Hope Through Activism: Lanette Hughes Inspires Through Artwork

Standing outside The Lace Mill, wearing over-sized black sunglasses, talking to a neighbor, Lanette Hughes appears nondescript. A cordial, “Hi, how are you?” to a stranger, she resumes her conversation. You would never guess she churned her tragedy into art in a profound way. A first-hand experience with domestic violence, her identity stolen and her savings robbed from her, these life-lesson setbacks made her willpower stronger. Lanette Hughes is not only a survivor, but a thriver — and her artwork embodies her understated vigor.

Hughe’s parents introduced her to situations at an early age that called for toughening up. They lived in Europe withinin target sites of WWII battle and concentration camp zones. While transitioning between countries, she found it difficult to reconcile that she had friends from opposing countries post-wartime. Her parent’s trip to Dachau further fragmented her sense of peace. The air-raid rubble and abandoned buildings that littered some streets haunted her as a child, a terror still raw when she thinks back.

Recently, Hughes channeled that experience into her artwork, “Human Beings are Not Created for Target Practice.” The large canvas oil painting highlights military personnel . If stripped of their uniforms, would they have reason to shoot the enemy? Hughes bears no bias towards “good” and “bad” sides where nationalism incurs.

She is, however, partial to beautiful art. While living in Germany, Hughes remembers trekking down to monasteries and playing nearby. One day while climbing a wall enclosure surrounding St. Michaelsberg, she fell and hurt herself. Monks brought her in, and she was introduced to wondrous sculpture and paintings within. Inspired, she asked her parents to hire a governess educate her in classical art training and illumination found in religious texts.

Being a sensitive artist and a newcomer whenever her parents moved, she stood out from the crowd. Coming to the United States, she was sorely misunderstood for her European values and mannerisms. She was often bullied and put down, and over time, these experiences impacted her artwork.

She was a target again a few years back, after she returned from a trip to Florida to find her identity stolen. Her home, savings, and future fell through her hands. Hughes became homeless, living out of her car, where she slept and traveled for weeks in Woodstock. She refused to give up her dog when Social Services prompted her to do so, so she could receive a no-pets hotel room. Deprived of everything else, she wasn’t relinquishing her four-footed companion.

Hughes kept her spirits up and applied to housing assistance programs in the local area that would allow dogs. At the time, RUPCO was accepting applications for The Lace Mill for artists. She applied to the lottery  and the patterns of the universe aligned with her needs. “In the miracle of miracles, I got RUPCO housing. And I love it here—every day I thank my creator for this fabulous place and all the friends I have made.”

Hughes realizes that others don’t have it as good. At her last exhibition, held at The Lace Mill in October 2017, Hughes combined her activism with her art show, and made a stand for something larger than making money. She created 50 pieces for sale, where 75% of proceeds benefited local charities. One of her paintings benefited the Haitian People’s Project to provide meals for afflicted families. Consistently without food, Haitian parents often feed their children “mud cakes.” These look like pies, but made of mud, and eating them causes malnutrition and infection. Hughes wants to help in her way, through her art and social activism.

Hughes is proud to live in an apartment where she knows her efforts are supported. She’s made many connections to Kingston nonprofits and continues to support human rights in the way she knows best. Her influence has already been felt among the community; one man started to cry when he saw one of her paintings regarding domestic violence. “’This happened to me, and I’ve never told anybody,’” Hughes recalls. “It really touched him. He didn’t say whether it happened to him, his mother, wife or girlfriend, but it happened to him somehow.”

Her paintings possess an understated emotional impact. She doesn’t wish people to turn aghast, but she wants her visual to resonate with them. She wants people to know that there is awareness, that others have been through similar situations, and the often misunderstood pain — maybe portrayed as endless swirls or spirals in her abstract work — is normal and valid. She connects to her audience on a personal level. “I don’t like the word authentic, but I try to be sincere about who I am. I’ve been through things and I try to relate that to other people.”

Maybe malnutrition, abuse, or trauma has robbed a person of identity, and they use public facades to hide the pain. By recognizing themselves in her work, a part of them is resurrected and recognized. Maybe it will take years to fix, with in-between years of denial. But something clicked, and that is what activism is all about.

Hughes has changed her perspective on earning a living and being an artist. “I don’t need as much as I thought I needed to make me happy. I’m happy with or without. But the fact that I can paint whatever I want is an incredible blessing. And because I live here, I can do that.”

