RUPCO Featured in Regional Arts Magazine Chronogram

Hargash-GHAV-Painting_Final_webRarely do you see an affordable housing champion highlighted in a regional arts magazine. That is, until this month.

On newsstands this week, the April 2015 edition of Chronogram Magazine features community developer and affordable housing innovator RUPCO in an article entitled “Painting the Town. The two-page spread, penned by writer Anne Pynburn Craig, highlights the recent RUPCO-commissioned painting by artist Stephen Hargash. The piece commemorates the public dialogue surrounding the development of an intergenerational campus for seniors, families and artists. Woodstock Commons, with its 52 units of affordable housing, withstood rigorous review for nearly five years, before being built in 2012. A case study in public perception of affordable housing and the fight over its placement, RUPCO eventually won the support and hearts of a community divided over publicly inviting low-income residents into their midst. The process, as much an external debate over affordable housing, spurred an internal inventory of Town of Woodstock residents, and the dismantling of fallacies that continue to plague housing projects with the public good at heart.

The Woodstock Common’s journey is typical of the conversation around affordable housing, the pending placement of “those people” within the community, and the importance of speaking up on behalf of those needing help most. “Give Housing a Voice” captures the intensity of the town hall meeting and the sharing of one personal story in particular, that of Tamara Cooper. “It was her courage that inspired the painting,” notes Kevin O’Connor, CEO at RUPCO, “I wanted to honor her, her story, and her willingness to share a very personal and painful time of her life in a very public way. Many in the audience knew her in a very different light; to find out she was “one of those people” shifted the sentiment around building Woodstock Commons. From her example — of stepping forward to speak on behalf of the low-income residents to benefit from the project — we’ve resurrected the Give Housing a Voice awareness-advocacy campaign. We’re releasing tool kits at an unveiling event on April 16 to empower people to hold intelligent, informed conversations about the role of affordable housing in our communities. Each town decides for itself how and where, if at all, affordable housing enters. Reducing barriers and dispelling the myths are part of that process. To give housing a voice and a seat at the table is important; we want people to have the tools and talking points they need to make the case for community development with much needed housing solutions.”

The article, “Painting the Town” can be found in Chronogram Magazine on page 36-37 or online www.chronogram.com/hudsonvalley/painting-the-town/Content?oid=2300349 .

The RUPCO-hosted event, Give Housing a Voice includes an artist reception, artwork unveiling and night of storytelling to be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Seven21 Media Center, 721 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401. Admission is free with freewill donations accepted at the door. For more information, visit www.rupco.org/advocacy/give-housing-a-voice/.

RUPCO has been creating homes, impacting lives and building community since 1981.  A leader in homeownership, foreclosure counseling, energy-efficiency and rental assistance programs, RUPCO is expanding its programmatic offerings throughout the Hudson Valley with the recent RDAC affiliation and urban revitalization projects in Newburgh, Saugerties, and Kingston. For more information, visit www.rupco.org.

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Hudson Valley Homeowners to Benefit from Homeownership Service Provider Affiliation

Faith-Moore-Kevin-OConnor

Faith Moore, Executive Director for RDAC, and Kevin O’Connor, CEO for RUPCO are all smiles over the affiliate relationship effective April 1, 2015.

Hudson Valley homeowners stand to benefit from the affiliation of two affordable housing powerhouses this week. On April 1, RUPCO, the Hudson Valley’s leading affordable housing advocate and community developer, is incorporating Orange County Rural Development Advisory Corp. (RDAC) into its housing services model, thereby expanding its impact into Orange County. The collaboration will preserve regional access to homeowner and foreclosure counseling funding in Orange County while maintaining the delivery of much needed homeownership services to the region.

“We’ve created a parent-subsidiary relationship,” explains Kevin O’Connor, CEO at RUPCO. “As of April 1, RDAC will be an affiliate of RUPCO, working jointly with our NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center, to deliver services to new, established and in-crisis homeowners. This expanded relationship allows RUPCO to officially regionalize its housing efforts, a move that’s in line with RUPCO’s strategic plan.

“Like RUPCO, RDAC is a rural preservation company (RPC) funded by New York State Homes & Community Renewal (NYS HCR). Our primary reason for affiliation is to expand our collective reach and impact while maintaining state funding of each RPC to continue providing quality homeowner programs to those who need it most. Bringing like agencies together and to partner and affiliate with a Rural Preservation Company with a great track record like OCRDAC was a natural progression. By coming together, we will have greater ability to deliver more services to those in need. RDAC has Orange County relationships and boots on the ground in those communities. RUPCO brings grant-writing expertise, and efficiencies that will benefit both organizations and the clients we help. RUPCO and RDAC have already been collaborating on grant writing, counseling and training; to become parent-subsidy makes sense financially and programmatically.”

“RDAC has a long history of serving the homeownership community in Orange County,” continues O’Connor. “Maintaining the legacy built by Founding Executive Director Alice Dickinson, building on RDAC’s enduring reputation, and teaming up with current Executive Director Faith Moore, RUPCO sees this joining of forces as the best way to serve the Hudson Valley community with a longstanding community leader who keeps neighbors strong and thriving.”

