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Asbestos slows down Dundee projects ADVERTISEMENT

Asbestos slows down Dundee projects

DUNDEE--Keuka Housing Council, Inc. has encountered major obstacles to its renovation projects of 12-18 Main St. and 7 Hollister St. in Dundee. During its inspection, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) found asbestos in many parts of both structures, more than Renee Bloom, executive director of Keuka Housing, could have ever imagined. The project is stalled until money can be found to remove the asbestos safely.
"It is everywhere," said Bloom in last week's interview. "It is in the whole roof, even under the new roof we had previously installed on the Main Street buildings. It is in all the walls, more asbestos than I could have imagined." Despite the setback, Bloom is determined to fix the problem and complete the low-income housing projects.
The Main Street building was purchased a number of years ago from a private owner who had gutted it, said Bloom. Her organization renovated the first floor for commercial space and then began to address the upstairs that will eventually contain two three-bedroom apartments, one two-bedroom apartment, and two one-bedroom apartments.
The home at 7 Hollister St. had been donated to the council by the original owner. Architectural drawings have been completed to transform it into an apartment building containing one three-bedroom unit, two two-bedroom units and a one-bedroom unit that is totally handicap accessible.
Keuka Housing projects depend on grant money to complete their work. The grant applications are often as much as 700 pages or more, said Bloom, but she feels confident that her efforts to obtain the necessary funds will be successful. "We are ready to go," she said. "The DEC is ready to go as soon as we get the grant money to remove the asbestos."
Bloom estimates the cost of removal could be over $360,000 because of the special procedures necessary to remove asbestos and dispose of it without harming people or the environment. The removal process must be done by companies that are licensed to do this kind of work.
Bloom says affordable housing is needed in the Dundee village where about 40 percent of renters are "cost overburdened," meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their gross income on rent.
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) cost burdened families "may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care." HUD estimates 12 million renter and homeowner households in the United States now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing. A family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.

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