First-time Homebuyer Informational Session , April 17

Ready to buy your first home, but don’t know where to start?

This in-person, hour-long First-time Homebuyer Informational Session outlines the RUPCO HomeOwnership Center’s Homebuyer Program and the path to homeownership.

Call 845-331-9860 or email dfnostrand@rupco.org to register today!

Walk-ins welcome!

The Kirkland, 2 Main Street, Kingston NY 12401

Judge Overturns Kingston Planning Department Decision on Landmark Place

This week, RUPCO received notice of Judge Mott’s decision to overturn the City of Kingston’s Planning Board’s denial of RUPCO’s application for site plan approval and special use permit for Landmark Place. “Judge Mott’s carefully reasoned decision found that the Planning Board’s action to deny our site plan and special use permit was arbitrary and capricious, in contradiction of its own prior environmental findings,” RUPCO CEO Kevin O’Connor said.

RUPCO’s proposal for Landmark Place is to create 66 supportive and affordable homes for seniors age 55 and over. RUPCO has set lofty goals for Landmark Place. “It will create significant jobs during construction and operation, contribute to the local tax base and preserve an important & inaugural part of our City’s history while contributing to the health, stability and well-being of our elders,” said O’Connor. “More than ever, people are waking up locally to the fact that it is important to have local ownership and good stewards of our rental housing with management that is responsive to the residents and community at large. More than ever, people are experiencing firsthand the upset that occurs when housing becomes unaffordable, unsafe or both. Now is the time for this community to embrace Landmark Place as a new community asset, creating a well-designed, well-staffed and managed senior community that will provide safe, accessible and affordable homes for our elders for the next half century.”

Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org commented: “I am pleased that RUPCO rightfully prevailed in the recent court case for the Alms House. The project, the first rental housing for senior citizens built in the City of Kingston since 2009, is one that our community sorely needs. It will provide 66 affordable, permanent rental housing units to those 55 years or older, and who in some cases are vulnerable including veterans and frail or disabled seniors. To know that this historic landmark will be brought back for this purpose is deeply gratifying.”

The property was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Place in February 2018. RUPCO intends to use private equity, debt, Low Income and Historic Tax Credits to complete construction and enjoys a commitment for operating support from the NY’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) program.

Rennie Scott-Childress, Majority Leader, Common Council said: “There is a clear need in Kingston for housing for elderly folks who are housing insecure. The Court’s decision today will enable RUPCO to build safe, affordable housing for scores of them at Landmark Place.“

O’Connor concluded, “We now look forward to the Planning Board completing its job by granting site plan approval and issuing the special use permit for Landmark Place subject only to reasonable conditions normally imposed.”

WOMAN: A Group Show at The Lace Mill, April 6-27

WOMAN-LaceMill-April6-27The Lace Mill Arts Council presents WOMAN, a group show of over 20 local artists at The Lace Mill Galleries, April 6 through 27. 

On April 6 (First Saturday), WOMAN holds an opening reception from 3p-9p. Meet the artists, view their art, and enjoy a variety of entertaintment including:
5p Poetry & Readings
7p Performance Art
8p Participatory Drumming

Light refreshments served. All are welcome. Free and open to the public. On-street parking on South Manor Avenue, Prospect and Cornell Streets. Freewill donations accepted at the door benefit The Lace Mill Arts Council and future showings.

Concert & Conversation with Jazz Contra Bassist Michael Bisio, March 31
B&W image of Michael Bisio playing the contra bass

Photo by Anna Yatkevich

Concert & Conversation with Michael Bisio, March 31

Jazz Live at The Kirkland Benefits Emergency Assistance Fund

RUPCO hosts its third fundraising event, Concert & Conversation with Michael Bisio, on March 31. Bisio, accomplished contra bassist and composer known worldwide and Lace Mill resident-musician, performs at The Kirkland, 2 Main Street, Kingston from 4-5:30 p.m. Doors open at 3:45 p.m. Proceeds benefit RUPCO’s Emergency Assistance Fund which helps over 50 families each year avoid homelessness.

Suggested donation is $10 at the door. Admission covers the event and light snacks and nonalcoholic beverages and; a cash bar features Newburgh Brewing Company Cream ale and wine. Bisio’s CD, Travel Music, is available for purchase at $20. This event is open to the public with limited seating. Parking is available on-street or in the County municipal lot on Main Street.

Bisio has over 100 recordings in his discography, 24 of these are split evenly between leader/co-leader, 10 document his extraordinary association with modern piano icon Matthew Shipp. Michael has been called a poet, a wonder, and one of the most virtuosic and imaginative performers on the double bass. Nate Chinen in the New York Times writes : “The physicality of Mr. Bisio’s bass playing puts him in touch with numerous predecessors in the avant-garde, but his expressive touch is distinctive;…” As a composer Michael has been awarded nine grants and an Artist Trust Fellowship. With over one hundred works of various forms and lengths, Michael has composed music for all the ensembles under his leadership and many of his associates. These pieces have been performed in clubs, concert venues, and festivals. They have been broadcast over assorted media. Most have been recorded, some were composed for films and theater, one found its way to animation. For more about Michael Bisio, visit www.michaelbisio.com.

ABOUT THE EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FUND: RUPCO’s Emergency Assistance Fund, partially funded with support from United Way of Ulster County and Bruderhof Communities, routinely exhausts its funding by midyear. This fundraising event will help local families in jeopardy of losing their homes a safety next to bridge a financial gap that might otherwise leave them without heat, evicted or homeless. In 2019, through its Program Services Department, RUPCO distributed over $43,000 to Ulster County families in need. On average, RUPCO receives 10-15 requests each week for assistance with back-rent, security deposits, and move-in expenses to help people move out of emergency housing sites into permanent housing. For more information or to donate, visit www.RUPCO.org/donate

ABOUT THE LACE MILL:  In 2015, RUPCO renovated The Lace Mill, a century-old lace curtain manufacturing facility, which is now home to over 100 people in 55 apartments preferenced for artists.  RUPCO work here — Creative Placemaking — establishes a place for the arts to grow and flourish, followed quickly by the surrounding community. The Lace Mill is an integral part in Kingston’s ongoing urban revitalization, located within the City of Kingston’s Midtown Arts District. The Lace Mill Arts Council hosts numerous art shows and performances each month in over 8,000 square feet of gallery space in its East, West and Main Galleries. These shows are free, open to the public, and often include meet-the-artist receptions and community-inspired collaborations. For more information, visit www.thelacemill.com.

RUPCO Expands Senior Leadership with Addition of Vice President of Portfolio Management

Jake Michels of Poughkeepsie, NY adds Depth and Experience to Real Estate Asset Oversight

RUPCO, a Hudson Valley (NY) community developer and chartered member of NeighborWorks America, promoted Jake Michels to the newly created position of Vice President of Portfolio Management this month. Michels joins the nonprofit’s Executive Council and will handle responsibilities involving RUPCO’s property portfolio, communications and fundraising, and real estate development pipeline.  

Michels has been with RUPCO since August 2017, originally as Director of Property Management, with a later promotion to Assistant Vice President for Operations. Jake brings over five years of housing management experience and a proven track record of increasing efficiency to support portfolio expansion.

“I am excited to be here, to be a part of RUPCO’s mission and creating homes for those in need. Since coming to RUPCO in 2017, we have improved processes within the property management department while investing in the development of our staff. Developing a “team first” mentality is something that has been a focus of mine since I started. I look forward to helping our communications and real estate departments achieve similar efficiencies this year,” states Michels. Property management oversees building maintenance, tenant relations, and leasing. His personal philosophy on stable housing influences his work approach. “Home Matters because it’s the foundation of our lives. Stable housing allows you to progress in all other areas, and allows you to progress as an individual.”

“Jake brings a fresh perspective and his work has traversed the nonprofit and private sectors,” says Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “Jake’s ability to navigate partnerships, streamline processes, and manage people will serve the agency well as we grow our portfolio and prepare for new ventures throughout the Hudson River Valley.”