“RDAC will remain RDAC in name,” notes Faith Moore, Executive Director at RDAC. “And we will continue the outstanding work of RDAC in three key areas: foreclosure counseling, energy-related work like weatherization and retrofits, and sponsorship of affordable housing projects in Orange County. RDAC’s key leadership will stay in place with Chairman Mike Bliss and board members Lynn Piscopo and Barbara Carr.” Also joining the RDAC board are RUPCO board member Joan Lonegran and CEO Kevin O’Connor. “We’re looking forward to the expanded opportunities in homebuyer education, owner-occupied rehabilitations, and grant opportunities, as RDAC works side-by-side with RUPCO. We can also foresee taking RDAC’s retrofit programs into the Hudson Valley and teaming up with RUPCO’s Green Jobs | Green New York to offer homeowners energy-efficiency and cost-saving options in 2015.” RDAC will remain in its offices at 2 South Mongomery Street, Walden. RUPCO’s main office is at 289 Fair Street, Kingston and has additional offices at 2 Main Street, Kingston (Ulster County) and 8 Lower Thompson Street, Catskill (Greene County).

RDAC is now a subsidiary of RUPCO, the region’s leading provider and advocate of quality, affordable housing and community development programs aimed to provide opportunity and revitalize communities in Hudson Valley. With over 30 years’ experience, RDAC has rehabilitated or constructed more than 1,000 housing units in Orange County. Since 1983, RDAC has been instrumental in assisting thousands of residents to obtain financing, mortgage restructuring and services to remain in existing homes or apartments. RDAC, which assists locally employed households and senior citizens, administers various state and federal housing grant programs and offers counseling services. For additional information, visit www.ocrdac.org.

RUPCO, RDAC’s parent company, has been creating homes, impacting lives and building community since 1981. A leader in homeownership, foreclosure counseling, energy-efficiency and rental assistance programs, RUPCO is expanding its programmatic offerings throughout the Hudson Valley with the recent RDAC affiliation and urban revitalization projects in Newburgh, Saugerties, and Kingston. For more information, visit www.rupco.org.
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City of Kingston & RUPCO Promote Homeownership

Famille 2 enfants devant la maisonIs homeownership right for you? 

RUPCO is administering $350,000 in funding on behalf of the City of Kingston for first-time homebuyers within the City limits.

But to qualify for this program (and possibly others), you need to attend RUPCO’s HomeOwnership Center‘s first-time homebuyer workshops. If you are considering a house purchase in 2015, within or outside the City Limits, attend a one-hour orientation at The Kirkland, 2 Main Street, Kingston, at 6 p.m. Find a date on our schedule and register online  or call (845) 331-2140, ext. 220 for more information.

Two additional three-hour classes prepare you for the home purchase process. Many grants are available to cover expenses associated with down payments, closing costs, and post-closing rehabilitation. Get the answers you need to make the jump to homeownership in 2015.

Give Because Home Matters…

If you believe “Home Matters;” if you believe it’s important to have a place to hang your hat; if you believe in having a place to call “Home,” donate online today!

RUPCO’s New Name

After nearly 33 years of service to Ulster County and the greater Hudson Valley region, Rural Ulster Preservation Corporation ceased to exist this year when the agency officially changed its name to RUPCO, Inc. The region’s leading provider and advocate of quality, affordable housing and community development programs aimed at providing opportunities and revitalizing communities announced the name change earlier this year. But with a new website due to roll out next month, the process of changing over to the name most people actually use is nearly complete.

“The breadth and depth of this agency’s work has expanded dramatically during the last five years,” said RUPCO CEO Kevin O’Connor. Noting that the agency which started in Ulster County, now does work in 10 different counties, O’Connor added “this change in our name represents new work, new thinking, new areas covered. We are looking forward and are excited about the future,” he added, “and changing our name reflects that mindset.”
Board Chairperson James Childs reflected on the long and detailed process the organization used to decide on a name change. “The best time to develop the perfect name for any organization is at the beginning of its life, before others start defining you.” He went on to say that “when you’re expanding significantly after a run of more than 30 great years, it is much harder, and perhaps more important, to land on the name that is right.”

O’Connor noted that the process of deciding to abbreviate its name involved a significant body of research with all stakeholder groups. “When you have spent more than three decades establishing a name for yourself, and building a great reputation under that banner,” said O’Connor, “changing it is not an easy decision.” He said that board, staff, clients, funders, and community leaders were surveyed, and many participated in focus groups to determine if the name should be changed – and if so, what it should become.

“Our reality is that nearly everyone we heard from already thinks of us as RUPCO,” said O’Connor. “Further,” he added, “people associate the name ‘RUPCO’ with an affordable housing mission and with doing good work in communities.” When RUPCO opened its office in Greene County in 2012, it was readily apparent that having Ulster in the name would be confusing to Greene County clients. So a new logo was developed and deployed. “From day one in Greene County, we were RUPCO,” said O’Connor. No one ever asked what the letters ‘stood for’ all they asked was if we could help them.
For more than 30 years, RUPCO has led the region in creating and maintaining quality, sustainable housing and rental opportunities, inspiring understanding and acceptance of affordable housing initiatives, fostering community development and revitalization, and providing opportunity to people to improve their living standards.  “We will continue to strengthen homes, communities and lives under our new and simplified name,” said O’Connor, and look forward to rolling out our new website and expanding our other communication activities under the new name. “