Attorney General James Announces $2.7 Million In Grants For Western New York To Implement New Strategic Housing Programs
Attorney General Letitia James recently announced more than $2.7 million in grants for the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, and Niagara Falls as part of Cities for Responsible Investment and Strategic Enforcement (“Cities RISE”). The program provides municipalities the funding to launch innovative programs related to housing and strategic code enforcement. Cities RISE aims to innovatively address and transform blighted, vacant or poorly maintained problem properties through the use of housing and community data from various state agencies.
“In the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis, families throughout Western New York are continuing the struggle of finding and maintaining quality affordable housing options,” James said. “Cities RISE is an important program that allows cities across New York to better address code enforcement policies in an effort to meet the unique needs of their communities. Using the funds secured from settlements with banks, my office will continue to work with municipalities to combat New York’s ongoing housing crisis.”
Over the last year, these municipalities have worked with Cities RISE program partners to improve their code enforcement strategies and develop new strategic programs. The cities received expert support from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and Tolemi, a social enterprise company that created the BuildingBlocks platform used by all Cities RISE participants. Harvard and Tolemi helped municipalities leverage data and evidence in operational work and policy-making. Additionally, last May, mayors of the municipalities attended an executive education program at Harvard. The cities also worked with Hester Street, an urban planning, design and development nonprofit to develop and launch a comprehensive community engagement process.
“We are excited to see these 10 grantees leverage data through the BuildingBlocks platform to improve housing code compliance, facilitate cross-agency collaboration, and launch innovative neighborhood revitalization strategies,” said Andrew Kieve, CEO and co-founder of Tolemi.