Stel Awarded $790K to Develop Supportive Housing Units in Chautauqua County


Article Contributed by
Office of the Chautauqua County Executive

Southern Tier Environments for Living, Inc. (STEL) recently received two conditional awards from New York State to develop 35 supportive housing units in Chautauqua County through its Dunkirk Renovation and Ownership Program and proposed Gateway Lofts project.

The awards were recently announced by New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. They are part of his Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI), which is a $2.6 billion, five-year plan to develop 6,000 units of supportive housing across the state.

STEL’s Dunkirk Renovation and Ownership Program is a multifamily affordable housing project that will be located at various sites in the eastern portion of the City of Dunkirk. It will involve the new construction of 11 buildings and the rehabilitation of 14 existing one and two-family houses to create a total of 49 units of affordable rental housing for low income individuals and families. Of these 49 units, the award provides $165,000 for 10 units for homeless individuals with serious mental illness.

“By receiving this funding, it will allow the 10 ESSHI units in our Dunkirk project to be affordable for households with incomes at or below 30 percent of the area median income,” said Thomas Whitney, Executive Director of STEL. “We anticipate closing on the construction loan for this project by the end of the year with construction starting soon after.”

STEL was also awarded funding for its proposed Gateway Lofts project, which is still in the planning phase. This is a multifamily affordable housing project that would be located in Jamestown and include 74 housing units. Of these units, the award provides $625,000 for 25 units for individuals who are homeless and have a serious mental illness or a substance use disorder with a history of criminal offending or are at risk of offending. The project would be a collaboration among STEL, Community Helping Hands Inc., and Chautauqua County’s Department of Mental Hygiene and Department of Corrections.

“All 25 of the ESSHI units for the proposed project in Jamestown would be affordable for households with incomes at or below 50 percent of area median income and under this funding it would create affordable units for households with incomes at or below 30 percent,” said Whitney. “These ESSHI units are intended to be an alternative to incarceration. We have not secured all of our capital funds for this project, but New York State Senator Catharine Young has been an important asset in helping us achieve funding for this project.”

“Increasing the number of supportive housing units in Chautauqua County has been one of my key priorities,” said Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan. “These awards will help provide support services to individuals who are facing homelessness and struggling with mental illnesses or drug addiction. It will also help keep rent affordable for them as they get the services they need.”

Support services that would be provided through each of these projects include care management services, employment services, linkages with community providers, supportive counseling, and assistance in daily living skills development.

“This award is the result of a strong collaboration and advocacy between the participating community partners,” said Patricia Brinkman, Community Mental Hygiene Services Director of the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene. “Access to safe and affordable housing is essential for anyone in the recovery process. The creation of a supportive housing community will enhance the potential for residents to be successful in their recovery.”

Southern Tier Environments for Living, Inc. is a private, non-profit agency dedicated to providing rehabilitative and support services for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. Its mission is to assist people by promoting mental health wellness and creating environments where individuals can develop essential abilities to live and function productively and independently in society.

For more information about STEL, visit