Housing improvements coming to Schenectady, New York, residents in need thanks to a $250,000 grant from KeyBank.

Seeking to support improved housing conditions, along with developing more affordable options to Schenectady, New York, residents in need, KeyBank provided a $250,000 to Better Neighborhoods, Inc. The funds will be used to support the organization’s efforts in Schenectady’s Eastern Avenue neighborhood.

Since 2017, Better Neighborhoods, Inc. has brought in around $1.7 million in grants to improve housing and expand services and operations to better meet the needs of the community. The KeyBank grant will enable Better Neighborhoods, Inc. to grow its Affordable Housing Development Operations, which support home renovations and accessibility modifications, property development and management, plus the development of a financial literacy program.

“Better Neighborhoods, Inc. is excited to work with KeyBank and the City of Schenectady, Metroplex and the Capital Region Land Bank to provide new, high-quality housing for Eastern Avenue residents with the help of KeyBank’s support,” said James Flacke, executive director, Better Neighborhoods, Inc. “BNI is providing homeowners with vital repairs and is building new apartments with our partners in order to revitalize this neighborhood. Without KeyBank’s support, Better Neighborhoods, Inc. could not make these important projects happen.”

According to Better Neighborhoods, Inc., citing the U.S. Census, approximately 41 percent, or about 7,800 of the 22,000 dwelling units in the City of Schenectady, have been identified as substandard. Furthermore, 60 percent of the city’s renters live in unaffordable homes, with nearly 40 percent spending more than 30 percent of their household income on housing.

“At KeyBank, we support organizations and programs that prepare individuals for thriving futures,” said Kelli Arnold, director of Corporate Responsibility and Community Engagement, KeyBank. “We understand that homeownership is a hallmark of our society and an important part of the economic engine of a community, which is why we are proud to partner with Better Neighborhoods to provide Schenectady residents with better access to affordable housing services.”

In addition to renovating existing homes and constructing new homes along Eastern Avenue, Better Neighborhoods, Inc. will be building 50 affordable apartments at the former St. Mary’s Church School.

“Improved housing is at the forefront of our neighborhood revitalization efforts to strengthen quality of life for the hard-working families of Schenectady,” said City of Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy. “These investments in our neighborhoods could not be possible without building strong relationships with our vital community partners. I would like to truly thank KeyBank, Better Neighborhoods Inc., and our entire unified economic development team for their commitment and dedication to our community.”