Affordable Housing Grants Worth $3.9 Million Awarded-RBJ Article-January 15, 2014

Affordable housing grants worth $3.9 million awarded
Andrea Deckert

Seven projects that will create or rehabilitate 324 residences in Monroe County have been awarded a total of $3.9 million in affordable housing grants from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.

The awards are below. The first four are located in the city:

A $1.5 million grant to the Isla Housing and Development Corp. to help finance the Harris Park Apartments project, which will rehabilitate 114 units of affordable housing;
A $710,000 grant to DePaul Properties Inc. to help finance the Carriage Factory project, which will convert a vacant warehouse into 71 affordable units of housing;
A $241,625 grant to the Providence Housing Development Corporation to help finance the Son House Apartments project, which will build 21 units of supportive housing for homeless individuals;
A $540,000 grant to Charles Settlement House Inc. to help finance the Stadium Estates project, which will build 45 affordable homes for low- and very low-income families;
A $750,000 grant to CDS Monarch to help finance the CDS Monarch Senior Living project, which will create 50 units of affordable housing for seniors in Webster;
A $71,200 grant to Heritage Christian Services Inc. to help finance the Railroad Mills project, which will rehabilitate a long-term supportive living facility for developmentally disabled adults in Pittsford;
A $123,500 grant to Goose II Housing Development Fund Corporation Inc. to help finance the Goose II Senior Apartments project, which will build 19 units of housing for very low-income seniors in West Henrietta.

“Recent media reports have highlighted the economic struggles in our area and these grants reinforce our commitment to address the critical need for affordable housing and economic revitalization in Rochester,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Perinton, in a statement.

Fighting for Them as They Fought for Us-Realtor Mag Article-September 11, 2013

Fighting for Them as They Fought for Us
Tracey C. Velt

Meet Good Neighbor Award Finalist Nick Manis, who gives hope to vets who are homeless or facing foreclosure and eviction.

Meet the 2013 Good Neighbor Award finalists
The Good Neighbor Awards recognize REALTORS® who are making an extraordinary impact through community service. We will profile one of our 10 finalists each day in our Daily News. Five of these finalists will be named winners and will receive $10,000 grants for their charities. They will also be welcomed into the Good Neighbor Society during NAR’s 2013 Conference & Expo in San Francisco. The five honorable mentions each receive $2,500 for their cause.
Starting Sept. 17, we will give our readers the chance to vote for their favorites. On Oct. 1, we will announce the “Web Choice” top vote-getter, along with the five winners of the $10,000 grants. The Web Choice winner will receive an additional grant of $500, whether they are chosen as a Good Neighbor honorable mention or a winner.
The Good Neighbor Awards is sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance.
The 23-year-old war veteran had a young daughter and was eight months pregnant. She was also losing her house to foreclosure and had nowhere to turn. In stepped the G.I. Go Fund, a nonprofit organization co-founded by Nick Manis, 32, which assists veterans with the transition back to civilian life. Manis uncovered a program through the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency that helped her refinance her mortgage so that she could keep her house.

“Had we not had Nick here as a REALTOR® able to handle these things, we may not have been able to help her,” says Jack Fanous, co-founder and executive director of the G.I. Go Fund.

Started in 2006, the G.I. Go Fund helps veterans with all facets of life, including securing government benefits and finding stable employment and housing. “We came up with the idea after losing a friend, Army Lieutenant Seth Dvorin, in Iraq,” says Manis, who co-founded the fund with his two brothers and two childhood friends.

“Some of these vets have been living in Iraq for three tours, and we expect them to incorporate themselves magically into society,” says Manis. “We help them navigate the process to make sure they get all the benefits they earned and deserve as quickly as possible.”

In 2009, the G.I. Go Fund partnered with Newark Mayor Cory Booker to create a nonprofit-run Veterans’ Center in Newark City Hall. “This allowed us to reach thousands more veterans than we were reaching on our own,” says Manis.

“I am proud of how the G.I. Go Fund manifests our love and support for the men and women who have given so much to protect the freedom and liberty we enjoy,” Booker says of the initiative.

The G.I. Go Fund excels at tapping into little-known funds and resources. “We pull the information together and learn how to access the help. Then we can assist the vets so they get what they need,” says Fanous. One need the organization sees all too often is housing security.

That was the boat Alex Pino found himself and his family in when he returned from combat. Pino served three tours in Iraq in before returning home in 2006. “I was married with two small children [now ages 7 and 10],” he says. “I was jobless and had no food to feed my family.” He also couldn’t pay rent, so “we were just about homeless.”

