UB H.O.M.E. loans now available to part-time university employees

Encouraging home ownership part of strategic investment by UB in University Heights

The University at Buffalo, in partnership with NeighborWorks® Community Partners Buffalo (formerly West Side Neighborhood Housing Services) is expanding the financial incentive to UB employees considering purchasing homes in neighborhoods surrounding the university’s South Campus in Buffalo.

The UB H.O.M.E. (Home Ownership Made Easy) program is now offering interest-free deferred loans of up to $5,000 or $7,500 to part-time UB employees who buy homes in the neighborhoods, including University Heights. A significant portion of the loan will be forgiven by the university after five continuous years of owner occupancy.

UB H.O.M.E. builds upon the UB Home Loan Guaranty Program, which ended in 2009 and helped dozens of UB employees purchase homes in University Heights.

“UB’s faculty, staff and students are a vital part of the University Heights community,” said President Satish K. Tripathi.

“The university has had a symbiotic relationship with the neighborhoods surrounding this campus for the better part of a century. By expanding this program, we hope to encourage more of our employees to make this community their home, and improve the quality of life here.” 

Funding for UB H.O.M.E. is provided by the University at Buffalo Foundation (UBF), with an initial investment of $100,000. A matching $100,000 has been provided by NeighborWorks® Community Partners Buffalo. “The UB H.O.M.E. program is designed to encourage home ownership and support stabilization and revitalization in and around South Campus,” said Tess Morrissey, director of community relations and deputy director of state relations.

“Our goal is a strong, vibrant community that supports civic and community-based organizations, businesses and residents within the neighborhoods surrounding UB’s South Campus,” she said.

Since September, 2016, NeighborWorks® Community Partners Buffalo (formerly West Side NHS) has reported housing sales totaling $675,000 ($639,000 in mortgages) in the University Heights neighborhood.

“Home ownership is a key piece of the puzzle in rebuilding and improving neighborhoods. The UB Home Loan Guarantee Program brought rising investment in Buffalo’s University District as many UB employees chose to make it their home,” said New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “Expanding the UB H.O.M.E. program to include part-time employees will help even more people achieve their dream of home ownership while helping to strengthen and improve the quality of life for everyone living around UB’s South Campus.”    

“Once again, the University at Buffalo is demonstrating a strong commitment to its employees by incentivizing opportunities to purchase homes in the University District,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “By extending the UB H.O.M.E. program to part-time employees, UB is underscoring continued investment in the neighborhoods that surround its South Campus.

“I applaud President Tripathi and NeighborWorks® Community Partners Buffalo [West Side NHS] for fostering this effort and look forward to seeing these neighborhoods continue to grow,” he said.

“I commend the University at Buffalo for supporting opportunities for the university’s part-time employees to buy homes and move into the University Heights neighborhood,” said Councilmember Rasheed N.C. Wyatt. “Those who have decided to live in University Heights have become involved with and helped stabilize the neighborhood, which has been a huge benefit.”

“Increasing opportunities for more people to come in, buy homes and become stakeholders will work to maintain the neighborhood and build stability, said Mickey Vertino, president of the University Heights Collaborative.   

“We would also like to see opportunities increased to include graduate students. We see many of them who graduate with their degree and want to remain in University Heights. They make great neighbors. Providing them with assistance to buy a home here is in everyone’s interest.”

“The path to home ownership can be difficult,” said Jerry Nagy, CEO of NeighborWorks® Community Partners Buffalo. “Working together with the U.B. H.O.M.E. program will further West Side NHS’s mission to preserve and revitalize Buffalo’s neighborhoods by providing safe, affordable and sustainable housing opportunities.”

Interest-free, deferred loans will now be open to university faculty and staff who hold an appointment of half-time (50 percent) or greater or who hold an adjunct or part-time faculty position with a term appointment who are interested in purchasing a home within the South Campus neighborhood.

The loans will help fund down payments and closing costs for purchasing homes in the designated neighborhoods. Eligible homes include those for sale is these areas:

UB-HOME-map-info.pdf(376 KB)

  • Homes that fall within the area bounded by Kenmore Avenue and Main Street on the north; Bailey Avenue on the east; East Amherst Street on the south; and Shoshone Park and Angle Street on the west are eligible for loans of up to $5,000.
  • Buyers in the neighborhood to the southeast of the UB South Campus, bordered by Winspear Avenue to the north; Eggert Road to the east; Kensington Avenue, Bickford and Alice to the south; and Bailey Avenue to west are eligible for loans of up to $7,500.