RUPCO currently owns/manages 22 properties with 586 apartments providing homes to 762 people. The majority of those residents represent the area’s most vulnerable populations: the elderly, seniors, disabled and working class families. In its $90-million real estate development pipeline, RUPCO currently plans to add another 185 apartments in 25 buildings in 4 communities, including commercial space for rent.

Masters at The Lace Mill, March 2-24

Art show, Masters at The Lace Mill, March 2 through 24

Artist-resident James Martin curates this show, Masters at The Lace Mill, with nine nationally recognized artists in one exciting arts exhibit. See the varied medium artworks of Claudia Engell, Ron DeNitto, Staats Fasoldt, Aaron Lockhart, Marsha Massih, Vince Natale, Kazuma Oshita, James Ransome, and John A. Varriano

East, West and Main Galleries will run from March 2 through 24.

Meet the Masters at a free, public opening reception on Saturday March 2 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Stop in  to enjoy fine wine among the region’s finest art: watercolor, oils, graphite pencil, illustrations, paintings, collages.

Freewill donations accepted to support The Lace Mill Arts Council and artist travel expenses. Free, on-street parking is available on South Manor, Propsect and Cornell Streets. Please refrain from parking in The Lace Mill resident parking lot. Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, visit the Facebook Masters at The Lace Mill event page, thelacemill.com, or email lacemillarts@gmail.com 

The Color of Law, April 30

Color of Law invitationJoin us in the Milstein Auditorium at the historic Franklin D. Roosevelt Library & Museum for a conversation addressing housing equity, wealth, segratation, and public policy.  Author Richard Rothstein shares his perspective from his research and book, “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segrated America.” A panel of national and regional stakeholders follows; a book-signing wine & Cheese reception ends the evening.

Tickets cost $25, or $50 with an author-autographed book

Sponsorships are available now through March 31.

Agenda for Tuesday April 30, 2019 2 – 6:30 p.m.
2:00p Welcome: Kevin O’Connor, CEO, RUPCO Inc.,
2:15p Public Policy, FDR, and The Law 
2:30p Presentation of “The Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein
3:40p Panel Discussion: Policy Impacts of Inequity on Communities of Color
Richard Rothstein, Author, Color of Law
Maurice Jones, President & CEO, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
Kt Tobin, PhD, Deputy Director, Benjamin Center, SUNY New Paltz
Lorraine Collins, Director of Public Policy and External Affairs, New York, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
5:00 Book-Signing Wine & Cheese Reception

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He lives in California, where is a Fellow of the Haas Institute at the University of California–Berkeley.

Racial segregation characterizes every metropolitan area in the U.S. and bears responsibility for our most serious social and economic problems – it corrupts our criminal justice system, exacerbates economic inequality, and produces large academic gaps between white and African American schoolchildren. We’ve taken no serious steps to desegregat neighborhoods, however, because we are hobbled by a national myth that residential segregation is de facto—the result of private discrimination or personal choices that do not violate constitutional rights. The Color of Law demonstrates, however, that residential segregation was created by racially explicit and unconstitutional government policy in the mid-twentieth century that openly subsidized whites-only suburbanization in which African Americans were prohibited from participating. Only after learning the history of this policy can we be prepared to undertake the national conversation necessary to remedy our unconstitutional racial landscape.

Richard Rothstein’s book, the Color of Law, published in 2017, is subtitled “A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.” In his book, Rothstein lays out the systemic discrimination embedded in the policies of our federal government, largely commencing with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal programs that created de jure segregation. Chief among these New Deal measures was the creation of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in 1934, largely to insure bank mortgages. The FHA Underwriting Manual, first issued in 1935, contained a “whites only” requirement and the following language: “If a neighborhood is to retain stability it is necessary that properties shall continue to be occupied by the same social and racial classes.” In 1944, FDR created the Veteran’s Administration (VA) to serve the returning WWII veterans. The VA would provide many services including making mortgages to returning vets. The VA adopted the FHA Underwriting Manual. Officially codified in the federal government, racial discrimination in homeownership and public housing became the law of the land.