Black History Month Kingston 2018

Calendar of events for Black History Month Kingston February 1-28, 2018 The newly formed A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Library, located in Kingston’s Ponckhockie area, kicks off its first community-wide celebration of Black History. The combination of events and activities, include history, song, dance, drama and reenactments citywide. Black History Month Kingston 2018 pays tribute to the legacy and contributions of African-Americans in Kingston and the surrounding areas. Art exhibits, performances, spoken word, and dance are happening throughout February:

February 3:  Black History Month Kingston kick-off, 1-5pm, The Lace Mill, 165 Cornell Street, Kingston, Free:
– Bluu Motion Exhibit by Frank Waters: An interactive exhibit showcasing a variety of animated movies, series, music videos and stills using a machinima concept
– The Poetry Corner: Youth are reciting a variety of poems from 
black poets from the 1800’s-1900’s
– Special African dance performance
Center for Creative Education Energy Dance Company

February 3:  Black History Today: Silence is Not an Option, 6-8pm, African Roots Library, 43 Gill Street, Kingston, Free

February 7: Comedy Slam, 6-9pm, Kingston Artist Collective, 63 Broadway, Kingston, suggested donation $5

February 14: Ruby Mae Sweetheart Love & Soul Night, 7-10pm, 331 Hasbrouck Avenue, Kingston, Food priced off the menu

February 18:  MyKingstonKids Puzzle Party, 1-4pm, The Library at the A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Center, 43 Gill Street, Kingston, Free

February 23: Ruby Mae Sweetheart Love & Soul Night, 7-10pm, 331 Hasbrouck Avenue, Kingston, Food priced off the menu

February  24:  First-person re-enactment of Sojourner Truth, 1-4pm, The Sanctuary of The Old Dutch Reformed Church, 272 Wall Street, Kingston, Free. Historic interpreter Deborah Zull of Saugerties will present Sojourner’s famous “Ain’t I A Woman?”  speech and conduct an interview of Sojourner by James Bartholomew “Jimmy” Olsen, a fictional reporter. Sojourner is one of Kingston’s most famous women, and most famous person of color, and in celebration of Black History Month, RUPCO brings this history moment to life.

February 24: Black History Month Kingston Gala, 7-11pm, Arts Society of Kingston, 97 Broadway, Kingston, Tickets on sale now. The celebration introduces the first Ben Wigfall Legacy Award to his family and the first community recipient, Tay Fisher of Kingston.

February 25: Giving Life-from Survival to LGBTQ, Black Excellence, 3-5pm, HVLGBTQ Center, 300 Wall Street, Kingston, Free

February 28:  Closing event, 6-9pm, Broadway Arts, 694 Broadway, Kingston, Free

February 24: African drumming with Amabou Diallo, 10-30am-12:30pm, Kingston City Library, 55 Franklin Street, Kingston, Free

In addition to the month-long off-site events, schools are invited to visit the Black History Month Kingston exhibits in The Lace Mill’s three galleries. Students will have a chance to engage creatively in many different platforms showcasing African-American history and culture. The goal is to make African-American history a source of pride and awareness for everyone.

For more information, visit Black History Month Kingston.

From Homeless to Housed: Leslie Mann’s Story of Growth

Leslie Mann wakes up with a fridge and cupboard full of food, a roof over her head, amenities for daily living, and the man of the house, Mutai, a 10lb terrier who licks her incessantly. The sun shines through her tall windows, dog figurines line the window sills, garden beds fill the view outside her front door. Book-stuffed shelves with her favorite literature are within reach from her wheelchair. Hers is a place to call home.

But attaining a handicap-friendly, affordable home wasn’t easy to grasp.

Mann grew up in NYC and lived with her parents while a young adult. Childhood was emotionally difficult for her. She didn’t fit in with groups at school and her interests in western-cowboy history and poetry didn’t align with other childrens’ fancies. Later, she earned a living as a factory worker and a filing clerk until her family moved and her brother went to college.

Mann struggled and eventually became homeless after her NYC apartment burned down. For a while, she lived on the streets, seeking shelter in abandoned buildings and eating what she could find in garbage cans. Her housing instability prevented her from owning a dog, but she found ways to relocate stray dogs in the City, asking around who would take care of a rescue cared for on pauper’s salary.

