Improving Lives & Communities

Hudson River Housing improves lives and communities through housing with compassion and development with vision.

We are dedicated to building strong, sustainable communities by developing and preserving quality affordable housing and helping families and individuals obtain and maintain housing through education, advocacy and support services. We affirm that housing is a basic human right that should be available to all, regardless of income, family makeup, physical or mental health issues, or any other defining factors.

We work towards inclusive neighborhood revitalization by leveraging affordable housing and community building as critical tools, creating long-term opportunity for individuals and families and building greater socio-economic resilience in the City of Poughkeepsie and throughout Dutchess County and the greater Hudson Valley.

What drives our staff, donors and volunteers is a passion to create affordable homes for all and to instill the sense of pride and achievement that comes from having a home of your own and being part of a vibrant community.

Our work extends throughout the Hudson Valley, where we assist people of all ages and communities of all types and sizes. As long as people need a place to call home and long for a sense of community, our work will continue.

Our History

1970

1970s and 1980s Solving Immediate Needs with Homeless Services

In the 1970s, rural and urban Dutchess County was experiencing rising levels of homelessness. By the early 1980s the matter became acute and a Dutchess County Task Force was formed to address the growth in the homeless population. In 1982, Hudson River Housing (HRH) was incorporated with a focus on providing Resident Services for the homeless. Starting with a staff that consisted of three people they embarked on the first Hudson River Housing project when they opened the doors on Gannett House, an emergency shelter for homeless families, backed by The Dutchess County Department of Social Services and the Gannett Foundation. At Hudson River Housing providing emergency shelter is always the first and most immediate need, then care managers begin to address the issues that lead to homelessness .

1987

Late 1980s-Early 1990s Creating Pathways to Home Ownership

In the late 1980s, Hudson River Housing adopted Dutchess County Coalition for the Homeless (DCCH) a program run by volunteers. Then and now volunteers amplify what our staff can do and carry our mission out into the community. It is their commitment that fuels our mission. In 1988, New York State designated HRH as a Neighborhood Preservation Company. The roles of these not-for-profit companies includes, housing rehabilitation, home buyer counseling, tenant counseling, landlord/tenant mediation, community rehabilitation and renewal, crime watch programs, employment programs, legal assistance, and Main Street Development.

Like many of the New York State’s more than 200 Neighborhood Preservation Companies, Hudson River Housing is also involved in the planning and development of capital projects including new construction and/or rehabilitation of older housing stock. Companies perform this work with the assistance of governmental sources and leveraged funds from the private sector.

1990

1990s – Real Estate Development, Home Ownership Promotion, and Property Management

By the 1990s, HRH knew that there were not enough homes to house the homeless and we needed to develop affordable housing for those moving out of emergency shelters. In 1991 we began Real Estate Development, breaking ground on our first homeownership project in Poughkeepsie.

Poughkeepsie offered potential for affordable apartments through the rehabilitation of existing properties. Hudson River Housing added Property Management to our roster of activities in 1992.

1995

Mid-1990s – Community Development – Revitalizing Poughkeepsie’s Northside

In the mid-1990s, Hudson River Housing was growing (approx # of employees) and so were our goals. In 1996 we began targeted Community Development with the Anchor-Based Neighborhood Revitalization (ABNR) initiative. We made a commitment to revitalize a three block area of Poughkeepsie’s Northside.

Economic pressures grew in Dutchess County in the second half of the 1990s with the downsizing of IBM, the passing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (aka Welfare Reform) and the rapid increase of foreign-born residents to Poughkeepsie. Our services were in greater demand and we continued helping the homeless and providing opportunities for low and moderate income residents, young adults and seniors to stay in the area. In 1997 we added Homeownership Promotion to our services and in 1998 founded “The First Home Club” – a savings program for homeownership.The continuum of services was growing increasing and succeeding.

2000

Early 2000s – Adding Youth Programs, Commitment to Downtown Poughkeepsie and Expansion of Gannett House

The new millennium dawned in Dutchess County with a dramatic rise in population and rents. Rental housing vacancy rates dropped from 34% in the previous decade to 5% for the first time. Since 1985 MetroNorth ridership rose by 736%! Hudson River Housing was busier than ever. The Administrative Offices moved to 313 Mill Street, deepening our commitment to downtown Poughkeepsie.

