Ulster Habitat Attracts a Crowd, Unveils New Development

Saugerties, New York.  June 11th, 2024.  Ulster County Habitat for Humanity’s Open House attracted over 100 people.  This is their second annual open house in partnership with the Kingston Design Connection.  Before being sold to a new homeowner, junior designers decorated and furnished the indoor and outdoor spaces with furniture and decor from the Ulster Habitat ReStore to showcase their work.  Attendees were able to tour this staged home, with the majority of the furnishings being available for purchase in the ReStore in the next few weeks.

The Open House was typical of homes built by Ulster Habitat and showcased the seventh home built in the Glasco Ponds development (and twenty-third lifetime to date).  At 1,300 square feet, this 3 bed 2 bath ranch style home is smaller than most new homes built today.  However, the designers show that it is both livable and beautiful.

Across the street, guests toured the next Ulster Habitat home currently under construction and scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.  Ulster Habitat’s CEO, Christine Brady LaValle gave a speech unveiling plans for a new development, completely built by Ulster Habitat, including infrastructure.

An extension of Jeffrey Court in Saugerties, the new development, aptly named Hope Springs, will consist of ten units of owner-occupied affordable housing.  Homes will be sold to qualifying families making between 50% and 80% of Area Median Income, at a subsidized price.  Currently scheduled to break ground in October of this year, the Hope Springs project will be taking applications for new families in 2025.  This is a leap forward for the organization, and critical to serving more families.

In addition to the new development, Christine talked about the struggles many homebuyers face in Ulster County.  Many of the people Ulster Habitat serves are essential workers.  Past and current applicants have included managers for big box stores, nurses, retail workers, education paraprofessionals, and others critical to our community.  With the significant cost of housing in our area, many of these families are paying well in excess of 30% of their income towards rent.  Eventually, they often are forced to leave the area, which is a problem felt by all too many businesses facing staffing shortages.

Ulster Habitat provides these families – on whom our community depends – the ability to own a home and put down roots.  For these families, home ownership is transformational.  It allows people to be able to become more involved in their communities, provide stability to their children, and begin to build a future.

Ulster Habitat’s mission extends beyond building homes.  Christine talked about the advocacy that takes place and the belief of the organization that healthy, safe, affordable homes are the foundation for people and communities to thrive.  With the NYS and National Habitat network, Christine, representing Ulster Habitat, regularly meets with local, state, and federal representatives to advocate for fair and equitable housing policy and practice and to express support for programs that provide funding for housing programs, including education, down payment assistance, foreclosure prevention, and access to credit.

 In closing, she also thanked a variety of partners including Open House Sponsor Hayes Clement, Associate Broker for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties.  She and her staff were available to answer questions and encourage reaching out for more info.  I

Ulster Habitat is a nonprofit located on Route 28 in Kingston, NY.  It was started in 1996 as an all-volunteer organization dedicated to the idea that everyone deserves a place to call home.  Since then, the organization has grown to include numerous full-time staff and has built or renovated 24 houses in Ulster County.  Houses are sold for a subsidized price to working families who otherwise are unable to afford their own home.  Ulster Habitat is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International.