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Supportive housing for HIV-positive tenants, former homeless opens up on East Avenue

Jun 23, 2021

Tenant Jesse Miller stands outside of the Union Square apartment building on East Avenue and Union Street in downtown Rochester on Wednesday.
Credit Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News

New apartments are opening up at East Avenue and Union Street in downtown Rochester.

It includes supportive housing for people transitioning out of homelessness, and those living with HIV/AIDS.

“I’m too old to be moving around. I just turned 66 last week and I am not trying to be moving any time soon,” said Jesse Miller, a tenant of the newly constructed Union Square apartment complex. 

Before this, Miller said he didn’t have stable housing. Of the 72 apartments, 21 are reserved for people who are currently homeless. 

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said that when the east corridor of the Inner Loop was filled in, the goal was to transform a highway. In turn, she said it is creating a new neighborhood with mixed-income housing.

“We’re giving people a chance to live in a place that was just former asphalt where trucks and cars went by every day without anyone paying attention to the fact that it had divided a neighborhood that should never have been separated,” Hochul said.

Trillium Health will have a presence at the complex to serve tenants with medical needs, such as routine medical check-ups for HIV/AIDS at an on-site clinic.

“We’ve learned over many decades that housing is an important social determinant of health and that our patients and those that we serve cannot heal, safely store medicine, adhere to medicine regimes or ensure regular visits to a primary care physician,” said Trillium Health CEO Andrea DeMeo.

State Assemblymember Harry Bronson said this project is a complete reversal from the treatment that people with HIV received in the 1980s at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

“We’ve come a long way since the '80s,” he said.