different workshops, and Midtown Kingston’s growing arts district, so in 10 years from now, who knows what will be happening.”

For now, Bisio continues to shine her light in The Lace Mill gallery, displaying works that reflect her background and experience. Her pieces are testaments to what she has seen and felt, and the light she often utilizes in her works parallel the beauty and strength in her journey of self-knowledge.

Getting to a place of comfort and acceptance isn’t always easy. Bisio has been criticized for being an artist, a general stereotype and stigma still surround the “artistic” label. Those labels — lazy, disorganized, scattered — weigh on her confidence. Instead of focusing on the negative that would drain her livelihood, she states, “I think it’s best to be true to yourself—you have to do what inspires you and not be influenced by other’s opinions. People will think differently about what’s good and bad. So just do the work, no matter how slow the process, even if it’s just one step a day.”

Applying to and inquiring about The Lace Mill proved to be winning leaps in a lottery draw of applicants, and her current endeavors in participating at gallery exhibits are antecedents for growth in a supportive setting—who knows where these little steps will take her next.

Couple Find Creativity, Privacy at Lace Mill

Youko & Kazuma Yamamato, resident-artists at The Lace MillBefore living at the Lace Mill, Youko and Kazuma owned a home in Gardiner with scenic views and remote neighbors. Never did they think they would receive housing assistance. But the day came when they could no longer afford to pay their mortgage and keep up with other expenses that piled up quickly. Eventually they found a place that suited their needs, in rural New York. They think living in the Lace Mill community experience helps them to focus their time and energy on their New Paltz restaurant, Gomen-Kudasai, and not on costly house maintenance or routine upkeep.

Rising taxes eventually squeezed the Yamamoto’s out of an affordable living space in NYC. They then moved upstate to Gardiner and began looking for other housing options as they could not afford the mortgage on their restaurant income. Thankfully, their son’s Waldorf School teacher suggested The Lace Mill for local artists. “We got the interview about two weeks later, and fortunately they took us in, and now we are very comfortable,” Youko says.

Youko elaborates that living in Lace Mill provides the same security as does a home without an assistance program. “I feel like it’s our nest right now,” she says. “We know that it is not our final home, but it is our hideout community for us.” The Yamamoto’s have a safe space to lead their own lives and artistically create in privacy.

“I know a lot of artists who don’t have comfortable living,” states Youko. “RUPCO is an excellent resource to utilize, especially for artists who want to continue their work but have limited means to purchase supplies or rent studio spaces.”

Following in good fortune with RUPCO’s help, Kazuma found a workplace in Saugerties in which he is able to continue his metalsmith career. His original studio was in an upstairs workshop in High Falls; residents below would regularly complain of the machinery noise. Now, he uses the space without worry about disrupting neighbors below.

Bon Dori Dance Festival for Peace, August 6, 2017Youko and Kazuma believe in community contribution and welcome opportunity for Lace Mill residents to feel like they are living as part of the real world. Youko and Kazuma believe it is wise to take responsibility for the space they rent, and not fall back on complimentary services to elevate their experience beyond typical means, otherwise complacency and a distorted sense of entitlement may arise. That’s why they’re hosting the Bon Odori Festival on August 6th, as a way to give back to the community.

The Bon-Odori Dance Festival for Peace, and other RUPCO programs fiber offer positive effects. People of modest means and their families contribute much to the community when given the opportunity to live peacefully amongst neighbors. Find out more about the couple’s fundraiser on June 23 and the Bon Dori Dance Festival on August 6.

Senior homeowners eligible for NYS HTFC RESTORE PROGRAM

older man and older woman as a couple on park benchFor a limited time, RUPCO is offering available funds for emergency home repairs through the NYS Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HFTC) RESTORE Program. RUPCO plans to help seven or more senior homeowners in Ulster County with emergency repair funding up to $10,000 including program fees.

 Funding Availability: Not all eligible applicants will be selected. If demand exceeds funding availability, those with most feasible and highest need projects will be selected first.

