UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Earlier this morning, “PeopleFirst” – formerly known as the Utica Municipal Housing Authority – held a press conference to unveil ‘IMPACT Utica,’ a development initiative beginning with the Chancellor Apartments right on Bleeker Street.
IMPACT Utica is a multi-phase endeavor that will, according to Executive Director of PeopleFirst, Robert Calli, will, “Address an acute need within our community and enhance the quality of life of the people we serve.”
This redevelopment plan has been in the works for nearly two years now and will work to create relationships between PeopleFirst agents, and citizens who need housing services within the Utica community.
“When they first brought their concerns to me about the building, they’d heard scare stories from other developments of people being removed from their homes,” said Councilperson Katie Aiello of the First Ward of Utica.
She continued, “When I actually called Bob Calli, they didn’t even bat an eye, they were completely open to any feedback and they were so quick to say, ‘we hear your concerns, here’s why you don’t have to be.’”
“And I’ve seen even my constituents and the tenants in this building just do a full 180.”
Eyewitness News reporter Lauren Brill provided an update last week on the current housing needs in Utica, based on a recent study.
It found that at least one-third of Utica residents are spending too much on rent, based on their household income.
And while that in itself is an issue, today’s press conference focused on specific housing plans for the Chancellor Apartments – set to be a spot for the elderly and disabled – and the warehouse at 700 Broad Street – set to be a mix of residential occupants between the elderly and people aged 18 to 24.
And it is important to note that although the price may be right, and they fall within the age range, this affordable housing will not be meant for, say, the recent college graduate.
“There is always flexibility in criteria, but the primary focus is those who are lost and in need,” said Robert Calli. “Could there be a secondary purpose served by the population base that you just mentioned? The answer is yes.”
He continued, “But you know, we have to make sure that we take care of the vulnerable, and so the primary focus and priority will be to address the vulnerability of those individuals who are in the age range between 18 and 24.”
For more information on these projects, please visit peoplesfirstny.org.