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Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Announces Progress on Housing Rehabilitation and Community Revitalization Projects

(July 11, 2012)

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Announces Progress on Housing Rehabilitation and Community Revitalization Projects

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council today announced that 14 housing rehabilitation and community development projects have signed contracts with the state and are moving forward with the first stages of $4.1 million in awards from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Council initiative. The projects will restore and rehabilitate homes for 290 families in Western New York, with total project costs of $6.9 million.

"Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, projects such as these that are critical to the regional economy are going from funding to groundbreaking in a shorter development term," said Satish K. Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Western New York Regional Economic Development Council co-chair. "This funding will help Western New York's working families gain access to affordable housing and demonstrates that state investment can be used to leverage additional investments in our region."

"It is rewarding to be a part of the Governor's mission to transform economic development with the Regional Councils and bring critical state resources to Western New York," said Howard A. Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group and Western New York Regional Economic Development Council co-chair. "The state moving forward to help low-income families become homeowners is a welcomed announcement in Western New York. Homeownership improves and preserves our homes and communities, as well as provides stability for families."

"HCR is proud to work alongside Western New York's regional experts, to move forward on the projects that implement the regional council's vision for economic recovery," said NYS Homes & Community Renewal Commissioner & CEO Darryl C. Towns. "With contracts signed, these non-profits are even closer to helping families realize their dreams of affordable, decent homes."

The investments made through the Regional Councils will be administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the state's housing agency. The Western New York home-ownership investments include:

  • $500,000 to Neighborworks Home Resources, through the HOME program, to rehabilitate 12 homes and replace five mobile homes in Cattaraugus County
  • $432,100 to Heart of the City Neighborhoods through the Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC), for the home improvement of 20 single family homes and five two-family homes in the City of Buffalo in Erie County.
  • $400,000 to the Town of Wellsville, through the CDBG program, to rehabilitate 13 owner-occupied substandard housing units in the Town of Wellsville in Allegany County.
  • $400,000 to Chautauqua County, through the CDBG program, to assist 12 households of low- and moderate-income elderly in addressing substandard housing conditions.
  • $400,000 to the Town of Almond, through the CDBG program, to rehab 14 owner-occupied, severely substandard housing units located throughout the Town of Almond in Allegany County.
  • $400,000 to the Town of Friendship, through the CDBG program, to renovate 20 homes in the Town of Friendship in Allegany County.
  • $303,188 to Cattaraugus Community Action, through the AHC program, to improve 35 homes in Cattaraugus County.
  • $300,000 to Cuba Development Corporation, through the AHC program, to improve 25 homes in Allegany County.
  • $288, 122 to Heart of the City Neighborhoods, Inc., through the HOME program, to rehabilitate 30 homes on the Lower West Side of Buffalo, and improve energy efficiency.
  • $278,000 to Cattaraugus County, through the CDBG program, to replace and repair 24 substandard septic systems and 12 substandard well-water systems in Cattaraugus County.
  • $200,000 to Chautauqua County, through the CDBG program, to assist 20 low- and moderate-income households in addressing failed septic systems and contaminated or inadequate water supplies.
  • $75,000 to the Niagara Community Action Program, Inc., through the RESTORE program, to conduct emergency repairs on the homes of 12 elderly homeowners in Niagara County.
  • $75,000 to Chautauqua Opportunities Inc., through the RESTORE program, to conduct emergency repairs on the homes of 20 elderly homeowners in Chautauqua County.
  • $75,000 to Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corp., through the RESTORE program, for emergency repairs on the homes of 18 elderly and physically disabled homeowners in Chautauqua County.

Last year, a total of $785 million was awarded through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans. As part of the process, NYS Homes and Community Renewal invested more than $4 million into improving the homes, and lives, of hundreds of Western New Yorkers.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "With this investment, Governor Cuomo and the WNY Regional Economic Development Council have demonstrated their commitment to helping homeowners here in Erie County and all across the region. Because of this initiative, nearly 300 Western New York families, including the homes of 25 local families, will see much-needed improvements and get the help they need and deserve."

Cattaraugus County Administrator John R. Searles said, "Cattaraugus County is pleased to be awarded the additional $278,000 in CDBG Grant funds. Through ongoing efforts we have already repaired/replaced 15 substandard septic systems in the county, but, there is a need for a total of 30-40 septic/water repairs/replacements. This additional money will go a long way to meeting the goal of upgrading these systems by 2013. Being able to adequately provide for sanitary services and clean water are basic needs, this funding helps us to meet this need."

Niagara County Legislature Community Services Committee Chairman Tony Nemi said, "Niagara County appreciates Gov. Cuomo's commitment to both economic development and our county's older adults. Gov. Cuomo, our state representatives, and the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council have ensured that funds will be available to the Niagara Community Action Program to help several seniors in our county make much-needed emergency repairs to their homes-and protecting our housing stock, preserving quality of life in our neighborhoods, and helping our older adults are all important goals for our county government and our partners in state government."

The Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC) within HCR supports homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families by providing grants to municipalities and not-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 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 Housing Trust Fund Corporation.

The HOME Program is a federally-funded allocation to expand the supply of affordable housing stock. HOME funds a variety of affordable housing activities including new construction, rehabilitation/preservation, home improvement and home buyer assistance that are undertaken by municipalities and not-for-profit organizations that serve as local program administrators.

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

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