Encouraging home ownership part of strategic investment by UB in University Heights
By the University at Buffalo
The University at Buffalo, in partnership with West Side Neighborhood Housing Services Inc., is expanding the financial incentive to UB employees considering purchasing homes in neighborhoods surrounding the university’s South Campus in Buffalo.
The UB H.O.M.E. (Home Ownership Made Easy) program is now offering interest-free deferred loans of up to $5,000, or $7,500 to part-time UB employees who buy homes in the neighborhoods, including University Heights. A significant portion of the loan will be forgiven by the university after five continuous years of owner occupancy.
UB H.O.M.E. builds upon the UB Home Loan Guaranty Program, which ended in 2009 and helped dozens of UB employees purchase homes in University Heights.
“UB’s faculty, staff and students are a vital part of the University Heights community,” President Satish K. Tripathi said. “The university has enjoyed a collaborative partnership with the neighborhoods surrounding our South Campus for the better part of a century. By expanding this program, we hope to encourage even more of our employees to make this historic community their home.”
Funding for UB H.O.M.E. is provided by the University at Buffalo Foundation (UBF), with an initial investment of $100,000. A matching $100,000 has been provided by West Side Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. (WSNHS), an affiliate of NeighborWorks Community Partners. NCP is a charter member of NeighborWorks America, a national organization specializing in community revitalization and development.
“The UB H.O.M.E. program is designed to encourage home ownership and support stabilization and revitalization in and around South Campus,” said Tess Morrissey, director of community relations and deputy director of state relations. “Our goal is a strong, vibrant community that supports civic and community-based organizations, businesses and residents within the neighborhoods surrounding UB’s South Campus.”
Since September, 2016, WSNHS has reported housing sales totaling $675,000 ($639,000 in mortgages) in the University Heights neighborhood.
“Home ownership is a key piece of the puzzle in rebuilding and improving neighborhoods. The UB Home Loan Guarantee Program brought rising investment in Buffalo’s University District as many UB employees chose to make it their home,” said New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “Expanding the UB H.O.M.E. program to include part-time employees will help even more people achieve their dream of home ownership while helping to strengthen and improve the quality of life for everyone living around UB’s South Campus.”
"Once again, the University at Buffalo is demonstrating a strong commitment to its employees by incentivizing opportunities to purchase homes in the University District," New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy said. "By extending the UB H.O.M.E. program to part-time employees, UB is underscoring continued investment in the neighborhoods that surround its South Campus.
“I applaud President Tripathi and West Side Neighborhood Housing Services for fostering this effort and look forward to seeing these neighborhoods continue to grow.”
“I commend the University at Buffalo for supporting opportunities for the university’s part-time employees to buy homes and move into the University Heights neighborhood,” said Councilmember Rasheed N.C. Wyatt. “Those who have decided to live in University Heights have become involved with and helped stabilize the neighborhood, which has been a huge benefit.”
“Increasing opportunities for more people to come in, buy homes and become stakeholders will work to maintain the neighborhood and build stability,” said Mickey Vertino, president of the University Heights Collaborative.
“The path to home ownership can be difficult,” said Jerome M. Nagy, CEO WSNHS. “Working together with the UB H.O.M.E. program will further West Side NHS’s mission to preserve and revitalize Buffalo’s neighborhoods by providing safe, affordable and sustainable housing opportunities.”
Interest-free, deferred loans will now be open to university faculty and staff who hold an appointment of half-time (50%) or greater or who hold an adjunct or part-time faculty position with a term appointment who are interested in purchasing a home within the South Campus neighborhood.
The loans will help fund down payments and closing costs for purchasing homes in the designated neighborhoods. Eligible homes include those for sale is these areas:
Homes that fall within the area bounded by Kenmore Avenue and Main Street on the north; Bailey Avenue on the east; East Amherst Street on the south; and Shoshone Park and Angle Street on the west are eligible for loans of up to $5,000.
Buyers in the neighborhood to the southeast of the UB South Campus, bordered by Winspear Avenue to the north; Eggert Road to the east; Kensington Avenue, Bickford and Alice to the south; and Bailey Avenue to west are eligible for loans of up to $7,500.
Several WSNHS programs are available to UB H.O.M.E. applicants, including programs that carry clients through the entire process of buying and owning a home: from financial capability and homebuyer education, to closing cost assistance, to post-purchase education, home improvement loans and foreclosure prevention counseling.
For applicants who are not mortgage-ready, homeownership counselors will develop a plan to build credit and savings, using West Side NHS’s established three-part homebuyer program.
For more information on the UB H.O.M.E. program, go to www.buffalo.edu/homeloan, or call 716-885-2344.