KINGSTON, NY - Ulster County, in partnership with RUPCO and the City of Kingston, announced today a $1.75 million dollar award from the New York State Homes and Community Renewal to help implement the Plus One Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Program, adapted locally as the Ulster County “Plus One Home Program.”
The Plus One Home Program provides funding to create new code-compliant Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU). Homeowners that meet the low and moderate-income threshold (i.e., earning 100% or less of Ulster County Area Media Income) can apply to receive up to $125,000 dollars for the construction or rehabilitation of an ADU. In exchange, the property owner will agree to rent the apartment at an affordable rate for a minimum of 10 years. The program will also provide a one-stop hub for assisting interested homeowners in the financing, designing, and permitting of an ADU. The Program will be launched and accepting applications in the summer of 2023.
The term Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) refers to all forms of additional units on residential properties and may be either attached (internal) to the primary residence (e.g., basement apartment) or detached (external) from the primary residence (e.g., garage conversion, cottage). Among many other benefits, ADUs can provide rental income to homeowners and offer an affordable way for renters to live in residential neighborhoods or can help older residents “age in place.”
The Program is part of Ulster County’s broader effort to address housing issues that includes:
1) Improving access to housing through first-time homebuyer assistance and funding for affordable housing projects;
2) Improving the quality of existing housing through rehabilitation of both rental and owner-occupied housing;
3) Addressing barriers to the creation of housing through the Housing Smart Communities Initiative aimed at local land use controls;
4) Investment in housing-related infrastructure (water, sewer, roads) that allows projects to move forward;
5) Making available County owned properties for housing development; and
6) Utilizing tax-foreclosed properties to provide homeownership opportunities for low and moderate-income families.
"I am thrilled about this new County initiative to support the construction of accessory dwellings in communities with ADU-friendly zoning," says Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger. "It's truly a double-win, helping to expand the supply of housing people can afford while providing homeowners living on fixed and modest incomes an additional source of income. These are the innovative kinds of solutions we need to address the housing crisis our County faces while expanding opportunities for our residents."
"This program is an exciting opportunity to highlight the importance of ADUs in helping address our housing crisis while working to meet our climate goals,” says Chair of the County Legislature Tracey Bartels. “We look forward to working closely with the City of Kingston and RUPCO to demonstrate the power of government and non-profit partnerships. We hope this program will serve as a catalyst for the development of affordable ADUs across our county for years to come."
“We are pleased to be at the forefront of this new initiative to create accessory dwelling units along with our partners. Hopefully, we will demonstrate the success that ADUs can have for both homeowners and tenants,” says Kevin O’Connor, RUPCO Chief Executive Officer.
“Kingston welcomes the development of new accessory dwelling units. The Plus One Home Program has big potential to fill a gap in our housing stock and provide much-needed housing choices for Kingston residents. The small properties that will be supported by this grant program could be life-changing for our residents. We look forward to working with the County and RUPCO on implementing this important program,” says Kingston Mayor Steve Noble.
Benefits of ADUs
As part of the project team’s continued work to address the housing crisis, this program will increase the supply of workforce and affordable housing in Ulster County. In recognition of the nation’s historically unjust and discriminatory housing practices and the ongoing negative correlations between race, ethnicity, wealth, and homeownership, the Plus One Home Program will also focus on expanding access to equity-building tools (i.e., secondary rental apartments) for low and moderate-income homeowners with an emphasis on supporting historically disadvantaged communities and in locations with existing water and sewer infrastructure.
The Plus One Home Program will support the County and State’s goal of reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Secondary apartment units generally use less building materials, energy, and land compared to traditional home construction. When built in or near towns and village centers, ADUs can also provide more opportunities for walking, biking, and access to public transit services when compared to traditional single-family homes.
Plus One Home Design Competition
As part of the program launch, a Design Competition will be held to develop low-cost and sustainable ADU building plans that homeowners can use and create interest among community members. The Design Competition will be a community-led design effort in partnership with community organizations, local architecture firms, and the building trades community. The design competition will be funded in part by the City of Kingston’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
The Program will be launched and accepting applications in the Summer of 2023. The program will run for approximately two years with the hope that the initial funding from the State can be used to catalyze the development of a permanent countywide ADU Program to serve residents over the long term.