Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative
This first phase of funding, which began in 2017, is a three-pronged approach and invests more than $4 million to begin work on nearly 250 homes this year.
$1.4 Million to Create New Homeownership Opportunities
The state is partnering with the City of Buffalo and investing $1.4 million to repair and make available for purchase to new homeowners City-owned vacant and abandoned properties on the East Side. This component of the initiative is providing a stabilizing force by targeting vacant properties on blocks where most of the other homes are occupied—early intervention to stop the spread of blight by building on a neighborhood’s strengths. As the homes are purchased, proceeds will be re-invested in additional homes.
$2 Million to Preserve Housing, Prevent Foreclosure, and Protect East Side Families
$2 million is being invested to directly assist approximately 200 families at elevated risk of losing their homes due to high costs of maintenance and energy usage. Community Foundation of Buffalo, along with other local partner organizations, will create healthy, sustainable living environments for families by helping homeowners access weatherization, repair, and home health programs (including lead remediation) from multiple organizations through a single process.
$1.02 Million to Prevent Zombie Properties
The third component of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program is an anti-foreclosure measure that will keep owners in their homes and stabilize neighborhoods. The initiative is investing over $1 million to address and prevent zombie properties. Under the program, the State of New York Mortgage Agency will purchase the mortgages of properties facing foreclosure on Buffalo’s East Side and in the Town of Cheektowaga. This component of the initiative will include one-on-one counseling with each mortgage holder and direct outreach with lenders to modify loans.
This $10 million three-year initiative will create homeownership opportunities, make needed home repairs to prevent foreclosure, and fund a targeted zombie property prevention strategy for Buffalo’s East Side and the Town of Cheektowaga. East Side and Cheektowaga neighborhoods are, with a few exceptions, comprised of older housing built prior to 1978. Many homes in these areas are at disproportionate risk to contain lead paint hazards, water intrusion, injury and safety issues, heating, plumbing, and electrical deficiencies. In some neighborhoods on the East Side, more than two-thirds of the population are “rent burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent.