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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 2, 2004

Schumer Lobbies Feds For Funding To Build Up Center Court In Niagara Falls

NFHA seeks to revitalize neighborhood by building 280 new housing units and extending social services programs

Schumer: Federal assistance could lead to commercial interest, jobs, and better homes in Niagara Falls

The Niagara Falls Housing Authority (NFHA) is deserving of federal funds to revitalize the Center Court public housing project and the surrounding neighborhood, US Senator Charles E. Schumer told US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Designate Alphonso Jackson today in a letter urging him to accept NFHA's application to the HOPE VI grant program. Schumer, who sits on the Senate Banking Committee which oversees HUD, said that federal assistance could lead to commercial interest, jobs, and better homes in Niagara Falls.

"The Center Court revitalization project could attract a significant amount of retail development which would expand both job growth and consumer choice in the area," Schumer said. "Developers like to see growth and potential, and the Center Court revitalization project has a real chance to create a domino effect of redevelopment and investment in the Niagara Falls region."

Built in 1942, Center Court consists of 134 public housing units and is surrounded by a neighborhood that is severely distressed and in need of a comprehensive revitalization effort. Currently units are under-insulated and experience significant drainage problems. The unit designs are too small and are functionally obsolete, and the site needs to significantly upgrade its infrastructure. The NFHA seeks to revitalize Center Court by constructing approximately 280 new housing units on and around Center Court. In addition, NFHA wants to extend comprehensive social services programs and case management services to Center Court residents who will have the opportunity to achieve self-sufficiency by moving from welfare to work and purchase new homes.

In a letter today to HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, Schumer said that a federal Hope VI grant would help NFHA transform and revitalize the neighborhood surrounding Center Court, attracting working class families and creating new economic opportunities in the area. "The availability of housing and the stabilization of the neighborhood will lead to commercial investment in the form of retail and services which will in turn create jobs and provide amenities for residents," Schumer wrote. "The revitalization of Center Court will also provide single-family home ownership and market-quality rental housing in an area with significant need for quality affordable housing. I applaud the Niagara Falls Housing Authority in its foresight and hope its application for funding meets with your approval."

The HOPE VI Program of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development exists to eradicate severely distressed public housing. The program seeks to support revitalization through physical improvements, management improvements, and social and community services to address resident needs. HUD awards grants to organizations and groups through a competitive process.

For more information, please visit http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/programs/ph/hope6/index.cfm

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