RUPCO Welcomes Kelsey Vargas to Program Services

Kelsey Vargas, L.M.S.W of Port Ewen joins the RUPCO staff as Program Services Supervisor and leads a staff of four who conduct direct case management at RUPCO via six offerings. Vargas, who joined the RUPCO team in April 2019, oversees all client outreach and community support to clients living at RUPCO properties or receiving services from RUPCO caseworkers. RUPCO’s five program services include:

HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People with AIDs) assists families with housing support and connections to different supportive resources in Ulster and Dutchess Counties.

NYSHP (New York State Supportive Housing Program) connects one case manager with Stuyvesant residents and the supportive services they need; the case manager makes personal connections with each resident, many of which don’t have family or people to check in on them.

EAP (Emergency Assistance Program) provides security or back rent support payments to families to prevent homelessness. Families are not necessarily RUPCO clients or residents. Funding for that from United Way, The Bruderhof, and other sources. In 2018, RUPCO helped 48 families with nearly $50,000 to keep children and their parents housed. In 2019, 10 families have been helped so far.

STEPH (Solutions to End Homelessness Program) is similar to EAP, and provides housing and support to families experiencing homelessness with young children. This program ends in December 2019.

“We’re also in partnership with Bridges of New York in Newburgh at East End Apartments, a scattered site program for veterans, homeless, and at-risk youth,” notes Vargas. Bridges provides connections to support services that these populations need and are entitled to receive, but may not know it, services that can make life easier, less stressful. “My goal with program service is to grow the professional mental health services we provide, stronger community resources, stronger community partnerships, and wider professional mental health network that we can draw from. I support the mental health aspect, which will grow as we open up Energy Square and Landmark Place. Hudson Valley mental health services are not far-reaching and there is opportunity for RUPCO to provide that life-support right through our programs and residential living.”

“Kelsey is highly educated, but her people skills and ability to connect with those she is interacting with has most impressed me,” notes Sheila Kilpatrick, Vice President of Operations at RUPCO. “She is compassionate, caring, and conveys a sincere appreciation for the needs of our clients.  She is exactly what RUPCO needs to help us grow our support services programming.”

Vargas comes to RUPCO as a bi-lingual clinical social worker by trade. By education, she received her undergraduate degree from Quinnipiac College and completed her Masters of Social Work at University of Pennsylvania. “My license allows me latitude in making resident recommendations,” notes Vargas. “If I see a client needs additional assistance, I can refer that resident to the health professional needed.” Many residents are elderly, disabled, veterans, at-risk youth, or have a substance abuse or mental health diagnosis.

“I’ve always been interested in working with minority demographics, education access; health access to programs inspires me,” she continues. “Take a minute to think of mental health and home: if you don’t have a home, you can’t focus on any other aspect of your life. If you worry about where you are laying your head every night, you aren’t able to focus on your wellness, your medications. Your security is at risk, things don’t have a place. Once you’re situated, you’re home, you’re safe. Once housed, we can work with residents to address their routines, give life meaning, and set goals for integrating with family and our community.“

Recently married and Harry Potter fan, Vargas lives in Port Ewen with her husband and two dogs, Hagrid and Minerva.

LISC brings together 250+ rural community development experts June 4-7

Scoping out the site at Bethel Woods Museum (l-r): Maru Gonzalez & Kevin O’Connor, RUPCO; Suzanne Anarde,  Sue Felzke & Murat Unal, Rural LISC

The nation’s top rural development leaders are joining forces in Monticello, New York next month as part of an integrated effort to revitalize America’s small towns, including addressing ways to catalyze economic opportunities through affordable housing, economic and workforce development, community safety, healthcare and more.   

Hosted by longtime Rural LISC partner RUPCO, the event will bring more than 250 rural experts together to explore new ways to foster economic and community development in rural areas across the country. “We are excited to bring our partners as well as other rural funders and stakeholders together in Monticello,” said LISC Vice President and Rural LISC Director Suzanne Anarde. “Our annual Seminar is our premier Rural LISC event, bringing representatives from our 89 community-based partners together with rural experts in the field to network, dialogue and learn from each other – as well as take innovative practices back to their communities. This year we are honored to be hosted by RUPCO, Inc. – a true trailblazer and leader in the rural community development field.”

