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North Country Regional Economic Development Council Announces Progress on Housing Rehabilitation and Community Revitalization Projects

(June 28, 2012)

North Country Regional Economic Development Council Announces Progress on Housing Rehabilitation and Community Revitalization Projects

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council today announced that 13 housing rehabilitation and community development projects have signed contracts with the state and are moving forward with the first stages of $4,565,160 in awards from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Council initiative. The projects will restore and rehabilitate homes for 213 families in Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Lewis, Clinton, Franklin and Essex Counties, and help to improve the lives of hundreds of New Yorkers.

"New York State's economic renaissance depends as much upon the vibrancy of its small cities and rural communities as it does on its large cities," said Tony Collins, President of Clarkson University and Regional Council co-chair. "Ensuring affordable and safe places for our workforce and families to live is a priority across the region. More than half of residential housing in the North Country was constructed before the 1950-59 decade. Renovations that upgrade safety and energy-efficiency create jobs as well as serve our working families and elderly residents."

"Our Regional Economic Development Plan recognizes that quality communities are essential to economic growth, especially in the North Country," said Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and Regional Council co-chair. "And having quality housing is essential to having quality communities, which is why we welcome this significant investment in our region's housing stock. We thank Governor Cuomo and his administration for their continuing commitment to the North Country and to the implementation of the community development components of our regional plan."

"In what I know will prove to be a long and productive relationship, HCR is proud to work under the North Country Regional Council's leadership in providing jobs and economic development to a region that needs it," said New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner Darryl C. Towns. "But most important for the families working with our non-profit partners, we are gratified to build and provide the affordable homes that they need."

Investments made through the Regional Councils will be administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the state's housing agency. The North Country Housing Rehabilitation investments that have executed contracts to-date include:

  • $600,000 to Jefferson County, through the CDBG program, to rehabilitate 23 severely substandard single-family and multi-family housing units located in Jefferson County
  • $428,560 to Lewis County, through the CDBG program, to renovate 10 homes of low- and moderate-income residents in the county
  • $400,000 to the City of Watertown, through the CDBG program, to rehabilitate and create apartments for low and moderate-income households in the City of Watertown
  • $400,000 to the Town of Willsboro, through the CDBG program, to rehabilitate 13 severely substandard homes in the town
  • $400,000 to the Village of Carthage, through the CDBG program, to rehabilitate 12 low and moderate-income single-family homes and four multi-family units in the village
  • $400,000 to the Town of Chateaugay, through the CDBG program, to rehabilitate 20 severely substandard homes in the town
  • $400,000 to the Town of Lewis, through the CDBG program, to rehabilitate 13 severely substandard homes in the town
  • $400,000 to the Town of Potsdam, through the CDBG program, to renovate 12 homes of low and moderate-income residents in the town
  • $400,000 to Housing Assistance Program of Essex County, Inc., through the HOME program, to rehabilitate 12 owner-occupied homes in Essex County
  • $311,600 to the Village of Massena, through the HOME program, to provide housing rehabilitation assistance to 14 owner-occupied units and 6 renter-occupied apartments in the section of the Village of Massena located north of the Grasse River
  • $300,000 to Frontier Housing Corp., through AHC, for the home improvement of 30 single family homes in Jefferson County
  • $75,000 to Frontier Housing Corporation, through the RESTORE program, to conduct emergency housing repairs for 10 elderly homeowners in Jefferson County
  • $50,000 to RPC of Clinton County, Inc., through the RESTORE program, to conduct emergency repairs for 20 elderly homeowners in Clinton County

Last year, the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) awarded a total of $785 million for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans.

The federally-funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program provides financial assistance to eligible counties, cities, towns, and villages to help develop viable communities by providing decent affordable housing and expanding economic opportunities. The grants are awarded through the state's Housing Trust Fund Corporation.

The Affordable Housing Corporation supports homeownership opportunities for low and moderate income families by providing grants to municipalities and non-for-profit organizations to assist in the costs of home improvements, the rehabilitation of existing housing, and the new construction of homes for homebuyers.

The RESTORE (Residential Emergency Services to Offer Repairs to the Elderly) Program awards funds through municipalities and not-for profit organizations serving as local program administrators to pay for the cost of emergency repairs to eliminate hazardous conditions in homes owned by the elderly who are unable to afford to make repairs in a timely manner. To be eligible for assistance, homeowners must be 60 years of age or older, live in a 1-4 family house and have a household income which does not exceed 80 percent of area median income.

The federally-funded HOME Investment Partnership program provides financial assistance to eligible counties, towns, cities, villages, private developers, and community-based non-profit housing organizations to expand the supply of decent, safe, and affordable housing within the State. The grants are awarded through the state's Housing Trust Fund Corporation.

Clinton County Executive Michael Zurlo said, "This is welcomed and exciting news. As providing for our senior population remains a priority in Clinton County, this housing rehabilitation funding will certainly assist in this endeavor."

Lewis County Chair of Board of Legislators Jack Bush said, "Given the age and condition of housing stock in our rural county, and the difficult economic times, these funds will be a significant benefit to our citizens. The Community Development Program provides a helpful benefit to working families to improve their housing conditions. We certainly appreciate the support of Governor Cuomo and New York State to provide this funding to Lewis County."

Franklin County Legislator Billy Jones said, "I am very happy with the Regional Economic Development Council's Grant of $103 million to the North Country and specifically the award of housing revitalization to the town of Chateaugay. We look forward to continued progress in the necessary areas, and applaud the Regional Economic Development Council on their continued progress."

Essex County Manager Daniel L. Palmer said, "On behalf of the Essex County Board of Supervisors and Chairman Randall T. Douglas, I would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Regional Economic Development Council of the North Country for awarding funds to improve our communities by providing affordable housing and expanding economic opportunities. We would also extend our thanks to Governor Cuomo and his staff for the leadership and assistance we have received in this process. These kinds of programs represent forward thinking and long term investments in our quality of life here in the Adirondacks, and the Governor understands how important that is to us. We look forward to the success of these critical projects."

St. Lawrence County Administrator Karen St. Hilaire said, "This investment by the State in improving the quality of the housing in the region helps to improve not only the living conditions of persons currently residing in substandard housing, but helps stabilize and improve the long-term availability of decent, affordable housing within our communities. As New York State realizes its economic resurgence, it is comforting that the State recognizes that there remains an obligation to help those still challenged with meeting their basic needs, with safe and decent housing being one such need. We appreciate the leadership and support of the Governor as evidenced by the opportunities created by this grant funding."

Jefferson County Administrator Robert Hagermann said, "We thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in working with the North Country Regional Economic Development Council to support housing rehabilitation and community revitalization projects throughout Jefferson County- specifically in Watertown and Carthage. With these generous funds, the citizens of Jefferson County can have better living conditions and maintain an overall better quality of life for years to come."

To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit www.nyworks.ny.gov.

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