03.17.15

AFTER ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES CUT TO ONE OF ROCHESTER’S MOST IMPORTANT FED PROGRAMS, SCHUMER VOWS TO FIGHT FOR FULL FUNDING IN CONGRESS TO PRESERVE IT – FED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM HAS BEEN CRITICAL TO DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT & COMBATING POVERTY; CUTS COULD SLOW PROGRESS

Administration Proposed Cutting $200 Million from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program In Upcoming Fiscal Year – Rochester Received More Than $9.5 Million in Funding in 2014 Alone & It Is A Major Driver In City-Wide Development; CDBG Funding Has Allowed the City to Create and Retain Thousands of Local Jobs for Low-Income Workers

CDBG Has Helped Rochester Fund Transformative Development Initiatives Each Year, Like Revitalizing the Historic Carriage Factory; Create Good-Paying Jobs By Supporting Local Housing Projects, Like the Construction of the ‘Voter’s Block’ Housing Units Along the City’s W. Main Street; Invest in Neighborhood Rehabilitation Plans, Like the Repairing of Roofs for Low-Income Homeowners

Schumer: Protecting Community Development Block Grant Funding Is Critical to Combating Rochester’s High Poverty Rate Through New Jobs, Construction


Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer launched his push to preserve federal funding for one of Rochester’s most important federal programs that the administration proposed cutting in its Fiscal Year 2016 budget. Schumer said the proposed $200 million cut to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program would be damaging to Rochester, and Schumer said he will make preserving funding for the CDBG program a priority in this congress. The CDBG program provides the City of Rochester and other municipalities like it around New York and the nation with critical funding for transformative and unique development projects, and needed funding to leverage outside investment in job creating projects for low-income residents. Schumer said that Rochester received more than $9.5 million in CDBG funding in 2014-2015 alone, of which Rochester dedicated 66% to poverty reduction efforts, and cuts to the program could hinder many of the projects underway as well as ones it hopes to launch over the next few months and years. Schumer cited development projects like Rochester’s W. Main Street downtown revitalization, the renovation of the historic Carriage Factory, and the neighborhood housing initiatives currently underway throughout Rochester as prime examples of how this funding has been used in the past and can continue to be used. Schumer said any cut in the national funding level would likely lower the dollar amount Rochester receives, and that is unacceptable when the funding is doing so much good.

“Funding from the Community Development Block Grant program has helped transform Rochester over the past 25 years; without this federal funding, many local job-creating development projects that reversed blighted neighborhoods and boosted jobs and support for low-income workers might not be here today. Rochester—as well as many smaller cities across New York State and the country—relies on these funds for a wide range of housing initiatives and downtown revitalization projects that continue to be a boon for the local economy. That is why we must make sure the CDBG program is fully funded,” said Schumer. “A $200 million cut nationwide could have a real impact on projects underway or yet to begin in Rochester. This program is too important to let funding levels slip, and I will be leading the charge in Congress to preserve the funding level so cities like Rochester that rely on it can continue to benefit from it.”

According to HUD, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. The CDBG program funds affordable housing projects, provides services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and creates jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses. The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to 1,209 general units of local government and States. Schumer said these grants are critical for the City of Rochester as well as many other small cities like it across the state and country because they are capable of funding the kinds of business development, housing, and revitalization projects that have the potential to be a boon to the local and regional economies.

CDBG is facing a $200M cut in FY2016, and Schumer said this cut could threaten major development programs in small cities like Rochester and others across New York State. Rochester received more than $9.5 million in CDBG funding in 2014-2015 alone, and this program has helped fund many of the development projects downtown and across the city. Over the past 25 years, many of the City of Rochester’s major improvement projects were recipients of CDBG funds.

In particular, Schumer said the CDBG program has helped fund business and neighborhood development initiatives across Rochester. Rochester is currently using CDBG funds to revitalize the historic Carriage Factory building into one that can house 65 residential apartments, 39 of which would be used to provide support services to persons with severe and persistent mental illness. This CDBG funding is also allowing the City of Rochester to support local housing projects, like the construction of the ‘Voter’s Block’ housing units along West Main Street and in the Jefferson Avenue area. This project also created a new pedestrian trail and connector path that links the Jefferson Avenue area to the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood across W. Main Street and east to the Center City. It has also allowed the city to determine the areas of most need and allocate funds towards low-income residents and seniors who need financial assistance with things like roof repairs. Rochester’s ongoing Marketview Heights Urban Renewal project has also been funded by CDBG dollars, which has made great strides in making façade and landscaping improvements to increase business activity and local homeownership in the neighborhood around the Rochester Public Market. CDBG funding is used to provide loans and grants to businesses buying new equipment or upgrading their buildings that pledge to create new jobs, with 51% of new jobs to be created for low to moderate income workers.  Other funding is targeted to minority, women, or low-income individuals that are investing in the City of Rochester by opening new businesses and creating new jobs.  On top of all of this success as a result of CDBG funding, Schumer said, these federal supported and funded projects have created good-paying local jobs in the Rochester area. For 2014-2015, Rochester received more than $9.5 million in CDBG funding, which Schumer said allowed the city to retain approximately 1,500 jobs each year, create an additional 800 jobs, and invest in these kinds of transformative projects.

Schumer said this kind of business and neighborhood development could be significantly hindered if funding for the CDBG program is slashed. While Congress typically requests a higher CDBG funding amount than the Administration, Schumer said the program has still been cut a total of $78 million since FY2013, and the trend toward cutting the program each year could put crucial development projects at risk. As a result, Schumer announced he will be pushing back against these proposed cuts and has vowed to fight to protect federal programming that is critical to Rochester, such as CDBG funds.

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