Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $4.1 million in Federal grants are available through New York State Homes and Community Renewal, to 42 cities, towns and villages in Westchester for housing, public infrastructure, public facilities and economic development activities. Prior to this year, these municipalities were part of the Westchester County Consortium that was prohibited from receiving funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) due to the County’s non-compliance with federal Fair Housing requirements. The County disbanded the Consortium this year, enabling the former members to apply directly to the State for funding if they provide evidence of affirmatively furthering fair housing.
In February 2015, Governor Cuomo and Congresswoman Lowey announced an agreement to release a targeted Request for Proposals for HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to address priority issues in eligible Westchester communities. New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) has now issued the Request for Proposals to eligible local governments that serve populations of less than 50,000. HCR will award more than $4 million through the competitive application to ensure that funding goes to initiatives that encourage investment in communities, revitalize development and are well integrated with other regional priorities.
“This funding is a vital resource for communities in Westchester, and today we are able to restart the grant process and further improve the quality of life throughout the County,” said Governor Cuomo. “This was a collaborative effort between our administration, Congresswoman Lowey and many other partners in government, and I am pleased to see this critical funding made available once again to the groups that need it most.”
“This Request for Proposals presents a path forward for cities and towns in Westchester that are meeting their obligation to build inclusive communities,” said Holly Leicht, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. “CDBG funding is a life source for municipalities nationwide that are investing in infrastructure, economic development opportunities and affordable housing. We thank HCR and Congressmembers Lowey and Engel for working closely with HUD to bring much-needed Federal funding to municipalities in Westchester County that share our commitment to improving communities equitably.”
Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey said, “The Governor and I found a creative solution so that HUD investments will once again be made in Westchester, and I’m pleased that communities in the county will receive more than $4 million for economic development and public infrastructure projects in the coming months.”
Congressman Eliot Engel said, “For several years, I have argued that local communities should not be forced to bear the costs of a drawn out legal dispute. I am pleased that today, those communities are now eligible to partake in these competitive grant applications,” said Congressman Eliot Engel. “This money will help to pay for much needed projects and directly benefit the hardworking people of Westchester. I thank Governor Cuomo, a former secretary of HUD, for understanding how critical these funds are, and working to channel them to those who need it most.”
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said, “These critical investments in our community will help ensure a brighter future for all of us. CDBG allows our local municipalities to complete essential economic development projects that will create good paying jobs and affordable housing to boost the economy in the Hudson Valley.”
James S. Rubin, Commissioner/CEO of HCR said, “We are committed to supporting vital development projects across the state that expand and preserve affordable housing opportunities. These grants empower Westchester’s communities by allowing them to access Federal funding streams. Thanks to the Governor’s leadership and HUD’s commitment to finding an equitable solution for vulnerable communities, eligible Westchester municipalities can move forward with their robust initiatives. I look forward to being part of that process, coordinating with Secretary Castro to bring these priority funds to Westchester residents.”
Unlike the funds that Westchester County forfeited, these funds are competitive and are administered through the State. The eligible towns had formed the Westchester County Consortium to meet the population threshold necessary to receive a non-competitive annual allocation of CDBG funding. That status precluded the towns from applying to the State for competitive funds. Now that they have that opportunity, HCR and HUD agreed to issue a targeted RFP for the amount of additional funding the State is receiving this year, thanks to the addition of the Westchester towns that were formerly part of the County’s Consortium.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal will administer these CDBG funds and ensure that recipients comply with fair housing law. Local governments must demonstrate that the proposed project will primarily impact low- and moderate-income households for initiatives that finance the creation, renovation or energy-efficient retrofits of affordable housing, as well as infrastructure funding. Under the terms of the state/federal agreement eligible projects must be located in the catchment area of the former Westchester County Consortium.
The 2015 Westchester County Competitive Application for Housing, Public Infrastructure, Economic Development and Public Facilities is available here and is due October 23, 2015.
The New York State Office of Community Renewal at HCR will be conducting technical assistance workshops for municipal officials on Tuesday, July 28th, at the following locations:
· Mount Kisco Public Library, 2nd Floor, 100 Main Street, Mount Kisco at 10:00 AM
· Town of Mamaroneck Town Hall, 740 West Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, NY at 1:00 PM
HCR agencies include the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others. In 2014, HCR boasted a record year, financing the creation or preservation of 9,407 affordable housing units, including affordable homeownership opportunities for more than one thousand families. 2015 marks the third year of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion statewide House NY program, whose goal is to create or preserve 14,300 affordable units by 2018. As the largest investment in New York State’s affordable housing stock in at least 15 years, House NY investments will keep thousands of low- and moderate-income Mitchell-Lama units affordable for another 40 years. The House NY initiative works in tandem with HCR’s vigorous efforts to protect more than two million rent-regulated tenants thanks to the greatest strengthening of the state’s rent laws in 30 years, and the creation of HCR’s Tenant Protection Unit which proactively audits and investigates landlord wrongdoing and has returned more than 40,000 units to rent regulation.