BALLSTON SPA – A mural of monarchs and other butterflies flying over flowers was the backdrop of RISE Housing and Support Services’ press conference in its newly-constructed affordable and transitional housing complex Thursday.
For about the past two years, the organization has been constructing an approximately $21 million, 60-unit apartment complex at 11 Dominic Drive, just off Routes 50 and 67 in Ballston Spa, called Dominic Hollow. On Thursday the organization, along with many other officials and people involved in the project, held a ribbon cutting ceremony in celebration of the project’s completion.
Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus said the completion of the project is a “celebration of a dream come true.”
“Saratoga County’s economy has been strong and growing for over five decades now because we’ve made smart investments in infrastructure and things that we needed to bring more people here, create more economic opportunity, today that challenge is – the number one – is housing,” Shimkus said. “We want more people to be able to live and work in Saratoga County and this project here today represents a big step forward in making that possible.”
Half of the 60 units are dedicated to affordable housing.
Rent is based on household size and annual income that is 50% or 60% of the area median income. So, a single household making between $28,480 and $37,100 could get an apartment at $658 a month. Heat, hot water and air conditioning are all included in the rent, according to RISE’s website.
RISE Executive Director Sybil Newell said they had 150 people apply for one of the 30 affordable housing units available, and had to do a lottery to help determine who would get a unit.
“Despite the efforts to bring more affordable housing to this county there’s still a huge need to be filled in that area,” Newell said.
The complex also consists of 18 units that are designated for people with mental health or substance use concerns. Another 12 units are for people with psychiatric disabilities.
The supportive housing units come furnished, Newell said during a tour of the building.
Two-thirds of the complex is one-bedroom units, which Newell said was what the organization was finding as the biggest need. She said only a handful of apartments are left to be filled.
“It’s been such a pleasure to hand over sets of new keys to residents knowing that we’re providing them not only with an affordable place to live, but a safe, secure and beautiful place to live,” she said.
The building also includes a small playground, gym, on-site parking and a community room with a kitchen.
Newell said now that the building is complete and residents have moved in, the organization’s focus will turn to supporting those residents.
On move-in day in April, Newell said nine people moved from the Code Blue shelter to support housing in the complex.
“These individuals had a very hard winter and when they moved in they had almost nothing with them, they were struggling to get through each day,” she said.
However, she said people have made tremendous progress, including noting one of the people even became an employee of RISE.
“We’ve seen people committed to getting sober,” she said. “We’ve seen people reconnecting with family members. We’ve seen them bringing in other people, friends, to get connected to our services and we have seen them volunteering their time to give back to the community already.”
The project received a $5.6 million financing award from the state in 2021.
Reporter Shenandoah Briere can be reached at [email protected].