07.26.06

Schumer Urges Feds To Fund Center Court In Niagara Falls

Proposal Seeks To Transform And Revitalize Neighborhood By Building New Housing Units And Expanding Social Services ProgramsSchumer: Federal Dollars Would Lead To Better Homes And Economic Investment In Niagara Falls

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support the Niagara Falls Housing Authoritys (NFHA) recent application for funding under the HOPE VI grant program, which seeks to revitalize severely distressed public housing. Schumer, who serves on the Senate Banking Committee, which oversees HUD, said that federal assistance could lead to economic revitalization, jobs, and better homes in Niagara Falls.

"Development of the Center Court could transform and revitalize the neighborhood, attracting more working class families into the area, Schumer said. An increase in housing and enhancement of the neighborhood will bring new jobs, new energy, and new dollars. I continue to support this grant application, and hope that it receives quick approval.

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 underinsulated 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 is planning 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 and case management services to Center Court residents who will have the opportunity to achieve selfsufficiency by moving from welfare to work and purchase new homes. NFHAs HOPE VI grant applications have been rejected in past years, but they have recently reapplied for the new fiscal year.

In a personal letter to HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, Schumer wrote, With funding, the NFHA, working in conjunction with the City of Niagara Falls, area businesses, universities, local churches and the faith community, will transform and revitalize the entire neighborhood surrounding Center Court, attracting working class families and creating new economic opportunities. 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. The revitalization of Center Court will also provide singlefamily home ownership and marketquality rental housing in an area with significant need for quality affordable housing.

The HOPE VI Program of the U.S. 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.



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