For many of us in the non-profit housing sector, the book was a revelation and a conundrum – how much of this forgotten history did we know? If we didn’t know it as well as we should, then surely our colleagues working in government, the private and non-profit sectors, didn’t either. Still today, the effects of these federal policies are widespread and endemic. The resulting disparity in homeownership rates was a key factor in wealth inequality that developed in America throughout the 20th Century. The median net worth of whites typically averages over ten times the net worth for Blacks or Hispanics and much of this inequality stems from federal discriminatory housing policy. According to the Pew Research Center, the variance was 13x greater in 2013 as the median net worth for Whites was $141,000 compared to Blacks at $11,000.

Black History Month Kingston 2019
Black History Month 20192019 marks the 400th year of African presence in America. Blacks slaves came in shackles and had to endure the most inhumane existence. In the course of the struggle for freedom, dignity and human rights, which is still un-going, an amazing creativity, spirituality, gift for music, sports and the arts emerged which has helped transform America.

For a full event list, visit Black History Month Kingston.

Now through February 23, a posthumous exhibition in the East gallery of the art by three late black artists from Ulster County
The Lace Mill, 165 Cornell Street, Kingston
Ben Wigfall (1930-2017) of Kingston 
Ernest Frazer (1942 – 2004) of Saugerties 
Claurice Fuller (? – 2017) of Woodstock 

Wednewsday, Feb. 20, 6pm – 8pm It’s All About You! Youth Talent Show
Rondout Neighborhood Center, 105 Broadway (Free)

Thursday., Feb. 21, 6pm – 8pm Soul Food Gospel Night 
Rondout Neighborhood Center, 105 Broadway, (Free)

Friday, Feb. 22, 7:30pm Rhapsody in Black
Bardavon Ulster Performing Arts Center, 601 Broadway (Free)
Rhapsody in Black is a one-man show that explores LeLandGantt’s personal journey to understanding and eventually transcending racism in America.

Saturday, Feb. 23rd, 1pm – 3pm Family Maple Sugaring Experience
African Roots Library, 43 Gill Street (Free)
A delicious day of tasting maple snacks, walking to the “sugar bush”, tapping and giving thanks to the maple trees, boiling sap into sweet syrup, and singing maple songs.

Saturday, Feb. 23rd, 7pm – 11pm Harambee presents The BHM Kingston Gala
La Mirage Restaurant & Catering, 423 Broadway, Ulster Park, NY ($75)

Sunday, Feb. 24th, 1pm – 3pm Native American Truth & Reconciliation
Old Dutch Church, 272 Wall Street (Free)
Commemorating the Native American lives lost in the 1643 Pavonia Massacre. Featuring Dawnland, a new documentary on the recent Maine/Wabanaki Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

Sunday, Feb. 24th, 4pm – 6pm Re-Publishing Black History
the idea garden, 346 Broadway (Free)
Nine artists, writers, community leaders “Re-Publish” Black History through writing, imagery and design to create posters, placards and zines, in the D.R.A.W. studio.

Tuesday, Feb. 26th, 6pm – 8pm Black Pride
African Roots Library, 43 Gill Street. (Free)
Learn about, celebrate & discuss Black LGBTQ Leaders. A community conversation about fully inclusive Black Pride, and how we build through true unity.

Wednesday, Feb. 27th, 5:30pm – 7:30pm Unity In The Community Dinner
Kingston High School, Cafeteria, 403 Broadway (Free)

Thursday, Feb. 28th, 4pm – 6pm 2nd Annual Everett Hodge Day Celebration: Crossing The Line To Freedom
Everett Hodge Center, 21 Franklin St. (Free)
Learn about the black history of Kingston and the African lives of those buried in the AME Mount Zion cemeteries.

Thursday, Feb. 28th, 6pm – 9pm BHM Kingston Closing Celebration!
UC Restorative Justice Center, 733 Broadway, (Free)
Music, food, fun, art on display, projects and pictures created within the community throughout Black History Month.

