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White Plains Shelters to Expand Homeless Housing

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – White Plains' Grace Church Community Center will do an adaptive reuse of its Open Arms Men's Shelter to create more permanent housing units for the homeless, said Kenneth Jenkins, chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

The project will be funded by a grant from the state Homeless Housing Assistance Program , which awarded five nonprofit housing services a total of $19.6 million to build units for homeless families and individuals. They include two in White Plains: My Sisters' Place received $2,389,619 and Grace Church Community Center received $5,771,101.

"It's essential for places like the Grace Church Community Center, which has been working hard for many years with the Open Arms Shelter, and doing things that help people get in the safety net, back on their feet and moving forward," Jenkins said. "It's a tremendous victory for us here in White Plains."

Grants were also awarded to Opportunities for Broome in Broome County for $3,482479, Housing Visions Unlimited in Onondaga County for $3,500,000 and Concern for Independent Living in Suffolk County $4,481,621.

In all, the $19.6 million will create 163 housing units with 258 beds. Grace Church Community Center will rehabilitate an existing building to create more than 100 housing units, Jenkins said.

My Sisters' Place will create a new facility that will house 20 people, said Nancy Levin, director of development and external affairs.

"We are very grateful to the state for recognizing our ability to provide assistance and safe temporary emergency housing for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking," Levin said. "Providing emergency residential shelter is a touchstone of our work to provide interventive services for victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking."

Levin estimated that the new facility will be complete in about 18 months. Work on the Grace Church Community Center shelter is expected to begin almost immediately, Jenkins said.

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