Then Pino heard about the G.I. Go Fund. “Nick and the guys gave my family what we needed to stay alive. From supermarket gift cards to job references to help paying my rent, they were there for me.”

Manis found rental assistance for Pino through a government housing assistance program. “They paid my rent for six months until I got on my feet,” says Pino, who secured a job with the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office within seven months of his return home. “I’ve been on that job for [almost] seven years and am in a much better situation, and I have Nick and the G.I. Go Fund to thank for getting me what I needed when I needed it.”

In addition to securing rental assistance, Manis helps with all facets of housing. Fanous remembers one family who refused to acknowledge that they might lose their home to foreclosure. “Nick broke it down by the numbers and [gently] counseled them. He told them about the short sale process and closed the transaction. They are happy now, and the vet volunteers for us,” says Fanous.

To date, the G.I. Go Fund has helped hundreds of families with housing issues. Through programs that Manis has pioneered, at least 38 families and individuals were saved from living on the streets.

On top of knowing the ins and outs of assistance programs, the key to the Fund’s success, says Manis, is that the founders don’t rely on the vets to come to them. At least three times a year, in the wee hours of the morning, Manis and other volunteers hit the streets, train stations, and bus stations, where they hand out care packages to anyone who is homeless. These “Midnight Missions” also serve to connect homeless vets with emergency Veterans Administration assistance.

Each year, the Midnight Missions program reaches at least 150 homeless people and helps at least 18 homeless vets find housing. “We are the first step toward getting them off the street,” says Manis. “Some of them get registered into a detox program; some are taken to get medical help. It gives us the opportunity to get them the benefits they qualify for but don’t know how to get,” says Manis, who adds that the process for getting these benefits can be time-intensive and sometimes intimidating.

To help vets with financial matters, Manis holds seminars at the VA office. During each seminar, he offers information about foreclosure options, saving for a home, and smart financial planning to audiences of about 100 vets.

Manis is passionate about teaching other REALTORS® about VA loans so they can help more vets. “Right now, when faced with a VA loan or a conventional loan, many sellers will choose conventional because they and their agents don’t understand how the VA works. Everyone should know the ins and outs of VA loans.”

For Manis, helping vets all boils down to brotherhood. “A reporter called us a ‘band of civilian brothers.’ This organization keeps our bond with the community strong, and we’re able to help those who have given everything to our country. It’s an awesome responsibility.”

A job that Manis and his band of civilian brothers are handling just fine. Pino agrees: “The G.I. Go Fund took care of me when I was ready to give up. I’m forever grateful.”

COMIDA Approves Tax Breaks on 3 Housing Projects-D&C Article-January 21, 2014

COMIDA approves tax breaks on 3 housing projects
Staff Reports

Three housing projects are going forward with the help of a series of tax breaks approved Tuesday by the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency.

Two of the projects involve renovation of aging downtown Rochester buildings into apartments: the Bevier Memorial Building on South Washington Street, and 155 and 169 Saint Paul St. Developers for both projects said they also are seeking out state and federal historic tax credits to help offset the millions being spent on the redevelopment plans.

COMIDA also approved a set of local tax breaks for construction of a $24.3 million senior housing apartment complex, Royal Highlands, on Hard Road at Picture Parkway in Webster.

Contractors Optimistic About 2014 Housing Market-The Daily Record Article-January 21, 2014

Contractors optimistic about 2014 housing market
Denise M. Champagne

The housing industry is back to the level it was at before the recession began in 2008, according to builders, real estate agents and lenders who Friday released 2013 year-end and fourth-quarter statistics. “Our president says things are pretty much back to normal,” said Rick Herman, executive vice president of Rochester Home Builders’ Association in Henrietta, …

Read more:

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV)

SU EBV-F Recruiting Poster

The Entrepr
eneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) is a one-of-a-kind initiative that leverages the skills, resources and infrastructure of higher education to offer cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veter
ans with service-related disabilities.


The next class is kicking off at  Syracuse University March 7 – 14, 2014.  The deadline to apply is February 1, 2014.  For more information and toapply, please visit,
Please share with your veterans and family members as appropriate.

Meeting to discuss removal of homeless from parking garage scheduled


sistergraceaThe Monroe County Civic Center garage LDC board will meet 10 a.m. Thursday at the Ebenezer Watts building to discuss a plan to remove homeless people living in the garage.

Richard Bell, contracting officer for the Civic Center LDC, said the purpose of the meeting is to discuss the possibility of contracting with a security company to conduct sweeps of the garage and remove anyone who is living there.

“It is a matter of negotiation. All we’re doing is recommending to the board to authorize a contract with someone,” Bell said. “There is no date set in stone (but) it will be soon enough.”

