Three local organizations accustomed to hosting, helping, and welcoming visitors are collaborating on an innovative effort to create new space and a new place for New American families to resettle and live in Cazenovia, in a structure on the edge of the Cazenovia College campus.
The College, together with Cazenovia Welcomes Refugees (CWR), and InterFaith Works of Central New York, are teaming up to renovate a College-owned building to make the two-story structure suitable as a family home. Cazenovia College has agreed to allow the house it owns at 43 Lincklaen Street to be renovated to serve as a home for the CWR’s family resettlement project, providing rental housing for resettling families (New Americans).
The project aligns with the College’s core mission of providing individualized learning enhanced by internships and applied learning activities, and offering students real-life, hands-on learning plus a connection with the broader community, according to David Bergh, the College’s executive vice president.
“The formalization of this agreement is truly a significant milestone, and I am excited at the possibilities represented in this partnership. This College and this village have long, interwoven histories of opening their arms to newcomers and being welcoming places. This project brings to fruition a visible representation of that element of the community’s culture, and the College is dedicated to discovering and supporting more such positive local collaborations.”
The College once used the building as a student residence. Most recently has served as administrative offices and storage. Its small-village location adjacent to the college and many downtown amenities will provide a more rural location that may appeal to some resettled families as an option.
Cazenovia Welcomes Refugees is providing volunteer help and plans to raise funds to assist with the costs of renovation. Once the residence is ready, CWR also plans to assist resettling residents to acclimate to and become involved in village life and community activities. CWR is teaming with InterFaith Works on identifying residents for the home. The goal is to have secondary placement New Americans (those who have been living in the United States for at least a year) reside there. InterFaith Works is helping CWR with selecting residents for the home and is also providing case management assistance through its longstanding refugee resettlement programming.
David Holmes, tri-facilitator of Cazenovia Welcomes Refugees, noted, "43 Lincklaen represents a major collaborative undertaking for CWR, the College, and our community. We look forward to continuing to partner with the College and the village and larger community to create a home and prepare to welcome new members to our community. With the village and local schools within walking distance, and campus resources nearby all providing an extended sense of community, the house is an ideal location for these residents’ new home.”
InterFaith Works President/CEO Beth Broadway added, “Our agency has been settling refugees for over 40 years and has served as a member of and fiscal sponsor for Cazenovia Welcomes Refugees since its inception in our wonderful village. The 43 Lincklaen Project represents a true collaboration of many different people and groups and has become a national model of what a community can do to open the heart of compassion, service, and welcome to New Americans. We are so grateful to the College and to CWR for this forward-thinking action.”
Funds to pay for the renovation work have been contributed by grants awarded by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Associate for Refugees & Asylum and the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York Ministry. CWR plans to do additional fundraising and coordinate obtaining volunteer labor for some of the work. Renovations are scheduled to take place this summer and through the fall.
Students in the College’s Residential Design class, led by Interior Design Program Director and Associate Professor Grace Tallini, made designing the home renovation into a class project. They contributed ideas, technical drawings, and design and structural planning services to guide the renovation work. The professional plans they developed for contractors to use to form estimates and guide renovation planning represented much-appreciated assistance to the effort, added Carolyn Holmes, of Cazenovia Welcomes Refugees. “Its been a huge contribution for the contractors to have plans to work from,” she said. Students who participated in the project include Maysi Hinkle, Aaron Glisson, Arianna Sexton, Meghan McCarthy, Gabriella McCall, Abigail Decker, Lauren Schwarzbeck, Brianna Storti, Angelina Driscoll, and Kalee Draper.