Several NeighborWorks® Community Partners Buffalo programs are available to UB H.O.M.E. applicants, including programs that carry clients through the entire process of buying and owning a home: from financial capability and homebuyer education, to closing cost assistance, to post-purchase education, home improvement loans and foreclosure prevention counseling.

For applicants who are not mortgage-ready, homeownership counselors will develop a plan to build credit and savings, using NeighborWorks® Community Partners Buffalo’s established three-part homebuyer program. 

For more information on the UB H.O.M.E. program, go to www.buffalo.edu/homeloan, or call 716-885-2344.

New Study Shows People Still Not Aware of Resources Available to Them for Homeownership

A decade after the housing market collapsed, a new survey reveals that many people are unaware of resources and counseling that can improve their prospects of owning their own home. Housing counseling offered by NeighborWorks® Community Partners (formerly NeighborWorks® Rochester) helps close to 150 residents annually achieve their goal of buying a home, and could do so for many others who have the same dream.

Our goal is to ensure that first-time homebuyers make informed decisions based on their personal finances, goals and dreams. Our coach approach supports sustainable homeownership for both the individuals and the community by working with individuals to create a clear path, remove obstacles, and avoid the many pitfalls that a first-time buyer may encounter, such as predatory lending” NeighborWorks® Community Partners (formerly NeighborWorks® Rochester) is a member of the NeighborWorks® America national network.

The sixth annual NeighborWorks® America at Home survey found that people with the most debt –millennials and women—are less likely to be homeowners, and large numbers would like to be, but don’t know where to turn for help in achieving their dream.

Among the findings:

  • Women: 29 percent of women have student loan debt, compared to 23 percent of men. Fifty percent of women worry about this type of debt all or most of the time.
  • People of color: 48 percent of people of color are burdened with student loan debt, compared to 22 percent of white women and 15 percent of white men.
  • Millennials: 56 percent of millennials worry about student loan debt some or most of the time.
  • Overall awareness of help available: 46 percent of all adults are unfamiliar with nonprofits that offer debt counseling free, or at a low cost.

“It’s important for people to have the proper tools and resources so they are informed consumers from the moment they consider owning a home,” says Karen Hoskins, acting vice president of homeownership programs and lending at NeighborWorks® America. “A housing counselor can guide them through what often seems a daunting, confusing process. Consumers also will benefit by thinking about housing counselors as helpful sources of information about services such as down-payment assistance.”

For more information about NeighborWorks® Community Partners Rochester (formerly NeighborWorks® Rochester) homebuyer resources, visit our Homeownership Page. For more information about the America at Home survey, click on this link.

Affordable Rental Housing in Niagara Falls

NeighborWorks® Community Partners Niagara Falls (formerly Niagara Falls Neighborhood Housing Services) is a community housing resource for residents with special needs. We offer a number of options within our immediate neighborhood, and would like the opportunity to help you find stable housing that works for you. Options include:

The Joseph S. Presti Apartments
1605 Ferry Avenue Niagara Falls, New York 14303

With funds from the New York State Housing Trust Fund in 1989, Niagara Falls NHS renovated an old school for rental housing specifically designed for senior citizens and wheelchair handicapped.

The apartment building contains 39 units, four of which are completely wheelchair accessible.

Amenities of the building include, beautiful courtyard, with Gazebo and community garden, an on-site evening building supervisor, 24hr video surveillance, dedicated laundry facility and community room.

Housing for Families of Low Income
501 19th Street, Niagara Falls, New York 14303

Utilizing HOME funds from the City of Niagara Falls Department of Community Development, Niagara Falls NHS purchased, renovated and manages 3 townhouse style units of 2 or 3 bedrooms.

Units are spacious, have central air conditioning capabilities and close to bus lines and within walking distance to Pine Avenue, a busy commercial thoroughfare.

Carroll Colpoys Apartments/Portage Apartments LP

261 Portage Rd, Niagara Falls, New York 14303

Investments of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, New York State Housing Trust Fund and City of Niagara Falls Department of Community Development HOME Funds allowed for the renovation of an old structure of 10 spacious two and three bedroom townhouse style rental units.

Each unit comes with central air conditioning, window blinds, stove and refrigerator.

For more information about availability at any of these locations, contact NeighborWorks® Community Partners Niagara Falls at (716) 285-7778 and ask for the Property Manager.

