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Income Assistance Program included in Mayor Brown's spending proposal

City of Buffalo income assistance program
Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 02:27:00-04

BUFFALO (WKBW)  — Providing relief to low-income residents in the City of Buffalo. It's a big part of the $331 million dollar spending proposal laid out by Mayor Byron Brown all using federal funding from the American Rescue Plan.

One of the ways Mayor Brown is proposing to help is by creating an Income Assistance Program. The two-year program would use $20 million in federal stimulus to provide monthly checks of $500 to more than 1,600 low-income households.

"Obviously there has been a very desperate impact in terms of the pandemic on populations in the City of Buffalo", said Brendan Mehaffy, the Executive Director of the Office of Strategic Planning. "These types of programs are very important for meeting that impact"

"The extra $6000 a year can really assists somebody in avoiding some of the extreme effects of poverty in terms of daily existence as well as not having the resources to look for different types of alternatives in helping themselves out of poverty", says Robert Silverman, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University at Buffalo.

Mehaffy says eligibility for the income assistance program will be defined by Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines but that several other details of the plan are still being worked on. The preliminary draft has qualifying households being selected by a lottery. Professor Silverman suggests a much more targeted approach.

"That kind of rubric I wouldn't expect to see the same type of effects across the board because people are in poverty for a variety of different reasons and sometimes short term access to additional funding isn't the right answer for everyone", said Silverman.

The plan will need the approval of the Buffalo Common Council before being sent to the federal government by the end of August. The city is accepting public comment on the plan. You can find the full proposal and a survey you can fill out by going to the city's website.