Governor Hochul announces increased efforts to end neighborhood scourge and increase homeownership in New York

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the expansion of the state’s Legacy Cities initiative, a targeted strategy to help local community revitalization efforts and increase homeownership opportunities in concentrated neighborhoods of New York. Launched earlier this year, the program will increase eligibility to now include all municipalities that meet specific criteria regarding locally coordinated investment efforts in well-defined neighborhoods or areas within the community. Additionally, the governor revealed that $ 4.8 million in funding had been provided under the program for projects in Albany, Newburgh and Syracuse.

“By expanding the Legacy Cities program, we are strengthening New York’s commitment to revitalizing disaster areas and bringing new homeownership equity opportunities to urban neighborhoods statewide. Governor Hochul said. “Families need safe, secure and affordable places to live, and I will continue to put the power of my administration behind programs that make this a reality while improving the quality of life in underserved neighborhoods across the state. . ”

Legacy Cities is a partnership between New York State Homes and Community Renewal and The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), a non-profit community development finance institution that focuses on the preservation and creation of affordable and workforce housing. works in New York.

The program, initially open only to upstate communities served by a New York State land bank, will now begin accepting applications from any municipality in the state seeking funding for revitalization efforts. targeting specific neighborhoods in the community. The goal is to help transform dilapidated and vacant structures into newly remodeled, move-in-ready homes, which will help expand affordable homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents, especially early adopters. buyers and households of color.

CPC provides construction funding and technical assistance to developers for all Legacy City projects through its ACCESS program, an initiative that provides financial resources and capacity building support to real estate entrepreneurs of color who have historically faced barriers to entry into the development industry.

During the first phase of the program, three projects received a total UNHCR grant of just under $ 4.8 million, and another construction funding of $ 2.8 million from CPC.

  • In Albany, the state has awarded $ 1.9 million for a project in the city’s West Hill neighborhood that will renovate nine existing buildings consisting of 20 units.
  • In Newburgh, the state will provide $ 2.1 million for renovations to six buildings totaling 16 units in the Lander Street neighborhood.
  • In Syracuse, $ 717,000 will go towards renovating five buildings that house a total of seven units in the city’s southern neighborhood.

UNHCR Commissioner Ruth Anne Visnauskas said, “The Legacy Cities initiative is a strategic investment in building community wealth in our neighborhoods in the upstate. The three awards for Syracuse, Newburgh and Albany will breathe new life into these city centers, improve safety and expand access to affordable homeownership, especially for buyers of color who have traditionally been under-represented in the home market. lodging. We look forward to replicating this fundraising model in more communities across the state to build a stronger, more equitable New York City. “

CPC President and CEO Rafael E. Cestero said: “CPC is focused on investing in programs that close the racial wealth gap and increase equity and diversity within the development industry. Legacy Cities helps level the playing field by prioritizing affordable property opportunities for first-time buyers of color and gives M / WBE developers the opportunity to grow their businesses while revitalizing the communities in which they live and work. I thank Governor Hochul, UNHCR Commissioner Visnauskas and our land bank partners for their commitment to creating diverse and vibrant communities.

Under the terms of the program, the selected municipalities and land banks will transfer sets of 10 houses of one to three families to local developers, with preference going to developers who are minority and women owned businesses. CPC will provide construction funding and each project will be eligible to receive up to $ 75,000 per unit in HCR grant, with a potential of $ 95,000 per unit if specific energy efficiency improvements are included within the scope of the project. project. Once completed, each property will be sold back to first-time home buyers, with priority given to households of color and families earning less than 80% of the region’s median income.

Applicants will need to coordinate with community housing counseling agencies to help with the home buying process for each property and to provide home ownership education and training. UNHCR, through the New York State Mortgage Agency (SONYMA), will also provide access to the “Give Us Credit” program – a statewide initiative that uses alternative credit analysis. to increase homeownership for applicants who have been underserved in the homeownership market, particularly applicants of color. HCR will offer down payment assistance to potential buyers to cover acquisition and closing costs.

Program applications will be accepted as they arise and the application window will remain open until program funds have been committed. For more information on the Legacy Cities initiative, including nominations and termsheets, visit the UNHCR website:

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