The Case Statement is a detailed presentation of the need, our solution, and how to help.
It is very thorough and well referenced. It lays out the cost estimates for different housing scenarios — new construction, and renovating existing housing at two properties that we considered buying.
To download the Case Statement, 17 pages with 11 pages of references, click on Case Statement. The summary and table of contents are below.
Canary Cooperative Case Statement – Summary
Chemicals are ubiquitous in all of our personal environments. Hypersensitivity is one possible consequence of chemicals that are absorbed into the blood stream. Hypersensitivity involves the immune and the neurological systems, and the effects of exposures can be severe enough to be life threatening. Forty percent of the population has a genetic vulnerability to chemical sensitivity, and 2.5% of the total population has become disabled by chemical sensitivity, which means about 493,750 New Yorkers have become disabled by chemical exposures. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, (MCS) is one name for the hypersensitivity. Avoidance is the basic technique for managing these sensitivities, and major life style changes are required to achieve avoidance.
Once chemical sensitivity has taken hold, chemical free housing is essential to stop and reverse the degenerative process of acquiring new sensitivities and more severe symptoms. Chemicals are part of every manufacturing process, including building materials. There are no accessible, affordable rentals in New York State for chemically and/or electrically sensitized people. Unless a person has a chemically clean safe place to live, no medical plan or Self-Support plan can work. A third of the people disabled with chemical and electrical sensitivity have either no housing or have inadequate housing for the disability. Many people search for years for housing they can tolerate. In the meantime, there is a downward spiral in health and financial stability and quality of life. And most difficult of all, a sensitive person becomes increasingly vulnerable to the chemical choices of the people around them.
In an effort to address this housing crisis in the chemically sensitive community six MCS people from across NYS organized and incorporated as the non-profit Canary Cooperative, Inc. We hope to find a funding path and then function as a group of several sites, owned and maintained by people disabled with sensitivity issues.
Mission statement: to create and coordinate development of a “Limited Equity” “Scattered Site Cooperative” for housing in NYS dedicated to the restrictive life style required by chemically and electrically sensitive people.
Part of the lack of accessible housing is a result of the general lack of understanding of the nature of the disability, and consequently there are few openings in current programs and agencies. Our need for separation and dedication in housing is a problem in the current culture of “Inclusiveness”. Often public policy earmarks money for certain groups, but chemical injury is not on the list. The highly individual biochemical responses that define this disability are hard to fully grasp. The sensitized person needs an unusual amount of control over building materials, schedules, and the choice and supervision of contractors. Our needs are outside the parameters of any existing housing program. It became apparent to the Canary Cooperative Board that we have to design and fund our own project, and that we are going to have to find partners and donors interested in healthy housing, disability, and new models of low income housing. A Case Statement is step in that direction.
The Syracuse Federal Credit Union offered the co-op a mortgage for 80% of a project in 2013, and Ms. Kenning, co-op secretary, committed to the remaining 20%. But the first step after finding a suitable site, is a first mortgage to “secure the site” until the co-op administration can be put in place, at which point a conversion mortgage pays off the early first mortgage. We have been actively looking for a suitable site. With Ms. Kenning as the only guarantee “first” mortgager, the co-op is very limited in the price range we can consider.
The Canary Cooperative Board would like to consider a wider range of sites. We are looking for a partner to help us with an interest free, short term bridge loan so that we can look at a wider price range. And we are looking for renovations funds. We need a site with good outdoor air quality, and good basics in a building. Then we will make it accessible for the disability. This model could set a precedent to solve the housing scarcity for sensitive people in our county, and across the state. The co-op is a vehicle for change and for expressing community the values of Fair Health Care, Universal Design, Healthy Housing. And demonstrating the ideas that “accessible housing” and “affordable credit” are Human Rights for people with disabilities.
Table of Contents of Case Statement
Pg. 2 SummaryPg. 3 Table of ContentsPg. 4 Introduction to the Subject – Environmental SensitivityPg. 4-5 The Need for HousingPg. 5 Housing as the Most Pressing ProblemThe Mission DevelopsMission StatementStatisticsPg. 6 Defining the Practical ProblemReview of Current ProgramsDisability GroupsPg. 6-7 Expectation to SystematizePg. 7 HUD RestrictionsPg. 8 Challenge to Create and Fund Project Outside the SystemPg. 8 Strategy to Solve ProblemCooperative Housing ModelPg. 9 Kenel Antoine – Syracuse Architect
Pg. 9 New Construction estimate
Pg. 9 2008 HUD California and Arizona project
Pg. 10 Loan Possibilities – Fair Market RentPg. 10 Process for Putting a Cooperative in Place
Pg. 11 Need for, and Possible Ways to Partner to Help Fund housing for Environmental Illness
Pg. 12 Newly Acquired First Site
Pg. 12 2008 HUD California and Arizona projectsPg. 12-13 Loan Possibilities – Fair Market RentPg. 13 Process for Putting a Cooperative in PlaceSite Acquisition and ConversionPg. 13-14 Need for, and Possible Ways to Partner to Help Fund housing for Environmental IllnessPg. 14-16 Benefits of Supporting Canary CooperativeTo the Individual Donor and Their CommunityOpportunity to Express ValuesPg. 15 Home Ownership as one Solution to PovertyMore Fair Health CareA Women’s Health Care IssuePg. 16 Healthy Housing as Universal DesignSensitivity as an Environmental IssueAn Exercise in CitizenshipChanging National Housing PolicyHousing as a Human Right for DisabledPg. 17 Contact Information for Canary Cooperative Board MembersPg. 17 – 26 Notes supporting Discussions in Case Statement