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New Life for the German Catholic Orphanage

Reuse of a historic, abandoned orphanage is moving forward thanks to a grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.   The $570,000 affordable housing grant to the Community Action Organization of Erie County will help finance the rehabilitation and construction of St. Martin Village, which will provide 60 units of affordable housing for very low-income families at the site of the German Catholic Orphanage at 564 Dodge Street.  See the fascinating history of the complex, home to more than 15,000 children during its lifetime, here.


David Torke has been documenting the plight of the long-vacant property for some time.  As evidenced in the comments over at Fix Buffalo Today, not everyone is a fan of the design, the proposed site plan or the production of additional housing units.


Two existing dormitory buildings will be converted into 24 apartment units and 36 new townhomes will be constructed to create affordable housing for very low-income households.  The circa-1938 chapel (image below) will also be incorporated into the plan.  Demolition of the remaining buildings was recently approved by the Preservation Board. 

Nine of the units will be set aside for households who are recovering from alcohol or substance abuse.  These households will be referred by a local social service agency, which will provide ongoing services to these particular households.  The sponsor will also provide employment skills training and positive social and recreational activities.


The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York’s AHP provides member lenders with direct subsidies which are passed on to income qualified households through sponsoring local nonprofit organizations.  Program awardees receive this funding through a competitive application process.  Each competing project must be sponsored by a financial organization that is a member of the Bank in partnership with a community-based sponsoring organization.  M&T Bank is sponsoring the St. Martin Village project.

Additional funding for St. Martin Village will be provided by HOME funds from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HOME and other funds from the City of Buffalo and a conventional loan from Key Bank. Additional funding for the Jewett Avenue Apartments will be provided by a grant from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal under the Urban Initiatives Program.

R & P Oak Hill Development of Hamburg will be involved from the construction side, with the design work performed by Silvestri Architects P.C.

All images courtesy of David Torke.


Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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