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Call-in virtual citizen forums set for citizens to take part in Erie County community development program

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Wed, Sep 9th 2020 10:55 am

Forums allow public input on issues affecting elderly, low- and moderate-income households and residents with disabilities in Erie County

The Erie County Department of Environment & 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 Block Grant Consortium. The group 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 2021 community development application to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. 

The two call-in virtual citizen forums are scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, and Wednesday, Sept. 23. Citizens participating will call 716-858-2468, enter meeting number 6409 and enter attendee access code 3690.

“These public forums are designed to give residents the opportunity to advocate for what is important to them and let officials know what they value in their own neighborhoods,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. “It is important for residents to get involved, though, and I encourage all to participate and make their voices and concerns heard.”

These call-in virtual citizen 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.

Each of the 34 consortium municipalities will also hold community development public forums at one of their board meetings in the next six weeks. Citizens can contact their municipal governments to inquire on the dates and times of those forums.

Information obtained from these meetings will be used to formulate the Erie County Consortium's Community Development 2021 Action Plan. The update process will occur in early 2021.

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

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