Homeless advocates and shelter leaders also plan to attend the meeting and protest the plan to remove people living in the structure during the winter.

Nov. 2: Homeless face losing refuge in county garage

“I’m afraid we’re going to hear that someone froze to death outside,”said Sister Grace Miller, of the House of Mercy homeless shelter, on the possibility of homeless being put out during the winter.

The garage was privatized in 2003 and is owned by Civic Center Monroe County Local Development Corp., a nonprofit company. Miller said local homeless and shelter leaders have been meeting with city and county representatives for months to find a solution to the issue.

“We’re pleading with the city and the county and the LDC board to please work with us,” Miller said. “We’re all willing to work together with them to make this building that we need for the homeless a reality.”

Darryl Johnston, of Rochester, lives at the House of Mercy is one of at least a dozen homeless who plan to attend the meeting Thursday.


“I’m fighting for homelessness. I’m homeless,” Johnston said. “I can just imagine that if I did sleep in the garage and they threw me out in the cold, what would happen. We’re here to stand up for what we think is right.”


NEWS RELEASE-Rochester welcomes the announcement of The Housing Council at PathStone, Inc.

September 13, 2013
Contact: Sue Boss
Phone: 585-546-3700 Ext. 3022

Rochester welcomes the announcement of The Housing Council at PathStone, Inc.

The two organizations join together to meet ever-growing housing need.

ROCHESTER, NY (September 13, 2013) – The Board of Directors of The Housing Council and PathStone Corporation announced a permanent affiliation between the two organizations, effective October 1, 2013, at a press conference on Friday. The creative, mission-driven partnership enhances both organizations’ abilities to offer quality housing related services to communities throughout Western New York.

Aligned in their missions, both The Housing Council and PathStone Corporation view homeownership and access to safe, decent, affordable rental housing as cornerstones in supporting strong, self-sufficient families and developing vibrant communities. With a rich history in Rochester, NY, The Housing Council served over 8,000 households last year through a wide array of services, including: landlord education, foreclosure prevention, pre-purchase counseling, emergency housing services and fair housing education.

Complementing the services provided by The Housing Council, PathStone Corporation operates a number of programs designed to increase the number of homeowners among low-to moderate- income families, including first-time homebuyer education and counseling, financial education and foreclosure prevention. The affiliation between the organizations will reduce competition for funding, increase service area, improve program performance and reduce administrative overhead. “These two organizations are important community assets and we know that this new collaboration will allow them to thrive and even more effectively offer service to the people of our community,” said Peter Carpino, president of United Way of Greater Rochester.
“Rochester and its surrounding neighbors are fortunate to benefit from a great many agencies with a mission of helping citizens live healthy and productive lives,” said Mayor Thomas S. Richards. “Part of that mission includes connecting people with housing that is safe and affordable. The new affiliation between PathStone and The Housing Council—two incredible partners in our community—will result in stronger programs, reaching more people across a larger geographic area.”
The negotiations and due diligence process between The Housing Council and PathStone Corporation were supported by the United Way of Greater Rochester’s Synergy Fund. Through a grant from the fund, the United Way engaged the professional services of the New York Council on Nonprofits (NYCON) to serve as a neutral third-party facilitator, as well as to provide legal services.

Susan Boss will serve as Executive Director of The Housing Council at PathStone, Inc. “Ms. Boss has worked for PathStone Corporation for more than 15 years, serving as the director of the PathStone First-Time Home Buyer and Mortgage Foreclosure Counseling programs,” stated Stuart J. Mitchell, PathStone president & CEO. “She brings a wealth of direct program knowledge to The Housing Council at PathStone, Inc. and has served as an excellent bridge builder between the two organizations throughout the last year.”

“With the support of both boards, dedicated staff and the United Way of Greater Rochester, the affiliation process went very smoothly,” said Boss. “By combining the strengths of two organizations with similar missions, we are able to enhance and expand housing-related services within the Rochester community. Rather than duplicating efforts, we are serving more individuals than we ever would be able to do independently.”

About The Housing Council
The Housing Council is a Rochester, NY based non-profit organization, providing landlord education, foreclosure prevention, pre-purchase counseling, emergency housing services and fair housing education. It is one of New York State’s largest HUD-approved comprehensive counseling agencies.

About PathStone
PathStone is a Rochester, NY based non-profit community development and human services organization, that provides services to low-income families and economically distressed communities throughout New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, Vermont, and Puerto Rico. It is a NeighborWorks America Chartered Organization and a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).


For more information contact:

Sue Boss
Phone: 585-546-3700 Ext. 3022