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Beacon Communities, State and Local Elected Officials Celebrate Renovation Investment to Improve 212 Units, Preserve Affordability at Three Ulster County Properties

June 5, 2024


*For Immediate Release*


Beacon Communities, State and Local Elected Officials Celebrate Renovation Investment to Improve 212 Units, Preserve Affordability at Three Ulster County Properties

Through First-of-Its-Kind Financing Structure, Birches at Saugerties, Chambers Senior Housing & Birchwood Village to Receive Vital Capital Repairs, Upgrading Quality of Life for Residents


ULSTER, NY (June 4, 2024) – Beacon Communities, one of the nation’s leading affordable housing firms, today joined local and state elected officials, residents, and staff at Chambers Senior Housing, 401 Chambers Dr., Ulsterto celebrate the start of a significant renovation project, along with similar improvements at Birches at Saugerties and Birchwood Village.

When completed, these projects will upgrade and preserve a total of 212 affordable units – 60 at Birches at Saugerties, 80 units at Birchwood Village, and 72 units at Chambers Senior Housing. In addition, New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) allocated an 82-unit Section 8 contract to the properties, which reduced rent burden for existing tenants and guaranteed future affordability.

Beacon Communities is the developer, owner and property manager across all three properties. Financing was made possible through HCR, which allocated $37.9 million for the rehabilitation project through Gov. Kathy Hochul’s far-reaching effort to address the statewide affordable housing crisis by preserving exiting units while investing in new development.

“Preservation is the foundation for expanding the affordable housing supply,” said Darren Scott, Upstate East Director of Development at the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). “Shoring up your foundation by investing in affordable housing that is already in the community allows you to build more housing, which Ulster County, the City of Kingston, and the Town of Ulster certainly need. Projects like this are a true testament to how Governor Hochul and HCR are working to increase the housing supply, with 9,000 affordable homes in the Hudson Valley created or preserved over the last five years.”

Scott took note of how many long-term residents were in the audience for today’s celebration – some of whom said they had lived at one of the properties for close to two decades – Scott said the residents are really the “key to the stability of this community,” adding:

“It’s really a testament to the quality of life you have here due to a combination of the housing being affordable and the amenities. We’re going to be upgrading those and we thank you in advance for your patience as it happens. It’s never easy. But hopefully when it ends, you’ll enjoy the property that much more.”

Working in concert with the state, Beacon created an innovative financing structure for this project that creatively combines existing funding sources, reducing demand on other scarce housing resources. This first-of-its-kind approach establishes a blueprint for future affordable housing preservation projects across the state and nation.

“It’s so important to hold on to the housing we have, because otherwise, we will lose ground in affordability,” said Dara Kovel, CEO of Beacon Communities. “Over the past five years, rents in Ulster County have gone up by more than 25 percent, and more than 50 percent of households are rent burdened. That further underscores the need to hold on to this kind of housing.”

“I want to thank HCR and our Beacon New York team for coming up with a new approach to preserving affordable housing in this state – something we’re trying to get to happen elsewhere,” Kovel added. “We’ve got a lot more work to do here, but we’re looking forward to celebrating again when it’s complete.”

Highlights of the three projects include a wide range of repairs, additions, and modernizations – both interior and exterior – that will improve both sustainability and the quality of life for property residents in Ulster County. These projects will preserve desperately needed existing affordable units, enabling residents to age in place in the communities they call home.

“Affordable housing is a priority we talk about all the time here in Ulster County,” said County Executive Jen Metzger. “It’s not just about expansion, but preserving the housing we have for our seniors, our struggling families, and all our residents in a climate where it’s just impossible to find an affordable place to live. I want to thank Darren (Scott), the whole team at HCR, and the governor, who really understands the depth and breadth of the housing crisis here in Ulster County and has made a serious commitment to address it.”

“The first thing I said to Beacon Communities is ‘thankfully, you’re here,’” said Kingston Mayor Steve Noble, recalling how years of disinvestment at Birchwood Village had left the property in desperate need of repair. “We knew based on their track record that they were not only going to be good property managers but would take the renovations needed seriously.”

Noble also said that his late aunt Janice had been a long-time resident at The Birches at Chambers and would be “really happy to know that her apartment was finally being renovated, thanks to Beacon coming in.”

Town of Ulster Deputy Supervisor Clayton Van Kleeck said: “Cooperation and concerted efforts between government agencies and private business are critical to the creation and maintenance of affordable housing. Significant work went into these affordable housing projects, and this renewed investment shows an appreciation for that past work. I am confident we all share the hope that years from now, the next generation will look back at this moment as a great example of how communities worked together to take care of our valued members.”

For interview request or photos, contact Helen Stevenson,, (201) 787-1065.


About Beacon Communities LLC

Beacon Communities LLC is a privately owned real estate firm that develops, acquires, invests in, and manages a wide range of multi-family housing. Their portfolio includes affordable housing, market rate housing and mixed income-housing. Their developments range from new construction to historic adaptive reuse, to the renovation of existing housing. They take on challenging developments and make them succeed. Their driving passion is to create well-designed homes that improve the quality of life of their residents and enhance the neighborhoods in which they are located. For more information about Beacon Communities LLC please visit





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