She found solace in good deeds. One day, she overheard a young couple at odds with each other, when the young man raged and grabbed his dog by the neck. Mann swiftly intervened and took the dog away, but not without struggle. He acted on impulse, threatening Mann with a knife. On-foot patrol officers quickly intervened and no one was hurt. Now, her eyes shine when she thinks back to the memory. She saved a dog’s life risking her own.

People took notice of her acts. They wanted to help her the way she was saving dogs’ lives. Regular goers to the dog park saved money to help her move into her first upstate apartment— she settled first in Woodstock, then Lake Katrine in a Motel 19. Lake Katrine suited her needs. For a while she walked everywhere, finding comfort in familiar habits, and eventually she applied to live at The Stuyvesant, supportive housing for seniors in Kingston, NY, owned and operated by RUPCO.

The Stuyvesant offered neighbors in nearby apartments who shared similar interests, a pet-friendly policy, and the flight of stairs that hindered her mobility. When RUPCO completed the Woodstock Commons in 2013, Mann transferred to a ground floor apartment. Of course, she kept Mutai, now 14 years old.

Independent Living has deepened and widened her personal growth. On spring and summer days, the surrounding outdoors are “wonderful and unbeatable.” She finds pleasure in taking care of her canine companion, ensuring he lives the life of a pampered pup. Meals on Wheels delivers food to her every week. Her healthcare is in place. When she isn’t listening to audio books or watching movies, she brainstorms ideas for a book about a man dedicated to his dog; a quasi-reversal of dog loyalty to humans, a testament to her life’s work.

She isn’t finished making a difference. There’s always more dogs to rescue, more activism to spark. With her sense of Home established and her accessibility needs met in a supportive housing community, Leslie’s starting a new chapter in her quest for goodwill.



Videographer-Monastic Student-Artist Blessing in Home, Continues on Path Towards Success
Lace Mill resident-artist James Martin with his watercolor artworkBefore moving to The Lace Mill in February 2016, James Martin lived in a Bearsville Christian monastery. To pay his rent now, he makes a living as a teacher’s assistant, hall monitor, custodian, and substitute teacher at Onteora School.
This wasn’t the way he wanted to lead his life, though. If he had the choice, he’d swap a monastic life for an artistic one—and gain a following that afforded notoriety. For now, though, he works in his studio and shows his work in The Lace Mill’s galleries, offering a bit of himself to the world in preparation for when luck strikes.
Getting a Lace Mill apartment  wasn’t just a stroke of good luck for Martin. Back in 2014, a friend suggested he apply to The Lace Mill, 55 apartments preferenced for artists. On the first day of the application lottery, a snowstorm wracked Kingston. Despite the transportation threat, Martin arrived at the RUPCO office, application in hand, and was greeted by a secretary, incredulous of his arrival. “Wow, you’re the first to hand in the application—nobody’s come out in this weather,” she marveled. Perseverance, luck, Divine intervention — this mixture lent him an opportunity to acquire an apartment; during the second lottery wave, he got called. “To have a place like RUPCO is a blessing, no doubt about it,” Martin says.
The Lace Mill is a perfect for his artistic needs. An ongoing student in the arts, Martin finds it fitting to live in a cozy studio space where he creates. He studied at Hunter College and Brooklyn College, where he completed a double major in fine arts and film. Martin wrote and directed several low-budget films, which did particularly well in the 80’s, like “I Was a Teenage Zombie.” However, with all the hubbub of the theater district, something surfaced and shifted his videography flow.
He had a new calling. God asked he put down the camera to center his thoughts on religion; Martin listened. He pursued monastic life and spent several years in more meditative spaces. Curious to link religion and his art background, he dabbled in iconography, but was disappointed with the art form’s limitations. Martin says, “It’s an exact art, and there’s no room for individuality, and that’s not how I was trained.” After several years of full-time religious service, he moved out and started odd jobs around the area.
3 pen&ink by James MartinNow, at The Lace Mill, he longs to be a full-time artist like the larger-than-life masters, George Bellows and Edward Hopper. These men have style, a type of luring expression he wishes to produce in his own work. In Hopper’s paintings, buildings or objects that are part of the everyday environment, like the restaurant in “Nighthawk,” convey simple images but relay meaningful messages. Their works are like mini worlds to get lost in, like a story, and Martin’s videographer-self appreciates the artist’s flair for summoning The Divine.
Martin refers to commonplace pictures and wisdom for inspiration and direction. He learned from monastic life to take things day-by-day, to not plan every detail of the future. Life is constantly in flux, especially living on modest means. Even though he considers himself a “starving artist,” and relies on other jobs for sustenance, he knows he will get somewhere, someday. “I’ve always had confidence in what I do, but it wasn’t always easy to succeed.” Making a name in the arts world is a lifetime aspiration, and earning a living as a full time artist is the ultimate achievement. Livelihood based on profits from artistic projects alone is “going to be hard. There’s going to be times when that work isn’t there, but if I keep at it, it will all work out. Don’t ask me how, it’s a mystery.” He experiments in watercolor, pen-ink, and charcoal pencil. And in 2017, he found a calling for coordinating collaborative artist shows like “13 Misfits” and ArtWalk .
His studio space is the world that is safe to get lost in, his home a place where he creates that “wow” piece that art connoisseurs will fawn over. His artistic enlightenment, Godsent, will come to him here at The Lace Mill. He just has to listen to that still small voice.
Newburgh East End Apartments Accepting Rental Applications

