Attorney General James Awards $800,000 To Buffalo For The Creation And Preservation Of Affordable Housing

Attorney General James Awards $800,000 to Buffalo for the Creation and Preservation of Affordable Housing

Grant Will Be Used on the Formation and Development of Community Land Trusts

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BUFFALO — Attorney General Letitia James announced that the City of Buffalo received a grant of $800,000 in the second round of the “Community Land Trusts Capacity Building Initiative,” which acquires and renovates distressed properties, as well as provide training and technical assistance to homeowners, and create permanent affordable housing for the benefit of low- and middle-income families.

“As Buffalo continues to feel and see the effects of the housing crisis each and every day, we must do everything we can to help our communities thrive and grow," said Attorney General James. "Preserving and expanding affordable housing will benefit all Buffalonians. This grant will provide the City of Buffalo and the FB Community Land Trust the necessary assistance to ensure affordability in the neighborhood.”

The grant provided is a continuation of the 2017 Community Land Trust Initiative, a program created by the Office of the New York Attorney General and Enterprise Community Partners to support the formation of six community land trusts in the state. This program also led to the creation of a CLT Learning Exchange comprised of nine community-based organizations, to address housing challenges, especially vacancy and blight, and to develop and promote new models of community ownership of affordable housing and community spaces.

“Enterprise is excited to provide this second round of funding to catalyze new Community Land Trusts and strengthen existing ones,” said Enterprise Community Partners Vice President and New York Market Leader Judi Kende. “CLTs give neighborhood residents the power to decrease displacement, ensure permanent affordability, and, most importantly, make decisions about development in their own communities. This round of funding will deepen that work by supporting even more CLTs and expanding opportunities for local stakeholders to play an active role in revitalizing and preserving communities across New York.”

This affordable housing grant is a critical resource that will also support homeownership trainings for CLT residents, and will allow the local government of Buffalo and the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust acquire, redevelop, and manage new affordable rental housing units and rehabilitate blighted and vacant homes for low- and moderate-income families.

“I thank New York State Attorney General Letitia James for awarding $800,000 for the FB Community Land Trust,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. “Funds from the Community Land Trust Capacity Building Initiative will help us address housing needs and improve our historic Fruit Belt neighborhood, which complements my Administration’s ongoing efforts to continue to cultivate a City of Opportunity for all residents.”

The FB Community Land Trust was created in March 2018. With these funds, it also plans to repurchase and renovate five additional homes in the Fruit Belt neighborhood. These homes will serve low-income families, providing rental and homeownership opportunities for low- and middle-income families.

"FB Community Land Trust is excited to be chosen to participate in the Community Land Trusts Capacity Building Initiative,” said FBCLT Executive Director India Walton. “We are grateful to Attorney General James and her staff for all the hard work and dedication to secure funding to support community-centered development. We look forward to collaborating with the City of Buffalo and Enterprise Community Partners to establish community land trusts as a viable tool for development without displacement. This funding will allow us to have a demonstrable impact on the quality of life for residents of the Fruit Belt neighborhood and the greater Buffalo community." 

Enterprise Community Partners released a report on the impact of the first round of the Community Land Trust Initiative. Enterprise was able to leverage the initial grants into a $63 million investment for permanent affordable housing in NYC, Long Island, and Albany. The first round of the program resulted in the creation of 70 buildings or homes, 453 permanently affordable housing units, and 34 new positions or jobs.

The program also reserves $200,000 if the grantees need additional funding before the two-year program is complete.