Ulster County Rental Assistance (Section 8) Wait List Opens March 1
Local residents struggling to make rent have an opportunity to tap into hope in the long-term. For the first time since 2016, RUPCO is opening the Wait List for the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) in Ulster County. Starting March 1, the community developer will receive applications from those looking for rental assistance. Most rent voucher recipients are among the most vulnerable populations in our communities like seniors, the disabled, single parents with children, and working families.
 
Here are the links for the English application and for the Spanish application. If you need help filling out the forms, come by the Kingston office, Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. top 3 p.m. for assistance.
 
The HCV Program, commonly referred to as Section 8, provides rental support to people with low to moderate incomes, based on household size. The program is underwritten by the Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department, and delivered through the New York State Homes and Community Development (NYS HCR). RUPCO oversees the voucher program in Ulster and Greene Counties, however, this application round is for lottery access to Ulster County voucher subsidies only. Anyone receiving a voucher will be required to live in Ulster County for the first 12-months of the subsidy cycle. The last time the Housing Choice Voucher Wait List was open in Ulster County was November 2016. Applicants placed on the list could wait one to three years for help with rent.
 
Applications are available Friday, March 1, 2019 through Monday, April 1, 2019. Interested applicants can download an application online from www.rupco.org or pick up a hard copy at RUPCO’s office; 289 Fair Street, Kingston, Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
 
All applications must be completed, signed, and mailed or hand-delivered to the Kingston office. No faxed or emailed applications will be accepted. The application deadline is Monday, April 1 at 4:30 p.m. to 289 Fair Street, Kingston.
 
“The HCV Program provides rental assistance for very low-income families. Funding enables people with limited income to choose and lease safe, affordable, privately-owned rental housing,” says Vanessa Secore, RUPCO’s Director of Rental Assistance. “Ulster County individuals and families earning 50% or less of the area median income are eligible to apply. For a family of four to be eligible, their combined household income should total $39,600 (or less). For single people, the income threshold is $27,750. We encourage veterans and their families to apply, as well as people on the fence.” In 2016, RUPCO received over 1850 applications for the Ulster County Wait List.
 
This year, applications will again be entered into a random lottery drawing to be conducted after April 1. This lottery determines placement of applicants on the Wait List. ”All applications submitted by April 1 have an equal chance of being first on the list. That’s the beauty of the lottery,” adds Secore. “Make sure your application is complete. If you need help with the paperwork, come to the Kingston office (289 Fair Street) on Monday through Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. A Housing Choice Voucher Specialist will assist you. Bring proof of residency, something like utility bill that has the same address as the application or a driver’s license. And as a reminder to those applying, being placed on the Wait List doesn’t guarantee receiving a Housing Choice Voucher right away. Many applicants wait one to three years before receiving rental assistance. After April 1, all applicants will be notified by mail of their status.” RUPCO administers 1662 Housing Choice Vouchers in Ulster County.

Former Senator & RDAC Host Roundtable Discussion on Disabled Veterans Funds of $300k
At SUNY Orange’s Kaplan Hall, a unique collaboration of nonprofits, lenders, elected officials, and veterans’ organizations met to discuss available funding for disabled veterans. With the help of one of Senator Larkin’s last acts in office and New York State Homes and Community Renewal, Orange County Rural Development Advisory Corporation (RDAC) was awarded $300,000. These allocated funds allow disabled veterans to remain housed, avoid premature institutionalization, and/or return home from an institution.

“This grant opportunity is giving our heroes, over 22,000 in Orange County, a sense of security and stability in their homes by making them accessible to their needs,” stated RDAC Executive Director, Faith Moore. “Recipients of this grant funding can earn up to 120% Area Median Income and their disability does not have to be service related, allowing for a larger pool of applicants who may be in need.

“It is very important that we get the word out to the Orange County veterans community right now,” said Senator Bill Larkin. “We have no time to waste as this money must be spent by June this year. Disabled veterans all over Orange County who are in desperate need of improvements at home should have an opportunity to take advantage of this available funding. It is up to us as leaders of the veterans community to help RDAC get this much needed support to our veterans.”

For more information, contact RDAC Executive Director, Faith Moore (845) 713-4568 ext. 110.