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Higgins: Additional $9M in COVID-19 emergency funding for WNY communities


Fri, Sep 11th 2020 11:00 am

Community Development Block Grants awarded to Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Amherst, Cheektowaga, Tonawanda & Erie County

Congressman Brian Higgins announced Western New York will receive over $9 million in federal emergency funding through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to help local communities respond to and recover from the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding, included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act approved by Congress, is in addition to the nearly $20 million in emergency federal funding for local municipalities announced by Higgins in April, including $13 million in CDBG funds.

Higgins said, “Our local municipalities have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning, and will continue to be throughout the duration of this pandemic. This funding will continue important and necessary relief work in our communities as we fight for additional resources to battle the coronavirus and fight for the health and safety of Western New York.”

Under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, eligible cities, towns and counties are awarded CDBG resources to support local community development needs, such as affordable housing, infrastructure investment, and job creation. In April, HUD provided guidance for eligible activities to support infectious disease response, with potential uses including:

√ Public services: including testing, equipment, supplies, health care worker training, Meals on Wheels or other food access.

√ Small business assistance: grants or loans for business expansion/job creation; support for manufacturers of medical supplies; short-term working capital assistance to help with job retention; assistance for microenterprises that provide medical, food delivery, cleaning or other services supporting home health and quarantine.

√ Building improvements: to allow for clinics, improve/expand existing facilities, retrofit hotels or other buildings for patient care.




Town of Amherst




Town of Cheektowaga


Niagara Falls


Town of Tonawanda


Erie County







In July, Higgins joined City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino to detail the city’s plan to implement CARES Act funding provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In Niagara Falls, CDBG and Emergency Solutions Grant funding is being used for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), suicide prevention, homeless intervention, COVID-19 testing supplies and other capital and program investments.

Under the Heroes Act, supported by Higgins and approved by the House of Representatives over 100 days ago, Western New York’s CDBG-eligible communities would receive an additional $33.5 million in CDBG funding as well as millions more in state and local aid. The Senate has yet to vote on this emergency funding package.

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