The word “green” takes our minds in many directions, depending on whether you are a golfer, a banker, a frog, or someone who thinks about producing real results, while sustaining the natural resources of our planet. To the Capital District Community Loan Fund (CDCLF), “lending the green” to non-profits developing green, affordable housing was a no-brainer. But the price tag for being green can pose issues, especially in terms of our biggest lifetime purchase - the roof over our heads.
Translate that into the realm of “affordable housing” for low-income populations, and the challenge can be even more daunting. Unless of course, the challenge is met by individuals who for decades have put their talents, energies and concerns into providing safe, affordable housing for that very same population. That exact synergy occurred when Ed August, Executive Director of Better Neighborhoods, Bev Burnett, Executive Director of the Community Land Trust of Schenectady, Inc., and Ann Petersen, Homeownership Coordinator for the City of Schenectady Department of Development, joined forces in their usual mission, but with a new twist. Having served together on the City-sponsored “Think Green Committee”, the leaders from the three organizations began discussing the development of a proto-type single-family home, to be constructed and sold in the affordable housing industry.
CDCLF provided $80,000 for the construction of this collaborative effort to build the first Universal Design (adapted to the needs of the disabled and elderly), LEED Platinum-rated, super-energy efficient, affordable housing in New York State. High priority was also given to having the house design be reflective of the historic character of the neighborhood and to keeping the monthly maintenance costs down for low-income, first-time home buyers. An added goal achieved was to create a proto-type that could be reproduced in communities across the country, especially within the City of Schenectady and New York State.