Buffalo Awarded $250,000 In HUD Grants

March 18, 2011 Updated Mar 18, 2011 at 2:36 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Buffalo Awarded $250,000 In HUD Grants

March 18, 2011 Updated Mar 18, 2011 at 2:36 PM EDT


NEW YORK – (release) Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator Adolfo Carrión joined Mayor Byron W. Brown today to announce that Buffalo is among 17 cities to be awarded the first Planning Grant funding through the Department’s new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. Buffalo will receive $250,000 to transform the Commodore Perry Housing neighborhood, the Woodsen Gardens neighborhood, and Kowal Apartments neighborhood into new viable and sustainable mixed-income communities. (Attached please find a summary of Buffalo’s grant.)

The communities awarded funding today will share a total of $4 million in Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants while six other communities have been selected as finalists to compete for approximately $61 million in Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants.

HUD’s new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CN) will promote a comprehensive approach to transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods. Building on the successes of HUD’s HOPE VI Program, Choice Neighborhoods will link housing improvements with a wider variety of public services including schools, public transit and employment opportunities.

“Today, we turn a new page in the way we tackle intergenerational poverty,” said Mr. Carrión at the headquarters of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority on Perry Street. “President Obama has said that there is no greater economic policy than one that invests in our children’s future and helps America out-educate the world. But that's not possible if we leave a whole generation of children behind in our poorest neighborhoods. The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative expands on the bipartisan success of the HOPE VI program by recognizing that we must link affordable housing with a mix of incomes and uses with quality education, public transportation, good jobs and safe streets.”

"I would like to thank the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Regional Administrator Adolfo Carrion for providing the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority with the Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant which will be used to improve Commodore Perry, Woodsen Gardens and Kowal Apartments neighborhoods in the City of Buffalo,” said Mayor Brown.

The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is a centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s interagency Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative – a collaboration among the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Education, Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services to support the ability of local leaders from the public and private sectors and attract the private investment needed to transform distressed neighborhoods into sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with the affordable housing, safe streets and good schools every family needs.

“I am reassured to know that the Commodore Perry Homes neighborhood will benefit from this funding to confront the challenges they face,” said Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28). “This targeted federal investment will offer relief to an area suffering from concentrated poverty. It will also provide the tools necessary to plan for the transformation and revitalization of the neighborhood, creating strong community partnerships that benefit the City and its residents.”

HUD received 119 submissions for CN Planning Grants and 42 submissions from communities seeking CN Implementation Grants. Successful Planning Grant applicants demonstrated their intent to transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing while leveraging investments to create high-quality public schools, outstanding education and early learning programs, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs and well-functioning services. HUD focused on directing resources to address three core goals – housing, people and neighborhoods.

The 17 communities awarded CN Planning Grants will use the funding to build the capacity they need to get them ready to undertake a successful neighborhood transformation to create a choice neighborhood. These grants will enable these communities to create a comprehensive “Transformation Plan,” or road map, to transforming distressed public and/or assisted housing within a distressed community. This Federal support provides a significant incentive for the local community to take critical steps to create viable neighborhood transformation.

The six finalists for CN Implementation Grants have already undertaken the comprehensive local planning process and are ready to move forward with their Transformation Plan to redevelop their target neighborhoods. HUD will publish a second Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) shortly to give these finalists the opportunity to assemble and submit a more detailed application for the approximately $61 million in available funding. HUD will award these grants by the end of September 2011.

Congress approved the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative with the passage of HUD’s FY 2010 budget, allowing HUD to use $65 million in funding to provide competitive grants to assist in the transformation, rehabilitation and preservation of public housing and privately owned HUD-assisted housing. CN builds on the successes and lessons of HUD’s HOPE VI program and widens the traditional pool of eligible applicants by allowing, in addition to public housing authorities, local governments, nonprofit organizations and for-profit developers (who apply jointly with a public entity) to apply.

FY 2010 CHOICE NEIGHBORHOODS PLANNING GRANT AWARD INFORMATION

Buffalo, New York

Choice Neighborhoods Grantee: Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority

Target Public Housing Projects: Commodore Perry Homes and Woodson Gardens

Target Neighborhood: Commodore Perry Homes

Choice Neighborhoods Grant Award: $250,000

Key Partners:

University at Buffalo

Center for Urban Studies at the University of Buffalo (Planning Coordinator)

Project Summary:

The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) has partnered with the University of New York at Buffalo’s Center for Urban Studies to create a Transformation Plan for the Commodore Perry Homes area and the Woodson Gardens and Commodore Perry Homes housing developments. The targeted neighborhood is experiencing severe distress, with over 41 percent of the neighborhood living in poverty and a neighborhood vacancy rate (18.21%) that is more than four times the County rate. The targeted housing projects contain over 150 vacant units due to severe structural deficiencies. BMHA’s proposed Transformation Plan will bring together stakeholders to engage community leadership and form partnerships with key leaders. The planning strategy will center on developing community based activities that seek to empower and residents and stakeholders in the neighborhood to play lead roles in articulating the vision for rebuilding and transforming the targeted housing sites and the community as a whole. Major planning activities will include creating awareness of the planning process through initiation meetings, stakeholder interviews and targeted consultation sessions, engaging private and public partners over the life of the project, establishing communication links with the residents, completing a housing marketing and inventory study of the area and broadening the community’s knowledge related to sustainable community and LEED-ND