REPAIR GRANTS AVAILABLE TO SAUGERTIES HOMEOWNERS!
Saugerties Single Family Repair Program Public Meeting
The Town of Saugerties in collaboration with RUPCO has secured NYS Affordable Housing Corp. funds to assist Town and Village of Saugerties homeowners with home improvement projects.
Please join us for an Informational Meeting on December 11, 2018 from 5:30-7 pm.
Senior Center : 207 Market Street, Saugerties NY 12477
Call 845-331-9860 to register.
We’re co-hosting the 2019 Rural LISC Annual Seminar with LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) to be held June 4-7, 2019, at Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, NY. Rural community development practitioners from across the nation will convene to share best practices, learn about new developments in the field, network and collectively dialogue on critical issues facing small communities in rural America. The seminar agenda and presentation materials will be posted here closer to the date.
As part of that conference, attendees will take a bus tour of RUPCO properties throughout the Hudson Valley including The Lace Mill, The Metro, Landmark Place, The Kirkland and Stuyvesant, Energy Square, Newburgh’s historic East End and others. We’re honored to bring over 250 people to the region to experience the Catskills and to see our innovative efforts in regional community development.
Heather Free knows what it’s like to be homeless. Employed full-time in the Human Services industry, Heather worked closely with those needing supportive services. A college graduate with a Master’s degree in Fine Arts, she is an accomplished violinist, mother of two, and blogger. However, a series of events — car accident, adverse medication reaction, a fiance’s cold feet, loss of insurance and then her job — put Heather on the other side of the Human Services table.
As a homeless single mom, she did what was best and sent her daughter to live with her father. She struggled to get well, both mentally and physically, while living nearly a year out of her handbag, sleeping on friends’ sofas or living room floors; one time, she slept under a bush behind a convenience store. “I couldn’t get the help I needed and I knew how the system works,” she said. “Homelessness is a full-time job. There are no hobbies when you’re homeless: there’s no thriving, just surviving.” She posted her plight online and so began a social media chain reaction that put Heather in touch with Property Manager, Tasyka DeRosalia. With a stroke of luck, Heather was housed within a week.
While homeless, Heather traveled with her toothbrush in a Ziploc baggie, stashed consistently in her purse. No matter where she slept, she kept a simple routine: wake up, brush teeth, start day, hold onto hope, navigate homelessness. Two weeks after moving into her apartment, she searched her handbag for the Ziploc’d toothbrush. Nothing. Frantically, she emptied the bag and then retraced her steps.
She found it…right where it’s supposed to be…in her bathroom toothbrush stand. She knew then she was home. The gift of Home offers peace of mind, reliability, safety, and security. A toothbrush in its place is why Home Matters.
Get these dates on your calendar!
Healthcare is a Human Right provides free/low-cost alternative modalities from A to Z at its Kingston Clinic held at The Lace Mill, 165 Cornell Street, second Thursdays monthly from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome. For appointments or further information, contact Reenie Gordon at 845-481-3186.
2018 Schedule at The Lace Mill:
December 14, 2017
January 11, 2018
Additional clinics are offered (and Walk-ins welcomed)
Dawn 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.
Before 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.
Youko 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.
For 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|
For more information or to apply today, contact Sally Dolan 845-331-9860 ext. 227
Program 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.
The Lace Mill: Resident-artists
The Lace Mill: The Building
Bring 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.