More low-income families and individuals will have access to quality affordable housing thanks to collaboration between the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County and M&T Bank. The bank will provide the YWCA with $1.3 million for the renovation of 96 housing units at 175 N. Clinton Ave., continuing a long partnership between the two organizations. These facility updates will benefit the more than 1,000 women and children who take part in the YWCA’s programs each year.
Member-lenders of the Affordable Housing Program (AHP) funded by The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, such as M&T Bank, sponsor local nonprofits’ AHP applications, fostering partnerships that strengthen the community by helping meet Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements designed to protect low-income neighborhoods and stretching local nonprofits’ critical program dollars.
The selection process for AHP funds is very competitive; the YWCA and facilities management partner Conifer Realty, LCC submitted the initial application in August of 2011. The YWCA’s project is also the largest of eight AHP applications funded locally.
“M&T Bank is a long-time supporter of the YWCA here in Rochester, so we are gratified that we’ve been selected by the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York to help fund the YWCA Supportive Housing Initiative,” said Dan Burns, M&T Bank regional president for Rochester. “Through this partnership, we are able to provide affordable and functional housing to impact the lives of low-income families in the Rochester community.”
The YWCA will invest the funds in building updates including a new roof, flooring, and major appliances for community kitchens on each of the six floors in the building, last renovated in 1990.
“With an identified shortage of affordable housing units in our community, we know the need is there. Most of our housing programs operate at capacity, some even with a waiting list. This award allows us to continue to provide shelter and support to the largest number of our community’s most vulnerable individuals,” says Jean Carroll, President & CEO of the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County.
The announcement couldn’t have come at a better time, Carroll stresses, given how challenging the current environment is, with many nonprofits losing or at risk of losing critical program funding.
“The economy is simply not recovering fast enough,” says Carrie Michel-Wynne, Director of Housing for the YWCA and Chair of Homeless Services Network, a consortium of more than 40 service providers and individuals serving the homeless in Monroe County.
“While the number of homeless has declined slightly, this is largely due to the over two million dollars in recovery act funds allocated last year to prevent homelessness and re-house those who lost their housing. Given that more people than ever are spending more than 50% of their income on housing, I think we are likely to see a surge in the number needing assistance very soon,” notes Michel-Wynne.
Many reports have shown one of the best practices in addressing homelessness is supportive housing. “If someone has housing, generally everything else they need to be successful can be achieved over time. The level of support will differ from person to person, but support services are often critical for long-term success,” says Michel-Wynne.
She goes on to say, “At the YWCA, we are very good at finding resourceful ways of dealing with increased demand for crisis services such as effectively incorporating evidenced-based service models and even utilizing volunteers to help with tasks like cooking meals to increase efficiency. We are thrilled that M&T has chosen to help make our efforts go even further.”
Access to permanent, affordable apartments linked to on-site services like those offered at the YWCA is a proven, cost effective way to curb housing instability.
“Placement into supportive housing stabilizes tenants and has been proven to reduce use of more expensive services such as hospitals, prisons and psychiatric centers,” says Ted Houghton, Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York, which recognized the YWCA’s affordable housing program for excellence last fall.
“As a result, supportive housing often saves taxpayers far more than what is spent building and operating supportive housing programs. This has been proven, time and time again, by dozens of peer-reviewed academic studies,” Houghton says.
“These dollars really do strengthen the entire community,” notes Jean Carroll, who is not surprised by the studies’ findings. She goes on to say, “We see the successes firsthand. Investing in programs like the YWCA’s that help families build the support networks necessary to secure permanent housing is the first step to long-term stability and self-sufficiency.”
This is not the first time the YWCA and M&T Bank have worked together to help women and children in need. Over the years, the M&T Charitable Foundation has provided grants of $10,000-$50,000 annually to fund both the YWCA’s emergency housing and Teen Services program.
Connie Sanderson, former Coordinator of the Rochester/Monroe County Homeless CoC Team, applauds this partnership. “M&T Bank’s support of the YWCA is a perfect example of how the business and non-profit sectors can partner to provide creative, cost-effective solutions to local problems at a time when federal, state and local government funding for human services are all on the chopping block.”
To learn more about the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County or how you can support the YWCA’s programs to help women and children in need, call (585) 546-5820 or visit www.ywcarochester.org.
About the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County
The YWCA is a powerful resource in our community. We help women and girls who are faced with personal crises including homelessness and teen pregnancy. We also work hard to dispel stereotypes and promote racial justice.
Teen Support Services
The YWCA’s Young Parents Support Services prepares hundreds of young people to lead healthy, productive, and self-sustaining lives. YWCA staff are available on campus at seven Rochester City School District schools. Through case management, home visits, and career direction, teen mothers further their education and secure the work skills and opportunities that will lead to a successful future for themselves and their children. The YWCA also offers weekly youth development workshops and community service learning opportunities to teens at city high schools and at neighborhood recreation centers.
Through our Housing Programs, the YWCA offers a continuum of residential programs for low-income women and children who need a safe and secure home from which to build their strength and continue their progress. The YWCA provides emergency housing for women in crisis; supportive housing for women with special needs, including chemical dependency; transitional housing for women beginning to find their way; and permanent, affordable housing for women working to maintain a healthy and productive life for themselves and their children. Counseling and education in life skills, parenting, and job readiness support our residents each step of the way on their journey to success.
About M&T Bank
M&T Bank, founded in 1856, is one of the top 20 independent commercial bank holding companies in the nation, with $78 billion in assets and more than 770 branch offices in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.