By 2003 statistics made it clear it was essential to dramatically expand and add new programs to meet demand for services for homeless families. We purchased the Travelodge on Route 55 and rehabilitated it to house Gannett House, LaGrange House and After Hours Emergency programs. In 2005 DCCH expanded to 45 beds. Not surprisingly, with this portfolio of services, HRH now had more than 100 employees.

2007

2007-2009 Weathering Tough Times, Homeownership Preservation and Community Building and Engagement

In 2007 a series of events led to the collapse of the housing market, yet there was still a dire need for affordable housing. At the same time there was greater need for community stabilization as the Great Recession continued. HRH has always taken a reasoned and strategic approach to responding to community needs. In the midst of a financial crisis, it became clear that helping people to keep their homes and preventing foreclosure – Homeownership Preservation – was a way to stabilize the community and we added it to our roster of services. We opened the NeighborWorks HomeOwnershp Center of Dutchess County.

In 2008 HRH solidified our history of focused community development work with the addition of Community Building & Engagement as a line of business and the launch of our second new target neighborhood initiative, Middle Main.

2009

2009-2011 Homeless Prevention, Re-Housing and Crisis Intervention for Youth

Responding to funding priorities shifts from emergency to transitional housing to prevention and permanent housing, we began the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. We completed a youth residence at 99 Thompson Street as home to our River Haven River Adolescent Shelter and Services.

In 2011 Gail Webster retired after 21 years as HRH Executive Director. She left behind a vibrant organization, an exceptional executive team and a legacy of strength, compassion and success in making life better in Dutchess County.

2011

2011-2014 Support for Veterans, Historic Acquisition and Emphasis on Green Housing and Sustainability

In 2011 Ed Murphy joined HRH as Executive Director and launched an Organizational Health and sustainability Initiative, encouraging to us to do more with resources which were scarce because of the continued Great Recession and a reduction of public revenues, and to show community leadership through green initiatives. At the same time, Hudson River Housing began offering services for Veterans including our first dedicated housing for Veterans, Liberty Station, which opened in 2014. In 2013, HRH was designated a NeighborWorks® Green organization.

Webster House (formerly DCCH) was by this time experiencing pressures of overcrowding and growing lengths of stay. This supported revisions to shelter policies and a greater focus on moving shelter guests into housing. We developed the Solutions to End Homelessness Program to offer the chronically homeless the opportunity to transition to permanent housing.

2015

2015-2017 Employment Assistance & Training, New Leadership

Based on input from the strategic planning process, Hudson River Housing looked for new ways to increase housing stability for clients. People are more likely to be able to stay in housing if they have they better paying jobs. To help meet that goal, HRH opened the Charles S. North Employment Assistance & Training Station (EATS). The focus of this program is to identify local jobs and prepare unemployed residents to access and maintain these jobs, creating true pathways to real employment in the local community.

In 2017 Christa Hines, who has been with Hudson River Housing for more than 20 years became Executive Director. She had most recently served as Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Executive Director. Christa is supported by a long-serving executive team and an organization of more than 130 employees.

2017

2017 – The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory Opens – Catalyst for Community Transformation

The road to the opening of the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory was long but ultimately successful.Begun eight years before it opened, it is an adaptive reuse of an historic mill building as an exciting blend of commercial and residential space in Middle Main Poughkeepsie, a downtown neighborhood with a growing food and arts scene. The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory is part of Hudson River Housing’s Middle Main Initiative, which works to strengthen and preserve the Middle Main neighborhood by providing affordable housing, training and employment opportunities, and accessible community spaces that bring people together. The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory motivates us to undertake further adaptive reuse projects and community building in Poughkeepsie and elsewhere.

2017

2017 – Present

Since its founding, Hudson River Housing has seen that building community means taking the long view. In 2017 we added 100+ units of housing and commercial space in Beacon to our property portfolio.  We also began assembling properties to create the 78 affordable housing units at Fall Kill Commons on Rose Street, the next phase of our targeted Community Development on Middle Main.

We are constantly working to lift up our communities, to open up space for people to thrive and it is through the efforts of our staff, our community partners, both public and private, and the volunteers and donors that we rely on that these efforts can continue. To date, HRH has invested more than $125 million dollars in communities in the Hudson Valley. We feel honored to be able to do this work.