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Higgins, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York: $1.36 million for Matt Urban Center's Hope House Project

by jmaloni


Fri, May 8th 2015 05:50 pm

Award will support housing for homeless women

Congressman Brian Higgins and the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York announced the award of a $1.36 million grant to The Matt Urban Center of Buffalo to help finance the Hope House project, which involves the conversion of a former public school into permanent supportive housing for homeless women.

"The Matt Urban Center's Hope House project meets a community need through a collaborative effort that will change lives and truly give new hope to the women it serves," Higgins said. "This $1.36 million federal investment through the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York provides a substantial base from which the project will move forward."

"For the past 25 years, the Affordable Housing Program has been a reliable partner for Buffalo's outstanding housing organizations and the much-needed support they provide," said José R. González, president and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. "We are proud to continue this partnership today as we join with M&T Bank to award this $1.36 million grant to help build Hope House."

The Hope House project at 243 Sears St., in the City of Buffalo's Fillmore District, consists of the conversion of former Buffalo Public School 57 into a homeless shelter for approximately 50 single women and/or women with children; 18 units of permanent supportive housing predominantly for homeless single women; a community health clinic; The Matt Urban Hope Center and Urban Diner by Friends of Night People; and a large food pantry. The total project cost is approximately $12 million.

The Matt Urban Center Executive Director Marlies Wesolowski said, "This project will convert a community eyesore into a quality, affordable, safe and secure housing for homeless women and homeless women and their children. It will also provide the much-needed and necessary support services for its occupants and their children, giving them a fresh start in life and renewed hope for their future."

The Federal Home Loan Bank award will support construction of the residential units. All of the units will be affordable- to very-low-income households. Residents will be provided comprehensive supportive services, including case management and employment counseling.

M&T Bank submitted the application for this funding.

"M&T Bank is pleased to build upon our long-standing partnership and support the vision of Marlies Wesolowski and her team at the Lt. Col Matt Urban Center. This project will transform the former Buffalo Public School 57 on Sears Street into a shelter providing safety, comfort and, hopefully, new opportunities for homeless women and children. This is a great reuse for the building and we appreciate the support of Congressman Higgins and our partners at the FHLB in approving our application for this investment in the Buffalo community," said Brad Dossinger, community reinvestment act officer for M&T Bank.

Hope House is located directly behind the Polish Community Center, the sponsor, developer and owner of the project. Other development team members are: Savarino Construction, general contractor; Flynn Battaglia, architect; Cannon, Heyman and Weiss, attorney; and Oxford Consulting Inc., development consultant.

The grant by the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York is provided as an addition to its 2014 Affordable Housing Program grant round. The 12 Federal Home Loan Banks have distributed more than $5.1 billion in AHP funds since the first awards were granted in 1990. At the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, the AHP has supported 1,376 projects with more than $450 million in grants, helping to create or preserve nearly 60,000 units of affordable housing and generating an estimated $8.4 billion in total development costs. For more information on all of the 2014 grants, visit http://www.fhlbny.com/2014AHPOffering.

The Federal Home Loan Bank System's Affordable Housing Program, created by Congress in 1989, provides member community lenders with direct subsidies, which are passed on to qualified households through a sponsoring local nonprofit organization. AHP financing is combined with other funding sources to create housing for moderate-, low- and very-low-income families. Program awardees receive this funding through semiannual competitive rounds. Each competing project must be sponsored by a financial organization that is a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank in partnership with a community-based sponsoring organization.

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