Hudson program improving local housing
Roger Hannigan Gilson reports for the Times Union that the local nonprofit Spark of Hudson has started a new initiative called HudsonDots, which "aims to ensure warm and welcoming homes for our community, stabilize rents, and create additional affordable housing." The group is not yet adding to the local housing stock in Hudson, but is improving current conditions. The organization has bought several properties of a major Hudson landlord and is renovating the units. Tenants are relocated to other newly renovated apartments, with the option of returning to the original units once work is completed. Landlord Phil Gellert sold Spark of Hudson seven buildings, with an eighth under contract. Gellert says he has sold 36 buildings over the years, and all but one buyer before this demanded that all tenants be evicted before the sale. Gellert said, "Buyers would insist that I would sell (the apartments) vacant and they would upgrade them, (but) then they would not rent to the same kind of working-class tenant that had been there.... This was the first time I ever sold a building of mine to somebody that made a serious effort to improve the lives of the people who lived there." Michelle Tullo, Hudson's housing justice director, said the initiative was "offering our residents housing stability while improving housing quality.... Over the past few years we've seen a lot of rental housing flipped and converted into vacation rentals or luxury apartments.... Not only is HudsonDots preventing displacement of residents, but it's upgrading the quality and gently increasing the rental housing supply." Read more about this story in the Times Union.