ALBANY – Senator Catharine Young (R-C-I, Olean) today announced a total of $740,000 for area community groups to help acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight within area communities. The funding is provided for by HUD's new Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and other state funding that target neighborhoods throughout the state hit hardest by the mortgage crisis.
“Rising foreclosure rates have resulted in a number of abandoned homes in otherwise stable neighborhoods throughout communities in Chautauqua County," Young said. "Although it is important that we continue to focus on helping hardworking families avoid foreclosure in the first place, we also must do what we can to ensure abandoned homes don't hurt local economies further by bringing down the value of nearby properties."
The two community groups identified for grant assistance are the Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation (CHRIC) who will receive $490,000 for rehabilitation efforts in the City of Jamestown and the Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc.(COI) who will use $250,000 of its funding to rehabilitate nine foreclosed units in the City of Dunkirk.
“Neighborhood housing organizations such as CHRIC and COI can do a better job with rehabbing and property management than other investors, who are often looking to only flip houses for profit,” Young said. “They are motivated to remove the blight and eyesores from our neighborhoods and help address some of the collateral effects of the foreclosure crisis that has taken hold over so many communities.”
John Murphy, executive director of Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation said: "We appreciate the support we have received through our state representatives that support CHRIC as a Rural Preservation Company that allows us to bring these resources into Chautauqua County. These important state and federal funds will help us to substantially rehabilitate vacant houses we are acquiring in the city of Jamestown. Once rehabbed, these homes will be sold only to owner-occupants as a part of our neighborhood stabilization strategy in collaboration with the city of Jamestown."
Roberta Keller, Executive Director of the Chautauqua opportunities, Inc. said: “Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. is pleased to have been awarded these funds through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. We, in partnership with the City of Dunkirk and with the assistance of the county will be renovating nine foreclosed units in the City of Dunkirk. The units will be put back on the tax rolls and will provide safe and affordable housing for low income residents of the City.”
Dunkirk Mayor Richard Frey said: “That these partnerships are what it takes to get the job done. We partner everyday with entities like COI, under the leadership of Ms. Keller, to make things happen for the people of the City of Dunkirk. It takes many more than any single entity to get good things to happen; it takes all of us working together.”
The awards follow a competitive Request for Proposal process during which organizations were invited to apply for NSP funds. The State housing agencies that comprise NYHOMES selected 29 applicants across New York that represent a cross-section of local affordable housing providers. The grants are available through a combination of federal and State funds.
In compliance with federal requirements, all households to receive NSP funds report an income at or below 120 percent of the local Area Median Income (AMI). In addition, 27 percent of the funds target low-income households at or below 50 percent of the AMI. Additional Federal NSP funds are expected to be made available on a competitive basis later this year from funding included in the Federal stimulus legislation. Federal guidelines on how those funds will be distributed are expected to be released next month.