Newburgh East End rental logoThe first series of apartments are coming online February 1 in Newburgh’s historic East End. Be the first to live in these newly renovated rentals in a five-block radius just off Broadway on Lander, First, South Miller, Dubois and Johnson. We’re bring 44 apartments to life and Safe Harbors is managing the resident end on our behalf. 

Complete your application through Safe Harbors of the Hudson’s website here or  call (845) 562-6940 ext. 141 for more information. You can also stop by their offices at  111 Broadway, Newburgh and fill out the paper application right there.  Apartments include a space for every sized household:
•  (1) studio apartment
•  (25) 1-bedroom apartments
•  (9) 2-bedroom apartments
•  (9) 3-bedroom apartments

Amenities include:
• Community room
• On-site laundry facility
• Police substation
• Each property is a smoke-free community
• No pets accepted

Income eligibility and certain preferences apply to most apartments. But you won’t know unless you apply today.

Real Estate Development Project Manager

POsition open in Property ManagementRUPCO is seeking a highly motivated Real Estate Development Project Manager with 3 to 5 years of experience to process existing development pursuits and assist with new target opportunities. He/she will leverage their skills and experience in affordable housing best practices to take a significant leadership role in the creation of new housing for RUPCO’s growing portfolio.

Candidates must have experience and be technically proficient in aspects of affordable housing real estate development, including finance, grant writing, entitlement, design, construction, lease-up and operations.

Overview of Duties:
• Identifying acquisition opportunities, including evaluating over-all project feasibility
• Researching, preparing and submitting funding and grant applications
• Securing acquisition, predevelopment, construction and permanent financing
• Oversee the negotiation of major agreements and financing documents, including limited partnership agreements, loan documents, construction contracts, architectural agreements, and property management agreements
• Develop and underwrite pro forms, budget and project narratives, based on targeted audience, real estate development matrix, local need and other functions as needed
• Coordinate with architect, engineer, landscape architects, interior designers, property owners, project managers, and other team members
• Negotiate and draft contract terms and scope with design consultants and contractors
• Manage project timeline, ensuring milestones are met on time and within budget
• Oversee the construction draw process and develop monthly project reports
• Responsible for managing and executing project contracts in accordance with department and corporate requirements.
• Maintain compliance in all federal, state and local regulations and other mandated guidelines and polices request to Real Estate and Community Development, including safety and quality assurance.
• Manage files, provide reports and perform other administration tasks as needed.

Skills and Experience:
•  A minimum of three years’ experience in community development, municipal governance and or affordable housing or a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban or Community Planning, Business or related field
•  Experience and technically proficient in aspects of affordable housing real estate development, including finance, entitlement, design, construction, lease-up and operations
•  Ability to analyze complex data, perform sophisticated analysis and make appropriate recommendations and decisions
•  Experience with Excel and word processing software. Experience with Project Management software a plus
• Experience in grant writing, entitlement process, public sector funding, public speaking and non-profit organizations
• Excellent communication, team building spirit, interpersonal skills, and conflict resolution skills necessary
• Ability to organize, work independently, delegate, negotiate, and problem solve
• Must have a commitment to the mission of the organization and a passion for providing affordable homes and support services to the area’s most vulnerable populations
• Must have valid driver’s license and reliable transportation
• Full-time position,  generous benefit package,  paid time-off