“We are thrilled to welcome our colleagues from across the country to the beautiful Hudson Valley to share and learn about the best and most innovative practices in housing, community and economic development,”  said RUPCO CEO Kevin O’Connor. “In particular, we are looking forward to culminating the three-day conference with an event at Bethel Woods, the site of the original Woodstock concert that occurred 50 years ago this summer.”

Highlights include:

Economic impact: With more than 250 representatives from community-based nonprofits, foundations, investors and municipal agencies coming together to strategize on generating opportunity in disinvested rural communities – while staying and touring for the three days in the rural Catskills and Hudson River Valley – Rural LISC and its partners will pour more than $500,000 in direct tourism dollars, including travel, lodging, meals and supplies into the local economy.

Disaster Recovery and Resilience Training: Rural LISC is debuting its inaugural Disaster Recovery and Resilience training series. This hands-on training session will kick off a one-year Rural LISC curriculum in disaster recovery and resiliency, which will increase the capacity of rural community-based organization partners to respond to natural disasters in the communities they serve.

RUPCO Tour: Partner RUPCO will host a tour of their work, highlighting best practices in affordable housing, economic development and more. Conference groups will visit The Lace Mill, The Metro and Energy Square in Kingston; Newburgh Progress and key properties recently funded by Governor Cuomo’s Affordable Housing initiative; and Woodstock Commons, the intergenerational campus for seniors, artists and working families.

ABOUT RURAL LISC
Launched in 1995, Rural LISC is the rural component of the largest community development support organization in the country, called LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation). For 24 years, Rural LISC has partnered with rural communities, helping to forge innovative solutions that lead to prosperity and opportunity. Rural LISC’s investments in rural America have totaled $1.25 billion in grants, equity and low-cost loan funds. Rural LISC has leveraged this investment resulting in $3.3 billion from public and private sources, to produce 35,000 affordable homes and apartments, create 4 million square feet of commercial and community space, assist 700 businesses, create 12,000 jobs and support 20 early childhood centers. By generating resources and investing in the grassroots efforts of its 89 partner community-based organizations, Rural LISC is committed to making rural communities good places to live, work, do business and raise children. Learn more at www.lisc.org/rural.

ABOUT RUPCO
RUPCO creates home, supports people, and improves communities across a broad spectrum of community development solutions including housing, historic preservation, and neighborhood revitalization in the Hudson Valley. RUPCO creates and maintains quality, sustainable housing and rental opportunities, inspiring understanding and acceptance of affordable housing initiatives, and championing pathways to opportunity. RUPCO is focused to deliver over $100 million in real estate development over the next 24 months including three prominent historic preservation developments: Landmark Place supportive senior housing), The Metro (community wealth building), and Newburgh Progress (community development). RUPCO’s historic preservation work has been most recently recognized with its development of East End Apartments (2019 Preservation League of NYS Excellence in Historic Preservation Award). Other award-winning developments include The Lace Mill (2016), The Kirkland (2009), The Stuyvesant (1993). Along with its real estate development arm, RUPCO possesses a stable and diversified business model with additional impact arenas in property management, resident program services, rental assistance, and homebuyer education. RUPCO currently owns/manages 23 developments on behalf of 700 residents in 588 apartments. Through rental assistance and the Housing Choice Voucher Program, nearly 2000 families, seniors and the disabled are living in safe, affordable homes in Greene and Ulster Counties. RUPCO’s HomeOwnership Center helps over 100 people each year achieve their dreams of homeownership. The HOC works with municipalities to deliver Community Development Block Grants and with homeowners on rehabs and accessibility modifications. It also provides similar homebuyer and homeowner services through its subsidiary holding, Orange County RDAC. Established in 1981, and a NeighborWorks America chartered member since 1999, RUPCO ushers community wealth-building opportunities, much-needed housing, and strong strategic partnerships into communities eager for change. RUPCO’s community development is Building for Everyone, impacting the lives of over 8500 Hudson Valley residents each day. For more information, visit www.rupco.org

At The Lace Mill: The P’s Have it

Beginning June 1, Lace Mill Arts Presents three different shows in three galleries, with a First Saturday Artists’ Opening Reception on Saturday, June 1 from 5-9 pm. All shows exhibit June1-26, 2019 and are open for viewing Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 4 pm.

