Governor Hochul Announces Applications Open For Comprehensive Programs Supporting Residents of East Buffalo

For Immediate Release: 7/30/2022GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL

Second Round of East Side Commercial Districts Program in Buffalo Includes $4 Million in Additional Funding and Expanded Building Renovation Program  

Applications for $20 Million Buffalo East Homeowner Assistance Fund Program, $10 Million Buffalo East Home Improvement Program, $4.5 Million East Buffalo Down Payment Assistance Plus Program to Open on August 9 

Part of Governor’s Historic $50 Million Targeted Investments in East Buffalo  

Starting August 3, Residents Can Call 211 to Learn More About Programs 

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that applications are open for comprehensive programs supporting residents of East Buffalo as part of the state’s historic $50 million targeted investments. The Governor announced applications WILL BE available MONDAY for THE second round of the $4 million East Side Commercial Districts Program, which is creating an expanded building renovation program in four investment areas—Jefferson Avenue Commercial District, MLK Park Business District, Broadway Fillmore, and Kensington Bailey—to improve the business climate, combat commercial vacancies, and contribute to the corridors’ overall revitalization. Additionally, Governor Hochul announced that applications for the $20 million Buffalo East Homeowner Assistance Fund, $10 million Buffalo East Home Improvement Program, and $4.5 million East Buffalo Down Payment Assistance Plus Program will open on Tuesday, August 9. Starting Wednesday, August 3, residents can call 211 to learn about our housing programs and small business grants and how to apply.  

“As members of the East Buffalo community continue to heal from this terrible tragedy, we remain committed to taking on systemic challenges to help recover and build back stronger,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “On this Day of Hope and Healing, I am proud to announce these vital resources available to East Buffalo residents in collaboration with the City, the County, community members and other partners.”  

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “With the launch of applications for the second round of the East Side Commercial Districts Program, we will begin to see capital investments that will transform these commercial districts, developing and enhancing businesses and increasing mixed-use opportunities that better serve and revitalize these Buffalo neighborhoods.” 

East Side Commercial Districts Program 

Applications for the East Side Commercial Districts Program are due Friday, September 16, and will be available on Monday, August 1 at the website for each Local Program Administrator (LPA): Broadway Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services (BFNHS), Citizens’ Alliance, Inc. in partnership with the Black Chamber of Commerce and University District Community Development Association (UDCDA). A public information session, to provide details of the program and second round application process, is scheduled for Tuesday, August 9 at 5:30 p.m. at PS 309 East Community High School, located at 820 Northampton Street in Buffalo. There will also be a virtual option.  If you plan to attend in person or virtually, please RSVP here.   

Find the map of eligible districts here. Interested applicants should contact their LPAs for more information.  

$20 Million Buffalo East Homeowner Assistance Fund Program (BEHAF)   

The Governor announced the $20 million Buffalo East Homeowner Assistance Fund Program (BEHAF) to assist homeowners behind on water, taxes, sewer charges and user fees, which will run through the Western New York Law Center (WNYC).  

$10 Million Buffalo East Home Improvement Program (BEHIP)    

Governor Hochul also established the Buffalo East Home Improvement Program (BEHIP) to assist homeowners with emergency home repairs including code violations and major system repairs. This will be administered by five local nonprofits: PUSH Buffalo, Broadway-Fillmore, NeighborWorks Community Partners, Heart of the City and the Community Action Organization of Buffalo. 

$4.5 Million East Buffalo Down Payment Assistance Plus Program (DPAL+)     

To assist residents in purchasing a home by providing Down Payment Assistance, Governor Hochul additionally announced the creation of the East Buffalo Down Payment Assistant Plus Program (DPAL+). The program will be offered through three SONYMA participating lenders: Premium Mortgage, M&T Bank, and First Priority Mortgage. 

Opening of Goodwill Goodskills Career Builder Walk-in Center 

In June, Governor Hochul announced that the State would invest $1.5 million to partner with Goodwill to expand the ‘Goodskills’ Career Builder Program for East Buffalo. This program builds off the Goodskills pilot program launched in 2021 and will equip individuals from communities in East Buffalo with the skills employers seek to fill higher-paying, in-demand jobs in manufacturing, technology, healthcare, and sales and services.  

On Monday, August 1, Goodwill will open a Goodskills Career Builder walk-in center at the Group Ministries office at 1333 Jefferson Avenue. The program focuses on equipping individuals from East Buffalo with the skills employers seek to fill higher-paying, in-demand jobs in manufacturing, tech, healthcare, and sales and services. The walk-in center will allow local residents to gather information and sign up for the program there. 

