Tonawanda News

December 4, 2013

Housing grant renewal sought

By Michael Regan michael.regan@tonawanda-news.com
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda will hold two public hearings in the coming weeks as it seeks to obtain a $400,000 state grant that could lead to the rehabilitation of severely damaged homes owned by low-to-moderate income residents of the city. 

The venture, fronted by the city’s Community Development arm under the Lumber City Development Corp., would be a repeat of a similar grant obtained in 2010 that has overhauled major structural damage in 18 city homes in the Avenues. 

Dilapidated roofing, collapsing porches, lead paint exposure and outdated plumbing and electrical lines are among the many fixes the previous grant has allowed. 

But with the funding from that grant drying up, Richard Tindell, LCDC director, said his outfit, the common council and the mayor will take the input gathered from residents to determine the next target area, which falls under the requirements of the block grant. 

“New York state issued a notice of availability of fund for a variety of housing programs and we decided this is the one that would best fit our needs,” Tindell said. “This is just the first step in the process.” 

The grant is offered on a competitive basis through the New York State Office of Community Development and based off 2010 census data. 

Tindell said if the grant application is approved 15 homeowners would be eligible for vital repairs, with the bulk of those who qualify often senior citizens. 

“It could be any number of issues,” Tindell said. “Some don’t meet building code standards others pose safety issued to the people who are occupying the homes. The improvements would have to be for single-family, owner-occupied, income-qualified homes.” 

Council President Rich Andres, who represents the Second Ward, which holds many older homes in the city, said that the grant would partly use census data to assist in determining what sections of the city would become a focal point while combining information obtained from the public sessions. 

“We have an aging housing stock in some sections of the city,” he said. “And you have people in need for lots of reasons.” 

The pubic hearings will be held at Monday and Dec. 16 at 500 Wheatfield St. For more information call 695-8580.