Celebration of Rochester Neighbors Award Winners

On June 3, 2019, NeighborWorks® Community Partners Rochester (formerly NeighborWorks® Rochester) and the City of Rochester honored six area leaders at its Celebration of Rochester Neighbors Awards. The event was held at the City of Rochester Public Market, to honor the great people that make our community strong, and give us all a chance to have fun with neighbors from throughout the city.

Honorees included:

  • Northwest Quadrant Community Champion: Barb Ann Kupiec
    A long-time resident of the Maplewood Neighborhood who has dedicated her retirement years to improving the neighborhood, Barb Ann generously shares her master-gardening expertise by leading a team of volunteers as Chair of the Maplewood Gardening team. Together they maintain public garden areas, planters and trees along Dewey Avenue. Additionally, Barb serves on the Maplewood Neighborhood Assoc. Board of Directors as Board Secretary. She has served on both the Maplewood Public Safety Committee and the Zoning Committee. Barb Ann is also involved with taking care of feral cats in the neighborhood. Barb Ann also volunteers her time as a Master Gardener throughout the county, cultivating plantings and maintaining gardens at many county parks.
  • Southwest Quadrant Community Champion:  John DeMott
    John is described as very serious about the betterment of his community, and also very friendly and kindhearted. Some of his community involvement includes assisting with the weekly farmer’s market in the summer, and engaging residents, businesses and students to beautify the community with flowers and plantings along the street. He was also influential in the birth of the Brooks Landing development. As a musician, John often donates his time to provide music and entertainment to the community, including organizing an event called Beats @Brooks to provide music for residents of the Southwest neighborhoods. John is a firm believer in supporting local businesses, with a true desire to see them succeed.
  • Northeast Quadrant Community Champion: Vincent Russello
    Nominated by Carlos Torres of the Northeast Neighborhood Service Center, Vincent is the founder and president of the Vineyards Neighborhood Association. This enterprising resident is a true leader in his neighborhood, working tirelessly to resolve many community issues and working with the city to relay concerns. He is very creative in collaborating and working with other groups to improve the community. He has reached out to agencies to bring them into the neighborhood to assist those in need and regularly invites new ideas and input on projects. He’s a driver in obtaining funding for community improvement projects and is great at bringing people together for support, safety and promotion of the neighborhood.
  • Southeast Quadrant Community Champion: Joe DiFiore
    Joe’s involvement and accomplishments are almost too many to list! This dedicated volunteer gives hours of his own time for the people and families of Beechwood and the City of Rochester. Some of the boards and organizations he serves include the Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition, Peace Village Homeless Encampment, Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, and Little Flower Community. Joe is skilled at organizing groups to get projects done. He was instrumental in getting Play Streets established, which resulted in a policy developed for Healthi Kids Coalition and the City of Rochester Dept. of Recreation for more neighborhoods to take on Play Streets – where 2 weeks of the summer time is set aside to close the streets for children of the neighborhood to play. Another project he championed was to create a StoryWalk at #33 School, Ryan Center and Sully Library. Joe’s other passion is affordable housing, as a Board member of City Roots Community Land Trust, he works to establish and promote permanently affordable, quality housing in our city.  His vision includes: Vacant properties turned over to the Trust for community-led development, which will turn them into community-held assets; Infrastructure and playful design elements that encourage people to walk and bike; Utilizing vacant lots for pop-up events, community gardens and play spaces.
  • Community Leader Award: Devon Reynolds, Sr. and Javon Bradley
    The Community Leader Award recognizes volunteer leaders who spark change by engaging others in improving their community. Devon Reynolds, Sr. and Javon Bradley, co-owners of the Brothers and Sisters Unisex Salon embody this in their everyday lives. The have addressed issues in their neighborhood, including the challenges that families face from lack of food, kids hanging on street corners at all hours, lack of job opportunities, and feelings of despair and hopelessness. Projects they have organized include: Starting a school supply give away to assist families Providing free haircuts in the schools during the school year; Starting a food pantry – Sweet Ida’s Food Pantry – soliciting donations that include food and clothing; Holding events during Black History Month and providing free books to children; Providing Thanksgiving dinners to those in need – more than 100 dinners in 2018!; Organizing an annual Father’s Day Celebration; Collaborating with Trillium Health and Common Ground to host an event for HIV/STD testing and education, blood pressure screening and more; and hosting Community Roundtables to provide a venue for the community to speak, express their thoughts and concerns.