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Public forums set for citizens to take part in 2017 Erie County community development program

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Thu, Sep 8th 2016 03:55 pm

Forums allow public input on issues affecting elderly, low- and moderate-income households, disabled

The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning has announced upcoming citizen forums to help determine the needs and priorities of low- and moderate-income residents residing within the Erie County Community Development ("CD") Block Grant Consortium. The consortium is comprised of 34 municipalities, excluding the City of Buffalo, the towns of Amherst, Cheektowaga, Hamburg and Tonawanda, and their villages. The information gathered at the forums will assist the county's Department of Environment and Planning in preparing the 2017 community development application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The three public forums are scheduled for:

•7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, at the Angola Village Hall, 41 Commercial St.

•6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the Lackawanna Public Library Community Room, 560 Ridge Road.

•7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Tonawanda City Hall Court Room, 200 Niagara St.

"These public forums are designed to give residents the opportunity to advocate for what is important to them, add their own voice to the community discussion, and let officials know what they value right in their own neighborhoods," said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. "Citizen participation is essential to the process, though, and the more people who speak out, the better. I encourage residents to attend and make their voices and concerns heard."

These public forums provide an opportunity to increase citizen awareness and participation in the consortium's federal community development program by allowing the general public, as well as agency advocates for low- and moderate-income individuals, the elderly and handicapped, to offer suggestions and information on the needs of these populations to county and municipal officials.

Housing needs, such as affordable housing and housing for special populations (the homeless, the elderly, disabled persons, persons living with AIDS, and public housing residents), and community and economic development needs, such as transportation, jobs, community facilities and infrastructure (sewer, water and roads), will be prime topics for discussion at the forums.

These forums will also serve as countywide public meetings for Erie County's Community Development Block Grant, Emergency Solutions Grant and HOME Investment Partnership programs. Each will cover four areas: housing, public/human services, community/neighborhood development, and economic development needs. There will also be a review of CD program performance, as required by HUD.

Information obtained from the meetings will be used to formulate the Erie County Consortium's Community Development 2017 Action Plan. The update process will occur in early 2017.

For more information on the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, visit http://www2.erie.gov/environment/.

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