HUD Funding Sparks Innovative Educational Facility and Rebirth of Albany Neighborhood
Albany Field Office Director Jaime Forero joined Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings; Steve Longo, Executive Director of the Albany Housing Authority; Harris Oberlander, Executive Director of the Trinity Alliance of the Capital District; Carolyn McLaughlin, President of Albany's Common Council; and over 50 partners to break ground on the Capital South Campus Center (Campus Center), a three-story facility for higher education and employment readiness located in the city's South End neighborhood.
The Campus Center is a unique partnership among higher education, business and service provider partners, and grassroots stakeholders. The Campus Center will provide education, training and employment opportunities, and was funded by a $4.98 million grant from HUD, with matching funds from the Albany Housing Authority. The Center, which will be operated by Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, will contain classrooms, a multi-science lab, a computer lab, offices for intake, assessment, early intervention counseling, a drop-in daycare center, and a student café and lounge.
The Campus Center is expected to be a dynamic place to visit, with programs and activities taking place seven-days-a- week, from early morning to evening. Visitors will be able to access the intake and service center, job seekers will be provided employment assistance, students will work at their on-line courses in the computer lab, children will be able to stay in the drop-in day care center, and a vibrant offering of cultural events will be available evenings and weekends. Of particular importance, teens from the South End, and neighboring areas, will attend programs provided by long-standing and experienced community groups, as well as local schools, and have first-hand exposure to the stimulating academic environment of higher education. The long term goal is to raise the median income for families in the city of Albany through successful higher education degree completion and workforce entry at commensurate wages.
"Congratulations to all our partners that made the Capital South Campus Center project a reality, said Forero. "HUD has no higher mission than supporting local visions that seek to transform distressed communities into neighborhoods of opportunity, which is exactly the goal of this initiative. We are proud to be part of this collaboration not only because it represents a true public-private partnership, but also because it focused on those elements that will truly revitalize the South End Neighborhood: education, jobs, quality housing, child care and youth training." Forero also thanked HUD Buffalo Public Housing Director Lisa Pugliese and her team for their critical role in securing the competitive grant.
The Campus Center is being built on vacant land at Lincoln Square Homes, a public housing site owned by the Albany Housing Authority that is slated to be replaced with a mix of educational buildings, along with commercial and residential housing. The site is considered an underutilized nexus of several sub-neighborhoods that comprise the city's South End. The Campus Center is intended to unite these sub-neighborhoods, as well as offer easy access to higher education to all residents of Albany, especially those of other underserved neighborhoods of Arbor Hill and West Hill.