To Apply:
RUPCO welcomes and encourages diversity in its workforce and all individuals are encouraged to apply. RUPCO is an equal opportunity employer (EOE). Please submit cover letter including salary requirement and resume by January 19, 2018 to:
289 Fair Street
Kingston NY 12401

Bon-Odori Dance Festival Photo Exhibition 2011-2017 at The Lace Mill

Youko and Kazuma Yamamoto will host a Bon Odori Dance Festival for Peace Photo Exhibition, 2011-2017 at The Lace Mill, 165 Cornell Street, Kingston, from January 5 to 31. The opening reception is January 6 from 4-7 p.m. in the West Gallery as part of Kingston’s First Saturday. Displayed photos commemorate peace efforts against nuclear war and promote advocacy of nuclear-free energy consumption.

During the month of August, Japanese citizens observe two events: “Genbaku-Kinenbi” and “Obon.” On August 6, Genbaku-Kinenbi is the Atomic Bomb Memorial Day for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks during World War II. From August 13-16, Obon welcomes home ancestors and rekindles family ties.“Bon-Odori” is the dance festival held within small communities during that time.

In 2008, after opening their restaurant Gomen-Kudasai in New Paltz, NY, the Yamamoto’s began protesting the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings with newletters and meetings. They created peaceful energy by putting out lanterns along the street as a form of remembrance, and meditated with like-minded people. After the Fukushima power plant meltdown in 2011, the couple organized a movement that would combine meditative practices and advocacy under one event, the Bon-Odori Dance Festival for Peace. The couple now hosts the annual dance festival in Kingston and coordinates fundraisers to help pay for event equipment, food, drink, and related expenses. The photo exhibitions are free and open to the public; freewill donations benefit the 2018 Bon Odori Dance Festival for Peace.

“I began organizing Bon-Odori Dance Festival to share and heal everyone from the reality of radiation disasters. I believe now is the time to reflect on how nuclear [energy] effects our present and future generations,” says Youko Yamamoto. “We are not content to be victims. We refuse to wait for an immediate fiery end or the slow poisoning of our world. We refuse to sit idly in terror as the so-called great powers take us past nuclear dusk and bring us recklessly close to nuclear midnight. We rise up. We share our stories of survival. We say: humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist.”

Guest parking available on South Manor Street and Progress Avenue.

For more information or a private showing, e-mail  Youko Yamamoto or visit BonOdoriKingston on Facebook.

RUPCO Receives Funding for Energy Square

RUPCO, the Hudson Valley’s leading housing advocate and community developer, received a highly competitive Unified Funding 2017 Early Round Award from New York State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR). RUPCO will receive an annual allocation of federal and NYS housing tax credits that will yield private investment of well over $11 million dollars along with $4,824,272 in grant sources designed to create affordable and middle-income housing and foster community development. The funding will enable RUPCO to build Energy Square, a 57-apartment, new construction development at 20 Cedar Street, Kingston. RUPCO was one of five organizations receiving funding through NYS HCR Early Awards program, which is designed to accelerate construction of shovel-ready developments. The projects must meet State housing goals, including the creation of mixed-income housing, proximity to public transportation, placement in strong school districts, or the provision of support services for formerly homeless individuals or those with special needs.

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, “Today’s announcement builds on Governor Cuomo’s commitment to ensuring that working families, seniors, people with disabilities, and those who have experienced homelessness have high-quality, affordable, safe places to call home. Maintaining and expanding our affordable housing stock creates inclusive communities that are essential to growing New York State’s economy.”

“Energy Square is the second leg of a redevelopment trifecta that cuts across midtown – including The Lace Mill and The Metro – that we believe will be truly transformative for Kingston and the region,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “Once again, RUPCO’s vision calls for an innovative and adaptive reuse of a vacant, fallow property that will create mixed-income and mixed-use to couple residential living with a fabulous local nonprofit agency, the Center for Creative Education. Energy Square will be the first affordable housing project in the Hudson Valley to achieve net zero for living by combining an energy-efficient building envelope with geothermal ground source technology and enough solar panels to offset utility costs for residents. Energy Square creates jobs, eliminates blight, doubles the local tax contribution of the prior commercial use, and combats the feared onslaught of gentrification by converting non-residential, vacant property to mixed-income, rental housing that will remain affordable for the next half century! We look forward to an early spring construction start and delivering this exciting building project in the Fall of 2019.”