WEST GALLERY:  PORTRAITS and…
Works by Ron DeNitto

DeNitto exhibits his portraits of prominent people and friends, as well as his “Inscapes” which are his internalized views of Kingston, NY. He also individually curated several shows at The Lace Mill including his One-Man Show (November 2018), Masters at The Lace Mill (March 2019), and A Mid-summer NIght’s Art Show (July 2017).

 MAIN GALLERY:  Politics
Freya DeNitto curates a host of selected artists with personal perspectives on politics. Her knack for stimulating conversation and guiding discussion is prompted in this showcase of visuals in several mediums provided by a variety of artists.

EAST GALLERY:  People, Parrots & Pictures
Documentary photographer Gloria Waslyn exhibits her mages of the community including interactions with her Parrots for Peace. “I preserve the moment of the expression of joyful experiences,” says Gloria.

On-street parking is available on South Manor and Prospect Avenues. Galleries are located at 165 Cornell Street, Kingston; shows are free and open to the public. For more information, email The Lace Mill Arts Council lacemillarts@gmail.com.

 

Lace Mill artist-resident receives $2500 performance grant

Zelda (aka Judith Z. Miller) headshotLace Mill artist-resident Zelda (aka Judith Z. Miller) received an Individual Artist Commission from Arts Mid-Hudson last month. The $2,500 grant supports the development of her one-person show, “Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be).” This humorous, sobering, hopeful multimedia one-person revelatory performance chronicles Zelda’s story of the joys and challenges navigating non-binary Queerness from childhood during the 1950s to adulthood.

“I worked my ass off on that grant and I got it! ” notes Zelda. “Of course, now reality is setting in. In addition to creating the show, I also promote it and get advertisers for the programs. In order to manifest this piece of theater, I’m raising additional funds through a crowdfunding campaign, which I hope my friends, fans, and people interested in supporting a Queer project, will support. If everyone I know gives a small amount of money and a few give something substantial, this can happen.” 

Zelda (aka Judith Z. Miller) is a multifaceted artist who lives in an erotic, musical, spiritual universe. As a feminist Jew who studies shamanism, she is inspired by the beauty of nature and the guiding force of her intuition as she explores the themes of connection to the Earth, spirituality, sexuality, and gender. She sculpts, draws, writes, performs, photographs, and is an ecstatic dancer/percussionist/healer. Zelda co-founded The Fine Line Actors Theatre in Washington DC and performed at such venues as Source, GALA Hispanic Theatre and the Kennedy Center in DC, in NYC at WOW Café Theatre and Dixon Place, at The Lace Mill and with the TMI Project in Kingston. Zelda also produces ZELDA’S Happenings, a series of black-light, body-painting, percussion dance parties that will produce original wearable art for a new UpState Artists Clothing Collection. She published in Inside Arts magazine, The Washington Post, and American Theatre magazine. Zelda currently resides at The Lace Mill  in Kingston, NY with her Great Dane “Z.”

Arts Mid-Hudson extended a record number of Individual Artist Commissions grants, thanks to the 2019 Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson. This grant program supports the creation of new work by an individual artist, which involves the community in their process or includes a public showing of their work. Zelda is one of 10 artists from Ulster, Dutchess and Orange Counties from a competitive field of 40 applicants.

Find out more about Zelda and her performance schedule, follow her on social media:

Que Será, Será on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TalkaboutQueerness/
Zelda’s Happenings on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zeldashappenings/
Artist Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtistSoulSpeaks/
Blog: http://www.ArtistSoulSpeaks.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JudithZ

Credit 101 Workshop , May 28

RUPCO & Citizens Bank present a series of FREE Credit 101 Workshops.

March 28, 2019
5:30-7:00 pm

The Kirkland Building
2 Main Street
Kingston, NY 12401

This workshop will provide valuable information on important aspects of your credit making it easier to qualify for a mortgage.

Tips will include

•Understanding your credit report
•Improving your credit
•Reducing your monthly debts

Find out how RUPCO programs can help you reach your goals.

REGISTER TODAY!

East End Apartments LEED in Energy Efficiency
195 First Street, Newburgh, Preservation League NYS 2019 Excellence in Historic Preservaiton AwardAll 15 properties received energy-efficiency certification from The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by the U.S.Green Building Council (USGBC), the gold standard for buildings, homes, and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. RUPCO is a leading community developer of affordable housing and economic wealth-building opportunities in the Hudson Valley.
 
