Factory Street apartment building’s first tenant will be DSS

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 5:12 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown’s 661 Factory Street is ready to reopen and the first tenant will be the government.

The apartment building often used to help people who have few other housing options got condemned in 2021. Now it’s ready for residents.

This time, one of the first-floor units will be occupied by the Jefferson County Department of Social Services to help keep an eye on people and the building’s condition.

“There’ll be an office on the first floor once the facility’s actually open. In time there will be other agencies that will also be staffing that particular location,” said Jefferson County Administrator Robert Hagemann.

DSS will be the first, but Hagemann says both Transitional Living Services and the Northern Regional Center for Independent Living might not be far behind.

The experimental program of having these organizations on site is already in place at the newly renovated Dean Building on High Street.

“It’s early at this point, but most definitely it’s a system that’s working quite well,” said Hagemann.

“We’re looking forward to doing it at Factory Street and continue from that point if it continues to work,” said Anthony Doldo, county legislator and chairman of the Health & Human Services Committee.

When 661 Factory Street was condemned, the loss of the 18 units further stressed the county as it battled to find housing for people in 2022.

“I think it’s a positive outcome all the way around with both the landlords and the DSS clients and our staff for a better, tighter relationship,” said Doldo.

Hagemann says that having DSS on-site has given the property owners more peace of mind when renting out their apartments.