RUPCO secured ownership of the long-defunct Mid-City Lanes in September 2017 with NeighborWorks Capital provided financing for the $615,109 purchase. The site includes the vacant bowling alley and 1.5-acre property at 20 Cedar Street, Kingston. Dutton Architecture of Kingston, NY designed the multi-use complex to reflect the character of Midtown Kingston while providing innovative use of the small site for energy generation, outdoor residential space, and parking.

“Located in the heart of our Midtown community, Energy Square will offer high quality housing for various income levels, as well as innovative programming and resources for youth and adults,” said Mayor Steve Noble. “I appreciate RUPCO’s vision for this project, which strengthens the revitalization efforts we have underway in Midtown and compliments our community’s commitment to sustainability and green building. With the burgeoning Midtown Arts District, the upcoming Broadway Streetscape Project, and key investments in business, healthcare and educational facilities along the corridor- and with Energy Square right in the center of it all- we have the opportunity to support our existing residents and attract new residents and businesses to Midtown. I look forward to seeing this project move forward and welcoming the first residents of Energy Square to their new home in 2019!”

The co-location of a community-based arts education program with other commercial and community-serving enterprises will anchor 10,000-square-feet of commercial-civic space that occupies much of the emerging design’s first floor. The upper floors of the varied, 5-story construction will deliver 57 affordable rental apartments, to be constructed, owned and managed by RUPCO, a trusted community partner with a proven track record for delivering high-quality affordable housing in the Hudson Valley. Nine units will be offered “near market rate” to drive a greater income mix to Midtown.

Center for Creative Education is excited to hear that RUPCO has been awarded the funding needed to move the E2 project forward! The new facility will allow CCE to house our growing programs in Arts, wellness and cultural education for children, youth and adults,” adds Bryant “Drew” Andrews, Executive Director at Center for Creative Education. “We look forward to collaborating with RUPCO on community driven projects and programs being offered at the new site. Energy Square will provide additional multi-income housing, businesses, job opportunities and community programming and will be a great benefit to Midtown and Kingston as a whole!”

Troy, NY-based general contractor U.W. Marx will oversee construction, the first new construction in Midtown in decades. According to the Association of Home Builders report, The Local Economic Impact of a Typical Affordable Housing Tax Credit Project” (September 2005), a 100-unit, $20-million housing construction will generate nearly $8-million in local income, $1.8-million in local business owners’ income, $6-million in local wages & salaries, $742,000 in local taxes and support 149 local jobs. Energy Square’s 57 units will have an adjusted economic impact, but brings outside money for construction and new resident disposable incomes to the area, both welcome prospects for local business owners. Long-term job creation projects 35 new positions created with the introduction of new housing to Kingston.

Energy Square will target mixed incomes. Nine apartments will serve middle-income families or individuals with incomes up to 90% of the area median income (AMI) or $70,650 for a family of 4. Other apartments will target residents earning 60%, 50% and 30% of AMI. Rents are dependent on income. One-bedroom apartments will range from $411 to $883; two-bedrooms will range from $883 to $1,237; and three-bedroom apartments will range from $1,020 to $1,428.

“Energy Square poses a fabulous opportunity to Kingston’s young adults as well,” adds O’Connor. “We’ve added a comprehensive workforce development plan for the recruitment, training and hiring of low-income residents from the surrounding neighborhoods. The plan includes the participation of UW Marx, sub-contractors, Ulster YouthBuild and Ulster County’s Office of Employment & Training/Workforce Development that will deliver a program of recruitment, mentoring and job training for a minimum of 12 low-income residents, age 17 to 30 from surrounding neighborhoods in the City of Kingston.” Additionally, seven apartments are targeted to house at-risk young people, ages 18 to 24. Kingston’s future depends on young people and their entrepreneurial spirits.”

Energy Square will be the first Net-Zero-for-Living, mixed-use residential building in Kingston. This innovation places Kingston as a regional leader demonstrating energy-independence can be done well and cost-effectively in city centers. The E2 housing proposal has already won NYSERDA support in the form of a $1-million Cleaner Greener Communities Grant. Net-Zero-for-Living is the high water mark for energy efficiency and green building, where 100% energy consumed on-site is generated on-site. Energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, energy-efficient building envelope, and other innovative energy-saving approaches will help negate residential energy use.

