Legislature Authorizes American Rescue Plan Funds to Provide Emergency and Transitional Housing to Homeless Families

Posted March 18, 2022

The purchase and renovation of 21 Elizabeth Street will revive a century-old tradition of service to the most vulnerable members of our community.

KINGSTON, NY—This evening, the Ulster County Legislature appropriated $700,000 of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to purchase the former Elizabeth Manor boarding house at 21 Elizabeth Street, Kingston, New York.

The 5,742 square-foot property will be renovated to provide temporary emergency housing for families in crisis. The new family shelter will increase the supply of supportive and transitional housing available to homeless families in Ulster County and is an essential step in addressing the county’s housing crisis. Once renovated, the building will provide short-term emergency housing for approximately a dozen families and accommodate 35 people.

Vice Chair Eve Walter (Town and Village of New Paltz, District 20), chair of the Health, Human Services, and Housing Committee, said, “Projects such as this one directly align the goals of the Federal ARP funds and with those of our legislature to respond to the individuals and families in Ulster County with housing insecurity." Walter adds, "Housing insecurity, and the public health crisis it causes, was deeply present before COVID and significantly worsened due to it."

Legislator Peter Criswell (City of Kingston, District 7), chair of the ARPA Special Committee, said, “This is just the type of project ARPA funds should support. It will serve vulnerable families and individuals impacted by the pandemic and the housing crisis.”

Legislator Thomas Corcoran (Town of Marlborough, District 11), deputy chair of the ARPA Special Committee, states, “Ulster County has a critical housing need. The acquisition of the Elizabeth boarding house and providing for its renovation is a win for the neighborhood and win for the residents of Ulster County.” 

Legislator Abe Uchitelle (City of Kingston, District 5) states, “For far too long families in need of emergency housing have been ferried all around the region—often forced to seek shelter in hotels outside of Ulster County.” Uchitelle adds, “This purchase will reignite a century-old legacy of service at 21 Elizabeth Street and provide housing to many of those in our community who are most in need. It will keep families rooted in their community and connected to local-level services.” 

Legislator Laura Petit (Town of Esopus, District 8), chair of the Public Works, Capital Projects and Transportation Committee, shared, “To address housing insecurity, the county is committed to the adoption of supportive housing policies that will enable displaced families to return to permanent, stable homes.” Petit adds, “This project will convert a derelict property that is a blight on the neighborhood into safe, well-run housing units.”

Chair Tracey Bartels (Towns of Gardiner and Shawangunk, District 16) said, “This project represents the unified efforts of federal, state, county, and local leaders to address the housing crisis in Ulster County. The Legislature is committed to providing critical emergency housing to our county’s most vulnerable families and working in active partnership with the County Executive to deliver innovative housing solutions to the residents of Ulster County.”

Funding for the purchase and renovation of the 21 Elizabeth Street property emanates from congressman Antonio Delgado’s Direct Support for Communities Act, which passed last year as part of the American Rescue Plan. The Direct Support for Communities Act awarded nearly $34.5 million to Ulster County and $17 million to the City of Kingston to support local pandemic response and economic development projects.

One million dollars has been dedicated to renovating the former boarding house, with $500,000 coming from the City of Kingston ARPA funds, a $100,000 State and Municipal Facilities grant secured by New York State senator Michelle Hinchey, and the remainder in county bonds. New York State will cover all operating costs for the emergency housing facility when it opens its doors next year.