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Garden Lofts at the Marine Hospital

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The Garden Lofts at the Marine Hospital

We’re thrilled to announce the upcoming opening of our newest program: the Garden Lofts at the Marine Hospital. At the moment, we’re hoping to officially open the program in July, but that of course depends on potential construction impacts due to COVID-19 and the NYS on PAUSE executive order.

The building was originally built around 1910 and served as a hospital for sailors, marines, and other members of the armed forces. It was later renamed Benedict House and provided refuge for patients who were terminally ill with HIV/AIDS. We wanted to acknowledge the history of the property in its updated name, and that’s why we incorporated “the Marine Hospital” into part of its new title.

The Garden Lofts at the Marine Hospital
The Garden Lofts at the Marine Hospital

The Goal of the Garden Lofts

It’s taken almost four years of planning, but we’re nearly done completely renovating the building into 23 studio apartments. The intent behind this program is to address the distinct lack of safe and affordable housing for people with substance use disorders in Western New York.

While in treatment programs, people with substance use disorders often make significant progress. They reunite with families, learn how to manage their disorder, and they work towards setting life-changing goals. Unfortunately, a common theme in our area is that people often have nowhere safe or affordable to live after completing treatment. Without a safe place to live, people typically move into areas filled with triggers that potentially jeopardize all of their progress. In the middle of a deadly opioid epidemic, this is especially dangerous. 

Thankfully, the Garden Lofts at the Marine Hospital will help to address this need. More affordable housing will still be necessary, but the Garden Lofts will be an important contribution. Individuals living within the apartments will receive more than just a place to live, too. Wraparound support services like case management, vocational assistance, and harm reduction assistance will be provided to tenants. Trauma-informed yoga, art therapy, drum circles, onsite garden beds, and other creative options will be available, as well.

A sample studio apartment under construction at the Garden Lofts
A sample studio apartment under construction at the Garden Lofts

The Apartments

The apartments themselves are spacious studios ranging between 369 and 506 square feet. Each comes fully-furnished with a kitchen and bathroom. The building also features laundry facilities on each of the three floors, a community room, and it’s conveniently close to different options for public transportation.

Individuals can qualify for the apartments as long as they have a substance use disorder diagnosis and are either experiencing homelessness upon moving in or are at risk for homelessness. The building will also contain the new offices of our Housing Program as the Garden Lofts will fall under our supported housing initiatives.

We’re grateful for the amount of support this project has already received. Specifically, capital funding for the Garden Lofts at the Marine Hospital was provided by the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP) while operation funding is being provided by the Empire State Supported Housing Initiative (ESSHI). We hope that this program will be positively transformative for the people who need it most.

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