Applications Now Open for Round 2 of the East Side Commercial District Program in the JEFFERSON COMMERCIAL DISTRICT!

Applications are now open for the second round of the East Side Commercial District Program (ESCDP) in the JEFFERSON AVENUE COMMERCIAL DISTRICT. Commercial properties located on Jefferson Avenue between East Ferry Street and BFNC Drive are eligible for New York State grant funding to complete renovations to commercial and mixed-use properties.

Empire State Development (ESD), the state’s chief economic development agency, is working with Citizens Alliance (CAI) in partnership with the Black Chamber of Commerce of WNY (BCCWNY) to administer the program and allocate an additional $1 million to the JEFFERSON AVENUE COMMERCIAL DISTRICT. Since 2020, Citizens Alliance has been successful in administering Round 1 of ESCDP, as well as several similar renovation grants and is looking forward to producing more wins for business development in the JEFFERSON COMMERCIAL DISTRICT.

Round 2 program guidelines have been revised from Round 1 to allow for up to $100,000 in grant assistance to commercial property owners with buildings in need of exterior and interior repairs and are inclusive of architecture/engineering support and a contingency fund. Building owners are required to contribute 10% of the total project costs.

Interested in applying and want to learn more about the program?

Please join ESD and the other ESCDP Local Program Administrators (LPAs) at a program-wide information session on Tuesday, August 9th at 5:30 p.m. at PS 309 East Community High School, located at 820 Northampton Street in Buffalo. There will also be a virtual option. 

Please RSVP here and a Zoom link will be sent to you.

See here for Information Session Flier. ESCDP Flyer Round 2_with District Map

We will also be hosting a JEFFERSON COMMERCIAL DISTRICT specific information session on Wednesday, August 17th, 12:30p at Group Ministry 1333 Jefferson Avenue. Please contact Citizens Alliance at (716) 597-0262 if you’d like to attend.

Applications will be accepted until Friday, September 16, 2022.

Applications are available here and at https://citizensallianceinc.org/get-an-application-for-the-east-side-commercial-district-program-jefferson/.

You can email your application to c_alliance836@yahoo.com or mail/drop off your application at: Citizens Alliance/Black Chamber of Commerce of WNY, 836 E. Delavan Avenue, Buffalo NY 14215.

Contact Sydney at (716) 597-0262 with any questions you have about applying!

About the East Side Commercial District Program

The East Side Commercial District Program is an initiative for the City of Buffalo as part of the East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund (ESCEDF), through Empire State Development (ESD).  This program is creating an expanded building renovation program in four investment areas—Jefferson Avenue Commercial District, MLK Park Business District, Broadway Fillmore, and Kensington Bailey—to improve the business climate, combat commercial vacancies, and contribute to the corridors’ overall revitalization. Funding will help to revive traditional main streets and commercial corridors through the preservation of historic buildings, funding of capital improvements in neighborhood assets, and expansion of commercial opportunities in these neighborhoods.

To learn more about Empire State Development’s East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund, visit  https://buffalobillion.ny.gov/east-side-corridor-economic-development-fund

To learn more about the East Side Commercial District Program, visit https://buffalobillion.ny.gov/east-side-commercial-districts-program

Visit the East Side Avenues website to learn more about the initiative and the investments being made in Buffalo’s East Side. Go to www.eastsideavenues.org

Get an Application for the East Side Commercial District Program JEFFERSON

Applications are now open for the second round of the East Side Commercial District Program (ESCDP) in the JEFFERSON AVENUE COMMERCIAL DISTRICT. Commercial properties located on Jefferson Avenue between East Ferry Street and BFNC Drive are eligible for New York State grant funding to complete renovations to commercial and mixed-use properties.

Click the link below to download and print the application for ESCDP Jefferson. 

R2_ESCDP Application with Supplement Documentation_Jefferson

Applications are due: Friday, September 16, 2022

You can email your application to c_alliance836@yahoo.com or mail/drop off your application at:

Citizens Alliance/Black Chamber of Commerce of WNY

836 E. Delavan Avenue

Buffalo NY 14215

Contact Sydney at (716) 597-0262 with any questions you have about applying!

The East Side Commercial District Program for Jefferson Avenue is a Citizens Alliance and Black Chamber of Commerce of WNY collaboration.