RUPCO achieved LEED certification for East End by implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
 
“Scattered-site re-development within a challenged urban core is fundamental to saving and preserving Place,” says Chuck Snyder, Director of Construction at RUPCO. “Historically accurate, LEED certified, safe, healthy, and secure housing, well-executed and managed, will serve this community through the balance of this millennium, by not only extending the useful life of these worthy structures, but also in preserving the fabric that has defined this Place for the past 150 years. The investment and effort expended are the long game. It is in stark contrast to the equity vacuum, disinvestment, and abandonment which has defined the prevailing attitude toward too many of our urban centers for the latter half of the 20th century.”
 
In 2018, RUPCO celebrated the opening of East End Apartments, a scatter site development of 45 rental homes for those of modest means in 15 historically renovated buildings in Newburgh’s historic district in a 4-block radius north of Broadway. RUPCO restored these once-abandoned,19th-century traditional row homes with historic preservation and energy efficiency in mind, paying attention to architectural details and NYS EnergyStar® For Homes and LEED for Homes standards.
 
“Achieving LEED certification is more than implementing sustainable practices. It represents a commitment to making the world a better place and influencing others to do better,” says Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the central role of the building industry in that effort, RUPCO demonstrates its leadership through its LEED certification of East End.”
 

EAST END APARTMENTS epitomizes a tri-sector approach among several nonprofits, private investors, and government sectors to transform the Newburgh community through building rehabilitation and creation of integrated housing. East End Apartments includes 15 buildings with a mix of studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments for income-eligible individuals, working families, artists, homeless youth, and veterans in need. Apartments range in size from 482-1348 square feet. This multi-site development also includes 3,000 square feet of community space known as “The Hub” which hosts a community policing sub-station, studio/gallery space for artists, and meeting space for after-school activities. Safe Harbors of the Hudson serves as property manager. 

About USGBC:  The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) vision is that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation. Its mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life. 

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building, community and home project types, LEED provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.

East End Apartments Receives 2019 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award

Preservation League of NYS recognizes eight best in the field of historic preservation

RUPCO’s East End Apartments of Historic Newburgh has been named one of this year’s Excellence in Historic Preservation award winners. Along with seven other honorees, the East End Apartments represents a shining example of historic preservation done well. The League’s statewide awards program has been honoring notable achievements in retaining, promoting, and reusing New York State’s irreplaceable architectural heritage since 1984.

WHAT: Preservation League of NYS “Excellence in Historic Preservation” awards ceremony
WHEN: Thursday, May 9, 2019, at 6:00 pm
WHERE: The historic New York Yacht Club, 37 West 44th Street, New York, NY
More information about the event can found at preservenys.org/2019awards

The East End Apartments consists of 45 mixed-income apartments in 15 buildings in a 4-block radius within the second largest historic district in New York State. The buildings have been restored in a meaningful and sustainable way, maintaining the historic fabric of this architecturally significant area and reducing blight. This project serves as an example of what land banks can accomplish when dedicated to historic preservation. Once again, the RUPCO development serves as a model of how long-vacant buildings are brought back to life. This project has not only increased the availability of affordable housing, but it has also spurred economic investment in adjacent properties. 

 

“Preservation League staff refers to this project often as a statewide model of excellence, showcasing what can be accomplished when developers and land banks work together,” said Preservation League President Jay DiLorenzo. “The East End Apartments project is important at a local, state, and national level.”

“At a pivotal time in Newburgh’s history, when the seeds of revitalization are truly taking root, our East End Apartments collaboration has set a high bar for others to aspire to when restoring these abandoned properties,” said RUPCO Chief Executive Officer Kevin O’Connor. “In a place where too much history has already been lost, we are proud to play a part in preserving the history while restoring housing opportunities in Newburgh’s East End.”

The thoughtful preservation combined with a strong community building component make this project truly special. The Preservation League team is so pleased that this effort will receive statewide recognition.

Funding sources for this project included federal and state historic tax credits, federal low-income housing tax credits, 9% LIHTC administered through the NYS Department of Housing and Community Renewal, NYS OTDA Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, County of Orange HOME funding, City of Newburgh CDBG grant, and a $125,000 Housing for Energy Award from TD Bank Charitable Trust. Raymond James, Sterling National Bank and The Community Preservation Corp. also provided funding and financial assistance.

