KINGSTON – Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced Thursday that Ulster County is acquiring the former Elizabeth Manor boarding house at 21 Elizabeth Street in Kingston, and will add much-needed emergency housing capability for Ulster County’s most vulnerable residents and families. Building on the Ulster County Housing Action Plan recommendation to increase the supply of supportive and transitional housing, the County Executive and Ulster County Legislature are working to solve the need for permanent, affordable housing with several large-scale projects over the next several years. The acquisition of the former Elizabeth Manor is part of the County’s overarching housing strategy, which also includes the redevelopment of the site of the former Ulster County Jail at Golden Hill and the former Quality Inn on Route 28 in the Town of Ulster.
“Far too many families across our county are struggling to find safe and affordable housing, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Here in Ulster County, we are stepping up and taking action: buying and renovating the former Elizabeth Manor site to preserve one of the last remaining bastions of safety and support for our most vulnerable residents. This project will provide quality housing for dozens of our most vulnerable residents and ensure this site doesn’t become another casualty of the wave of gentrification that is displacing so many of our residents,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “This project is part of a broader strategy to address the urgent need for permanent, affordable housing with several large-scale projects over the next few years. I want to thank Congressman Delgado for his leadership on this issue at the federal level, and extend my gratitude to Senator Hinchey and Mayor Noble for contributing to the funding of the purchase and renovation of the former Elizabeth Manor, as well as to our community stakeholders for their partnership.”
Ulster County is purchasing the former Elizabeth Manor using $700,000 in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds. The building’s renovation is being funded with $100,000 in State and Municipal Facilities Grant (SAM) funding through Senator Michelle Hinchey and $500,000 in ARPA funding through the City of Kingston, and County bonds. The property will be developed to meet the needs of approximately 27-35 Ulster County residents. Operating costs for the family shelter will be met by New York State.
The County Executive’s Office has met with members of the Kingston Interfaith Council and other community members on issues involving emergency housing, and this project reflects the needs identified in those meetings.
Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “As we work toward long-term solutions to address the housing crisis in Ulster County, it is incumbent that families experiencing homelessness have access to holistic, community-centered support. I’m proud to deliver state funding as part of a collective effort to transform the vacant Elizabeth Manor building into service-forward transitional housing. Having this supportive housing located right in Midtown Kingston is a major step forward in keeping families rooted in their community and connected to local-level assistance, and I look forward to supporting the completion of this critical project. I thank Ulster County for its vision and leadership in working to solve the affordable housing crisis, and I will continue fighting for the large-scale state investments we need to bring more permanent housing into our communities.”
“County Executive Pat Ryan and the Ulster County Legislature recognize that assuring adequate housing for every resident of Ulster County is essential for the security of those most in need. The upgrading of Elizabeth Manor, long an important part of that equation, now with direct county participation, will help make other parts of the support network more readily available. Working with the Executive, Mayor Steve Noble, Senator Michelle Hinchey and Congressman Antonio Delgado, we will continue to work toward that humane goal,” said Assemblymember Kevin A. Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess).
“Supporting emergency housing in the City of Kingston is an excellent opportunity to invest our American Rescue Plan funding at this critical juncture,” Kingston Mayor Steve Noble said. “This is one important step in a number of actions the City of Kingston is taking to bolster affordable and workforce housing. Thank you to the County for their leadership in this endeavor, and we look forward to a great partnership in reinvigorating Elizabeth Manor with such a positive purpose. It’s so important for children to be closer to their schools and to keep families together when in an emergency housing situation.”
“I’m excited that Ulster County is taking the remarkable step of purchasing the former Elizabeth Manor,” said Rashida Tyler, Founder of The Real Kingston Tenants Union and Co-Founder of the Ulster County Coalition for Housing Justice. “It is a positive step toward stemming the tide of displacement of vulnerable children and families from Kingston. When the property was put up for sale there was a very real fear that yet another property that historically served the poor would be lost. To be clear, this investment in housing is not only morally right but economically sound. It will help counter the destabilizing impact of the housing and homelessness crisis in our community, which will benefit us all in the long term. Housing is a basic human right and the foundation of any community.”
In March 2021, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan released the Ulster County Housing Action Plan. Through a partnership with the Ulster County Legislature, the plan called for an increase in the supply of supported and transitional housing.
In August 2021, County Executive Pat Ryan announced that through a partnership with RUPCO, Family of Woodstock and Catholic Charities of Ulster, Sullivan, and Orange, the Quality Inn on Route 28 in the Town of Ulster, will be renovated to provide 81 apartments with kitchen and other amenities to help address the critical need to provide housing to those most vulnerable. In addition, wrap-around services including health and mental health care, career counseling and job training, childcare and support for finding permanent housing will be provided at the site.
In November 2020, County Executive Ryan announced that the Ulster County Housing Development Corporation (UCHDC), formed in August 2020, had released designs for a new neighborhood of mixed income, intergenerational and workforce housing on the site of the former County jail on top of Golden Hill. The concept plan calls for 80 units of senior housing and 80 units of workforce housing that are affordable at a range of 30 to 130 percent of area median income.