Elizabethtown, NY —The Housing Assistance Program of Essex County (HAPEC) will build six affordable apartments in Wilmington after being awarded $1.3 million through a competitive New York State funding opportunity. The group will use an award from the Small Rural Development Initiative to build three duplex houses on a vacant lot on Route 86. The development, to be known as the Homestead Housing Project, will serve individuals and families earning at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). In 2023, an Essex County family of four could earn up to $64,950 to be eligible for the resulting apartments. The apartments are expected to be ready for occupancy by spring 2025.
“We’re grateful to New York State for recognizing our severe housing shortage and awarding this funding,” said Megan Murphy, director of HAPEC. “And we’re excited to partner with the Town of Wilmington on this project, which will help individuals and families struggling to find affordable housing put down roots in our community.”
The Town of Wilmington will buy the 10.6-acre parcel and transfer just the land for the rental units to HAPEC, which will build two one-story duplexes and one two-story duplex.
“Like every other community in the Adirondacks, Wilmington doesn’t have enough homes that are affordable for working people,” said Roy Holzer, Town of Wilmington supervisor. “These apartments are an important step in making sure people at all income levels can call Wilmington home.”
The apartments answer a pressing need for more affordable long-term rentals. According to a study completed earlier this year by Asterhill Research, the number of renter-occupied housing units in Wilmington has fallen by 33% since 2010. But that’s not because of a lack of demand: if including Lake Placid and Jay, the market could support 82 additional rental units for families at 80% of AMI or lower.
Construction on the project is expected to start next year. Each unit will have two bedrooms, and a washer and dryer. The factory-built homes will be installed by a local contractor. The homes will conform to green building standards and include energy-efficient heat pumps, power-saving Energy Star appliances and light bulbs and other eco-friendly features. Each driveway will be ready to install an electric vehicle charging station. Murphy anticipates that HAPEC will develop additional units, possibly single-family homes, on the remainder of the buildable property that can support housing. Wilmington plans to incorporate community access on the property near the river and wetlands.
To learn more about this project, check out this Adirondack Explorer story by Tim Rowland at this link.
About HAPEC: For more than 45 years, the Housing Assistance Program of Essex County (HAPEC) has been dedicated to building vital and sustainable communities by helping individuals and families put down roots and stay in the North Country. HAPEC develops and preserves quality, affordable housing and helps community members obtain and maintain safe, secure homes through education, advocacy and support services.
Photo at top: Wilmington Supervisor Roy Holzer at the town-owned property targeted for workforce housing. Photo by Tim Rowland.