Higgins and Mayor Teresi Announce Funding In Chautauqua

March 28, 2011 Updated Mar 28, 2011 at 4:52 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Higgins and Mayor Teresi Announce Funding In Chautauqua

March 28, 2011 Updated Mar 28, 2011 at 4:52 PM EDT

( release ) Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) and Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi announced Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation (CHRIC), a member of the national NeighborWorks® network serving Chautauqua County, is being awarded $63,450 in federal grant funds from NeighborWorks® America. This Fiscal Year 2011 funding will support the organization's efforts to carry out community development projects countywide that helps create and sustain local contracting jobs, to help preserve affordable housing for low and moderate-income residents, and to engage in neighborhood revitalization efforts in Jamestown, NY, including youth education and job training efforts with the agency’s Jamestown Youthbuild program.

“Time and again I am impressed with the vast array of vital work CHRIC does under the great leadership of John Murphy,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “These federal funds help with ongoing operations to assist local homeowners and build stronger neighborhoods.”

In Chautauqua County, CHRIC provides homeownership counseling and education, rehabilitates owner-occupied homes, and reduces Lead Based Paint in rental units. CHRIC provides municipalities with technical assistance in developing grant submissions for a variety of community development projects, is implementing a neighborhood revitalization strategy on Jamestown’s north side, assists new workers moving to self sufficiency with modest transportation grant assistance, and helps elderly and disabled persons remain in their homes through home modifications. CHRIC also provides counseling for persons in danger of losing their homes through foreclosure.

The Leaders made the announcement at a house on Falconer Street in Jamestown where Youthbuild students are currently working to rehab a vacant house. In 2009 Congressman Higgins announced a $644,051 federal grant for CHRIC’s Jamestown Youthbuild program. With the help of the current grant two formerly vacant homes in the city have been rehabilitated, and 23 students have gone on to complete their GED, with six currently enrolled in college.

The current federal budget cuts $102.5 million for Youthbuild and for Job Corps that benefit local organizations like CHRIC and Cassadaga Job Corps, a move Congressman Higgins opposes.

“We have tangible evidence that Youthbuild not only changes neighborhoods but it changes lives,” said Congressman Higgins. “We see evidence of that right here in Jamestown. This is a program that our community and our kids can’t afford to lose.” CHRIC has a pending Youthbuild grant application pending that may be affected by funding decisions Congress makes this year.

Mayor Sam Teresi stated, “The Youth Build program has been a tremendous success in the City of Jamestown. I appreciate that Congressman Higgins is fighting to keep this worthwhile funding intact. Not only is this money invested directly into our neighborhoods, but it is giving young people a chance to develop valuable skills for their future.”

“The 2010 census figures have just shown the population of Jamestown to be holding steady for the last ten years and our most recent unaudited financial results for budget year 2010 show the City of Jamestown once again to be ending the year in a surplus despite all of the challenges thrown at us,” added Jamestown City Council President Greg Rabb. “There are many reasons for these outcomes but no doubt programs like Youthbuild have played a significant role in our efforts to continue to successfully revitalize our city for the future of our youth.”

John Murphy thanked Congressman Higgins for his continuing support of Youthbuild funding despite attempts by the House Appropriations Committee to eliminate all youth training program funding. “Through three Youthbuild contracts we have helped approximately 50 dropped-out youth earn their General Equivalency Degrees. And at the same time we have taught more than 50 at-risk youth employability skills through the rehabilitation of six formerly vacant houses, all returned to the tax rolls and five sold to first-time homeowners. This is a program that works to everyone’s benefit.”

NeighborWorks America is a public non-profit organization, established by Congress in 1978, and is the nation's original community/public/private partnership model, using a locally-driven NeighborWorks organization that leverages public and private investment.

Chautauqua County homeowners who feel they might be at-risk of foreclosure should contact Brenda Bunce at CHRIC’s Mayville offices at 753-4118 and leave a message.