Author: Gabriel Cuello, Development Intern
Following WWII, historic buildings throughout United States faced demolition in the name of urban renewal. To preserve these monuments of ages past, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Historic Preservation Act in October 1966. State Historical Societies and Local Preservation Groups throughout the U.S annually celebrate the passage of this Act during second week of May. Promotion and advertisement of historic places in states and localities was so popular that in 2005 The National Trust for Historic Preservation declared the month of May, Preservation month. Housing Visions’ Winston Gaskin Homes is an excellent example of preservation in the Syracuse area.
This group of homes, some constructed over 100 years ago, were some of the first buildings that Housing Visions rehabilitated in Syracuse in the early 1990s to provide much needed affordable housing. In an effort to maintain Housing Visions’ Mission of community revitalization, these homes underwent capital upgrades in 2020. This group of homes is named in honor of Winston (Win) Gaskin, Co-Founder of Housing Visions and a pillar in the Syracuse community. Win Gaskin’s legacy extends well beyond his work with Housing Visions. He was an Army Veteran as well as the first Black pharmacist in Syracuse.
The development encompassed 20 buildings in Syracuse, 6 on the Northside and 14 on the Eastside. The buildings include 66 units of affordable rental housing, with 20 units reserved for survivors of domestic violence. Four of the apartments were adapted to support people with mobility impairments and 3 for those with hearing and vision impairments.
The Winston-Gaskin Homes development was crucial in maintaining the quality of the housing stock and ensuring long-term affordable rental housing options in Syracuse. The preservation of the buildings and their traditional character are an investment in their Syracuse neighborhoods.
Today the homes continue to connect and mesh with their neighborhood and community. Bus lines all within 500ft of the homes, and a grocery store within one half mile provide easy access to transportation and amenities . The Mission to provide safe, affordable homes to all remains firmly fixed in Housing Visions’ daily work to create positive change in neighborhoods throughout New York State and Pennsylvania, continuing the work that Winston Gaskin and the Housing Visions team set out to do in 1990.