Basic program requirements:

  • Must own and reside in a home in Ulster County
  • Must be up to date with mortgage, tax payments and have Homeowners Insurance
  • Household total gross income at or below the 80% Area Medium Income limits for Ulster County
  • Must have an approved emergency repair need that is within budget
  • Dwelling must not have other major repair issues
  • Project must be able to complete within 30 days by a qualified contractor.
  • The homeowner must be 60 years of age or older
  • Property Maintenance Declaration form filed
  • Owners must live in the home for 3 years after service
  • Homeowners to supply 2 estimates from local contractors

Typical Emergency repairs or replacement covered:

  • Failing water heaters, well pumps, pressure tanks, supply lines, septic tanks, fields, drains
  • Accessibility improvements such as wheelchair ramps, lifts etc.
  • Leaking plumbing, Leaking roofs and failing heating systems
  • Electrical safety issues, Broken steps, landings, railings
  • Other emergency health and safety issues

Annual gross income limit for household size

1 person 2 people 3 people 4 people 5 people 6 people 7 people
$44,000 $50,250 $56,550 $62,800 $67,850 $72,850 $77,900

For more information or to apply today, contact Sally Dolan 845-331-9860 ext. 227

Equal Housing Opportunity logo black&white EnglishProgram funding is provided based on eligibility, funding availability and project feasibility. Other restrictions and conditions may apply. Funding provided through the NYS Housing Trust Fund Corporation.

 

Independent News & Articles about The Lace Mill & its Resident-artists

 

Group of Lace Mill artists in July 2016The Lace Mill: Resident-artists

Kingston artists find love at the Lace Mill, Spectrum News 8/4/17

Affordable housing advocates say region in desperate need (Charlotte Tusch), Spectrum TV News 6/22/17

James Martin: Inspired By the Old Masters & Kingston’s New MAD Creatives, MADKingston blog 6/20/17

Dreamers & Doers: Frank Waters, community organizer-digital media creator, Lace Mill resident-artist, Kingston Happenings 4/15/17

Capital of Culture: Kingston, Chronogram March 2017 page 30

Spotlight on Filmmakers: Sarah Carlson, Dawn (Wan) Bisio, Rubi Rose, Felix Olivieri, Frank Waters), MADKingston Blog 2017 

Chronogram launches community conversations (first session at The Lace Mill 2/8/17)

Collaborative Catalyst: RUPCO’s Lace Mill, Chronogram February 2017 page 51

The Lace Mill: The Building

 

Lace Mill apartment complex recognized as one ‘Preservation’s Best of 2016’, Daily Freeman 2/28/17

RUPCO Featured in 2016 LISC Annual Report, March 2017

The Lace Mill Revitalizes Midtown Kingston, Hudson Valley Magazine 3/17/17

RUPCO begins survey of Midtown Kingston residents for neighborhood renewal opinions, Daily Freeman 8/20/16

Historic lace factory becomes artist housing, page 10,  Affordable Housing Finance 2015 LIHTC Yearbook, December 2015

RUPCO aims to resolve lead problem in Kingston’s Lace Mill apartments by end of 2015, The Daily Freeman 12/1/15

RUPCO, Lace Mill residents dealing with lead contamination issues, Kingston Times 11/25/15

Artist Housing Helps Revitalize Midtown Kingston, N.Y., Affordable Housing Finance, 10/29/15

Artists find new homes at affordable housing complex in Kingston, Times Herald-Record, 8/14/15

Affordable Housing Needs Local Champion, Times Herald-Record, 7/16/15

Renovation of Kingston Factory – Hudson Valley Week in Review with Amy Greene 2/121/15 (video)

Former Lace Curtain Mill to be transformed into artists’ housing – Hudson Valley News, 2/18/15

Applications Now Being Accepted for Artists’ Housing in Kingston’s Former Lace Curtain Mill — The Daily Freeman, 2/16/15

Conversion of former Lace Curtain Mill on track for completion — The Daily Freeman, 2/15/15 (video)

Conversion of Vacant Kingston Factory into Housing for Artists Gets $412k Grant – The Daily Freeman, 2/3/15

Kingston event heralds start of lace curtain factory renovation (VIDEOS) – Daily Freeman 4/1/14

‘Paint Can Opening’ on April 1 to celebrate the beginning of construction to convert vacant Kingston factory into artists’ housing – Daily Freeman 3/16/14

Finances & Credit Workshop on July 25, Free

Free finances & credit workshopBring a friend or partner to this free Finances & Credit Workshop hosted by Citizens Bank and RUPCO on Tuesday, July 25 at 5:30 p.m. at The Kirkland, 2 Main Street, Kingston.

Get all your questions answered about credit scores, how to improve yours and how to meet your personal financial goals for yourself and family. 

Light refreshments will be served. On-street parking is available or within the Ulster County municipal lot.

Seating is limited so please RSVP by phone 845-331-9860 or email Yesenia Gutierrez.