The project team included RUPCO (developer), Newburgh Community Land Bank (collaborative partner), Coppola & Associates (architect), Affordable Housing Concepts (general contractor), Safe Harbors of the Hudson (managing agent), Bridges of New York (support services), and NYS Home & Community Renewal (primary funder).

2019 Awardees:

  • Graycliff – Isabelle Martin House | Derby, Erie County
  • Eastman Gardens | Rochester, Monroe County
  • NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project | NYC
  • Knickerbocker Club: Centennial Renewal | New York City
  • RUPCO East End Apartments of Historic Newburgh | Newburgh, Orange County
  • Walton & Willett Stone Store – Cahill Landing | Oswego, Oswego County
  • The News Apartments | Troy, Rensselaer County
  • Neumann House designed by Marcel Breuer | Croton-on-Hudson, Westchester County

As the Preservation League honors excellence in historic preservation, they will also look toward preservation’s future with the inaugural Zabar Family Scholarship. Following the Excellence award presentation, three current students will receive a scholarship of $1,000 each in support of their studies in historic preservation. They are Tabitha O’Connell (SUNY’s University at Buffalo), Camille Sasena (Pratt Institute), and Ryan Zeek (Columbia University).

About the Preservation League of New York State: Since its founding in 1974, the Preservation League has built a reputation for action and effectiveness. Our goal has been to preserve our historic buildings, districts and landscapes and to build a bette

New York, one community at a time. The Preservation League of New York State invests in people and projects that champion the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth and the protection of our historic buildings and landscapes. We lead advocacy, economic development and education programs across the state. Connect with us at facebook.com/preservenys, twitter.com/preservenys, and instagram.com/preservenys.

About RUPCO: RUPCO creates home, supports people, and improves communities across a broad spectrum of community development solutions including housing, historic preservation, and neighborhood revitalization in the Hudson Valley. RUPCO creates and maintains quality, sustainable housing and rental opportunities, inspiring understanding and acceptance of affordable housing initiatives, and championing pathways to opportunity. RUPCO is focused to deliver over $100 million in real estate development over the next 24 months including three prominent historic preservation developments: Landmark Place, The Metro, and Newburgh Progress. RUPCO’s historic preservation work has been recognized previously with its development of The Lace Mill (2016), The Kirkland (2009), The Stuvesant (1993), and now East End Apartments (2019). Established in 1981, and a NeighborWorks America chartered member since 1999, RUPCO ushers community wealth-building opportunities, much-needed housing, and strong strategic partnerships into communities eager for change. Along with its real estate development arm, RUPCO possesses a stable and diversified business model with additional impact arenas in property management, resident program services, rental assistance, and homeownership center. For more information, visit www.rupco.org, Facebook/RUPCO, Twitter.com/RUPCO_, and YouTube.com/c/rupcony.

The One-12 Project: A Community Unites Around One Senior to Create a Place to Call Home

Senior Marie Young needed a new home. A community answered the call, with RUPCO coordinated contractors, volunteers, municipal officials, and staff to remove a dilapidated, 1960s trailer and replace it with a new, energy-efficient, manufactured home.




With $10,000 for RUPCO’s Board of Director Excellence in Governance award and a matching grant from Ulster Savings Bank in honor of Lisa Schatzel (a RUPCO board member and USB mortgage lending officer), the pieces came together. With support from the community, individuals, local businesses, volunteer groups like Ulster YouthBuild, and Town Supervisor Joe Croce allowed clean-up, site prep, build-out and permitting fall into place. In just four months, a community united to support one of its own: a woman who wished to stay in her home where she has lived for decades.

Special thanks to all who helped make this Home possible for Marie Young.

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.”

ACCESS to Home Veteran Program

ACCESS to Home Veterans ProgramVeterans with a service-related disability may qualify for accessibility modifications in their homes or apartments through the Access to Home Veteran Program. RUPCO and the Ulster County Veteran Service Agency are ready to assist a minimum of 8 veteran households with this work. Accessibility modifications include:

 

 

  • Visual alarm systems for the hearing impaired
  • Roll-in showers with grab bars
  • High-rise toilets with grab bars
  • Roll-under countertops & sinks
  • Wheel chair ramps& vertical lifts
  • Interior& exteriorstair lifts
  • Automatic door openers
  • Front knob appliances
  • Automated faucets
  • Reclining liftchairs
  • Other accessibility needs

Call today for more information, RUPCO (845) 331-9860 or UCVSA (845) 340-3190.