“I applaud everyone involved in this project, which underscores the value of public-private partnerships in advancing clean energy technologies throughout the housing stock across the state. Governor Cuomo is committed to ensuring the availability of housing that is energy efficient, making it a win-win for the residents who will reap the benefits of these upgrades and our environment,” said Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA.

Energy Square adds innovative accommodations to Kingston’s available housing stock, and addresses the City’s deficit of affordable housing, an identified need in the Tri-County Housing Report. “We’re creating a dynamic, vibrant, safe neighborhood by bringing density – PEOPLE, their families and their spending dollars – to Midtown,” says O’Connor. “We see the future growth spurred by Kingston’s growing healthcare corridor and newly designated Midtown Arts District. We see Kingston’s reputation synonymous with inspiration, innovation, and techno-preneurship.”

RUPCO’s PILOT starts at $82,000 with annual escalators. The bowling alley tax bill was $37,000. RUPCO, a tax-exempt 501(c)3, pays nearly $271,500 each year in city, county and school taxes despite its nonprofit status. In 2016-2017, RUPCO paid $215,477.64 in combined taxes for six Kingston properties.

“We see the City of Kingston as an innovator in community development through affordable housing, energy efficiency, technology and creativity,” continued O’Connor. “The vitality of Kingston depends on people, and people need a place to live. Rental apartments are one piece of the housing solution we bring to compliment homeownership. Renters save money, some buy houses. When they fall in love with Kingston’s Midtown, they’re bound to stay.”

RUPCO is a charter member of NeighborWorks America, a national network of 245 housing and community developers. Since 2005, NeighborWorks has awarded RUPCO “Exemplary” organizational health status following its annual review of RUPCO’s fiduciary practices, program services, and accountability. An effective change agent, RUPCO affects the lives of over 8,000 people through its work with homelessness, rental assistance, foreclosure prevention, first-time homebuyers, home rehabilitation, energy efficiency and real estate development. Most recently, RUPCO closed on The Metro at 2 South Prospect Avenue, Kingston, a community wealth-building development plan in partnership with Stockade Works to bring job training, Film/TV opportunities, and maker’s space to the area. With 58 employees working in 6 offices, RUPCO is spearheading $71-million worth of real estate development in the Hudson Valley, including Energy Square, Landmark Place, and The Metro in Kingston and the 15-property neighborhood revitalization in Newburgh’s historic East End. RUPCO most recently received national recognition by accepting Preservation Action’s “Best of 2016” award for its historic preservation work at The Lace Mill, a long-vacant curtain factory transformed into 55 apartments preferenced for artists in midtown Kingston.

RUPCO currently owns/manages 16 properties with 411 apartments providing homes to over 560 people. The majority of those residents represent our community’s most vulnerable populations: the elderly, seniors, disabled and working class families. Through its NeighborWorks America HomeOwnership Center, RUPCO helped nearly 100 families in 2017 achieve their dreams of homeownership. RUPCO’s vision to create strong, vibrant and diverse communities with opportunity and a home for everyone by spearheading programs in rental assistance, foreclosure prevention, home rehab and sustainability, supportive housing and community wealth-building. For more information, visit www.rupco.org.

Thanksgiving Comes Early to Tongore Pines

Property managers deliver Thanksgiving fruit-filled, goodie baskets to two Tongore Pines resident ladiesResidents at Tongore Pines got a surprise visit last Tuesday from Property Managers Lindsey Wygant and Tasyka DeRosalia. The two delivered Thanksgiving fruit-filled goodie baskets, compliments of the Tongore Pines Board of Directors. “We missed holding our annual August picnic this year. We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to let our residents know how much we appreciate them,” noted one board member.

Tongore Pines offers 19 one-bedroom apartments in a discreet supportive housing setting in Olivebridge.  The complex is dedicated to seniors 62 and over with annual earnings in the lowest Social Security incomes.

Community Partner Award: Madeline Fletcher

Every year at Community Lunch, RUPCO honors a community partner doing great work in our neighborhoods. This year, we honored Madeline Fletcher, Executive Director at Newburgh Community Land Bank for her collaborative spirit in transforming Newburgh’s historic East End. Her ability to gather partners and facilitate change has been transformative.