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State grants $700k to improve Helen Hill Apartments

Helen Hill apartments on Helen and Front streets will receive major upgrades, from new windows to new roofs, thanks to to a state affordable housing grant. (Enterprise photo -- Glynis Hart)

SARANAC LAKE — As part of a statewide push to increase affordable housing stock, Helen Hill Apartments will receive $700,000 for renovations to 12 units.

The Helen Hill Apartments consists of one one-bedroom, seven two-bedroom and four three-bedroom apartments across two buildings. In October 2013, Adirondack Housing Development Corporation took over management of the buildings at 47 Front St. and 25 Helen St. The buildings had been owned jointly by Massachusetts-based Michel Associates LTD and ComLinks until ComLinks, a Malone-based charity organization, shut down in 2012 and Michel Associates took over sole ownership. Michel Associates still owns the buildings, but the new grant may allow AHDC to buy them.

“We have been waiting to hear about this for some time,” said AHDC Executive Director Sarah Clarkin. “We’re thrilled. If all goes well, we hope to start work this summer.”

Although AHDC renovated the apartments in 2013, this grant will allow for more extensive renovations, including new roofs, new paving outdoors, outdoor lighting and new boilers.

The 12 apartments are all fully occupied. Rents depend on a number of factors, but range from about $530 for a one-bedroom to $850 for something larger.

“It’s a wonderful resource within walking distance of downtown,” said Clarkin. “This complex provides quality housing for those in the low-to-moderate range.”

The funds were available through New York State Homes & Community Renewal’s 2017 Unified Funding Application, a streamlined process to apply for Low Income Housing Tax Credits and low-interest loans for affordable, multi-family developments. Projects are funded in every region of the state, totaling $200 million for building or repairing 2,800 affordable apartments.

The state’s $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan is meant to make housing accessible and combat homelessness by building and preserving 112,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing. The plan includes multi-family and single-family housing, community development and rent stabilization.

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