Vacant Poughkeepsie house razed to make way for new two-family home


The property had become a symbol for
what needs to be done in the city

POUGHKEEPSIE – A rundown abandoned house at 85 Smith Street in Poughkeepsie, long the focus of criminal activity, is being demolished to make way for a new two-family house, which will be sold to a first-time homebuyer and include an affordable rental unit.
Mayor Robert Rolison and Hudson River Housing Executive Director Christa Hines were onsite Tuesday to witness the razing of the old building.
“We have been working the past 35 years to improve lives in communities, especially in the north side of Poughkeepsie and this house really represents so much for Hudson River Housing in terms of rebuilding a community and working with a community to improve lives and to provide hope and opportunity for the community as well,” Hines said.
This house was home to squatters and the site of a tremendous structure fire in 2015 that damaged not only the house but neighboring properties as well. 
The area has been described as “Death Row” due to the illegal drug activity in the area and this parcel is considered to be on the city’s top-10 list of properties considered to be a danger to public safety.  Rolison expects that projects such as this will help remove the negative spotlight from the neighborhood.
The city seized the property for taxes in 2016 and has been working with Hudson River Housing, an agency that provides programs including “supported permanent housing,” to develop a plan for the parcel to improve the neighborhood. Hines noted the new house with its rental unit will remove the absentee landlord from the equation. It is often those homes with no local or onsite landlord that fall into disrepair and are abandoned.
The project is expected to take between nine and 12 months.  Hines said that HRH will be applying for funding through the New York State Homes and Community Renewal program to help pay for the new project.