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Second round of East Side Commercial Districts Program in Buffalo includes $4 million in additional funding & expanded building renovation program


Mon, Aug 1st 2022 11:00 am

√ Part of governor's $50 million targeted investments in east Buffalo

√ Starting Aug. 3, residents can call 211 to learn more about programs

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Saturday announced applications are open for comprehensive programs supporting residents of east Buffalo as part of the state's $50 million targeted investments. She applications will be available today for the second round of the $4 million East Side Commercial Districts Program, which is creating an expanded building renovation program in four investment areas – Jefferson Avenue Commercial District, MLK Park Business District, Broadway Fillmore and Kensington Bailey – to improve the business climate, combat commercial vacancies, and contribute to the corridors' overall revitalization.

Additionally, Hochul announced applications for the $20 million Buffalo East Homeowner Assistance Fund, $10 million Buffalo East Home Improvement Program, and $4.5 million East Buffalo Down Payment Assistance Plus Program will open Tuesday, Aug. 9.

Starting Wednesday, Aug. 3, residents can call 211 to learn about housing programs and small business grants, and how to apply.

"As members of the east Buffalo community continue to heal from this terrible tragedy, we remain committed to taking on systemic challenges to help recover and build back stronger," Hochul said. "On this ‘Day of Hope and Healing,’ I am proud to announce these vital resources available to east Buffalo residents in collaboration with the city, the county, community members and other partners."

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "With the launch of applications for the second round of the East Side Commercial Districts Program, we will begin to see capital investments that will transform these commercial districts, developing and enhancing businesses and increasing mixed-use opportunities that better serve and revitalize these Buffalo neighborhoods."

•East Side Commercial Districts Program: Applications for the East Side Commercial Districts Program are due Friday, Sept. 16, and are available at the website for each local program administrator (LPA): Broadway Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services (BFNHS), Citizens' Alliance Inc. in partnership with the Black Chamber of Commerce, and University District Community Development Association (UDCDA). A public information session, to provide details of the program and second round application process, is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, at PS 309 East Community High School, located at 820 Northampton St., Buffalo. There will also be a virtual option. Those planning to attend in person or virtually can RSVP here.

Find the map of eligible districts here. Interested applicants should contact their LPAs for more information.

•$20 Million Buffalo East Homeowner Assistance Fund Program (BEHAF): The governor announced the $20 million BEHAF to assist homeowners behind on water, taxes, sewer charges and user fees, which will run through the Western New York Law Center (WNYC).

•$10 Million Buffalo East Home Improvement Program (BEHIP): Hochul also established the BEHIP to assist homeowners with emergency home repairs, including code violations and major system repairs. This will be administered by five local nonprofits: PUSH Buffalo, Broadway-Fillmore, NeighborWorks Community Partners, Heart of the City and the Community Action Organization of Buffalo.

•$4.5 Million East Buffalo Down Payment Assistance Plus Program (DPAL+): To assist residents in purchasing a home by providing down payment assistance, Hochul additionally announced the creation of DPAL+. The program will be offered through three SONYMA participating lenders: Premium Mortgage, M&T Bank, and First Priority Mortgage.

Opening of Goodwill ‘Goodskills’ Career Builder Walk-in Center

In June, Hochul announced the state would invest $1.5 million to partner with Goodwill to expand the “Goodskills” Career Builder Program for East Buffalo. This program builds off the pilot program launched in 2021 and aims to equip individuals from communities in east Buffalo with the skills employers seek to fill higher-paying, in-demand jobs in manufacturing, technology, health care, and sales and services.

Goodwill is opening a “Goodskills” Career Builder walk-in center at the Group Ministries office at 1333 Jefferson Ave. The walk-in center will allow local residents to gather information and sign up for the program.

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