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Seneca Housing Inc. Receives Designation as Rural Preservation Company



Seneca Falls, NY – Seneca Housing Inc., a longstanding housing nonprofit based in Seneca Falls, serving the entirety of Seneca County has been awarded designation as a Rural Preservation Company by NYS Homes & Community Renewal in early March. This designation enables Seneca Housing Inc. to access HCR funding sources and begin housing development projects countywide.

In September of 2023, as a response to the countywide Housing Needs Assessment released in August of 2023, the Chairman of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors declared a Housing State of Emergency and directed that all available resources be utilized to address the housing crisis. The assessment identified an overall 17% rise in housing prices since the start of the pandemic, a significant shortage of available housing across all income levels, increasing unaffordability for renters, and a growing crisis in emergency and transitional housing. The assessment demonstrated that an adequate housing supply is the foundation for economic growth and community success. A primary recommendation of the report was to increase the capacity of local nonprofit housing developers to address the needs of County residents.

Seneca Housing Inc. stepped forward and volunteered to take an active role in local housing development. The Seneca County Department of Planning & Community Development, acting under the State of Emergency, identified the Rural Preservation Program as an opportunity for Seneca Housing Inc. to increase their organizational capacity for housing development. The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution in November 2023 to strongly support an application and directed the Seneca County Planning Department to provide technical assistance for drafting and submitting a proposal to NYS Homes and Community Renewal.

As a Rural Preservation Company, Seneca Housing Inc. will have the ability to expand its programming into developing properties for new rental and homeownership opportunities. To support these efforts, Seneca County, through the Finger Lakes Regional Land Bank Corporation, will supply an inventory of formerly vacant, abandoned, tax foreclosed properties and partner with Seneca Housing Inc. in turning them into new housing opportunities.

Mike Enslow, Chairman of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors“Myself and the rest of the County Board of Supervisors are happy to see that Seneca Housing was successful in their application to NYS. We are continuing to renew the Housing State of Emergency and will continue to support housing projects because good housing policy is good economic development policy.”

Melissa Nesbit, Executive Director, Seneca Housing Inc. – “We are beyond excited to have received this coveted designation. We have experience developing housing with our Veterans Housing Initiative. We look forward to continuing developing property and expanding our scope to include safe, decent, and affordable housing for a variety of households in Seneca County. Bolstering stability and preservation in our community has always been a key area of focus for Seneca Housing.”

Kyle Lovell, Seneca County Manager“Seneca County is fortunate to have a great organization like Seneca Housing Inc. working in our community and it’s great for New York State to recognize that work by supporting their expansion into housing development. I’m looking forward to working with them and our County Departments as we continue to address housing in Seneca County.”

Joe McGrath, Deputy Director, Seneca County Planning “Seneca Housing receiving the RPC designation and partnering with the Land Bank and Seneca County represents a major step forward in our collective ability to address the housing crisis. The Land Bank has struggled for years to find a consistent and capable local partner with the resources to undertake neighborhood development projects at the scale of our inventory. The Planning Department and Land Bank are looking forward to jumpstarting neighborhood housing development throughout the County.”

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