Buffalo, NY – Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced the City’s Demolition and Immediate Infill Housing pilot program, a component of the Homegrown Program, has kicked off in the Hamlin Park neighborhood, eliminating a community eyesore and making way for a new homeownership opportunity.
The transformation is taking place at 33 Brunswick Blvd., in the City’s Masten District.
“My administration and the City’s Office of Strategic Planning have been working with the Hamlin Park Taxpayers Association for the last 18 months to develop a first-of-its-kind process to replace a long-vacant structure which has been a blight to the community, with an affordable house for a new homeowner,” Mayor Brown said. “Through the involvement of Habitat for Humanity, neighbors can be sure the infill housing is affordable and tailored to the characteristics of the historic neighborhood.”
The Hamlin Park Taxpayers Association is also contributing $15,000 to pay for design and material components to meet the preservation district requirements. Construction will get underway in late April or early May.
The partnership model, which brings together City government, the community and a nonprofit organization, provides a new path to turn a turn a community liability to an asset.
Through the pilot program, the City acquired a property in such poor condition that it was determined to be a potential liability and slated for demolition.
The Mayor’s Division of Real Estate identifies a community housing partner for the immediate construction of a newly constructed home within 12 months from the date of the demolition. The quick turnaround from demolition to construction eliminates the negative value and continued blight of a lingering vacant lot.
“This pilot program is another tool my Administration can use to fulfill our commitment to affordable housing and housing development that will add value and vibrancy to our neighborhoods which are battling blight,” Mayor Brown said.
“Over several years, the Division of Real Estate has worked intensely with the Hamlin Park community, in particular the Hamlin Park Taxpayer Association, on a solution for 33 Brunswick,” said Brendan R. Mehaffy, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning. “Working together, Habitat for Humanity was identified to quickly replace the blighted structure on 33 Brunswick with a new structure that respects the historic character of the community and will be occupied by a low to moderate-income family. The great collaboration with the Hamlin Park community has led to a new program that will benefit neighborhoods throughout the City of Buffalo.
The City is already working with community partners in the Central Park neighborhood for the pilot program’s second project.
“Restoring Historic neighborhood streets require adding new structures that mirror the old,” Stephanie Barber-Geter, President of the Hamlin Park Taxpayers Association said. “Our collaboration with the City of Buffalo and Habitat for Humanity has allowed for new generation ideas supported by old- school engineering to build for our next generation of homeowners. Many Hamlin Park neighborhood homes are close to 100 years old with some becoming too costly to maintain. Infill housing done right helps us keep streets full of homes for families.
“This project is an excellent example of residents coming together to better their neighborhood,” said Teresa Bianchi, Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity Buffalo. “Residents identified a problem in their community and the municipality brought together the appropriate agencies to solve the problem. We will be able to provide this neighborhood with a new, affordable home, that will be purchased by a hardworking family. This would not be possible if not for all of the stakeholders in this community coming together.”
“Mayor Brown has been very responsive to my District’s desires to ensure that dilapidated structures that deteriorate and add blight to our communities are taken down,” Masten District Common Council Member Ulysses O. Wingo, Sr. said. “Over the years, hundreds of structures have been demolished and as the Councilman for the Masten District, I know firsthand how important it is to our constituents to make sure that these houses are not havens for rodents and other negative elements.”