Buffalo, NY – Mayor Byron W. Brown today joined with the City’s Division of Citizen Services to announce that 2021 ‘Love Your Block’ applications are now available.
Now in its third year, the ‘Love Your Block’ program awards grants up to $1,500 to community groups, block clubs, and small, locally-owned businesses for projects that will transform or beautify a public space.
“As we continue to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive City of opportunity, I continue to support programs that leverage community engagement and volunteerism to further improve and beautify our diverse neighborhoods,” Mayor Brown said. “This successful program provides a great opportunity for our residents to make a hands-on difference in their communities and I encourage groups and small businesses to apply.”
This year’s target communities are: Broadway-Fillmore, Kensington-Bailey, Masten Park, Riverside, Buffalo’s Upper and Lower West Side. Block clubs and community-based organizations outside of these five neighborhoods are eligible to apply, however preference will be given to projects in the targeted neighborhoods.
Love Your Block began in 2018, after Buffalo was awarded a grant by Cities of Service, a national nonprofit whose mission includes connecting residents and mayors to improve neighborhoods. The City of Buffalo identified Love Your Block as a priority program within the Division of Citizen Services and has secured additional funding from Cities RISE to sustain the program.
The Love Your Block program hosts AmeriCorps VISTA members that serve the City of Buffalo for one year in an effort to eliminate poverty and continue the work of empowering volunteer-led neighborhood revitalization projects that address blight.
“The Love Your Block program connects Buffalo residents with local officials and empowers our block club community and organizations to lead revitalization projects that they want to see in their area. This community-wide effort aims to eliminate blight and provides measurable visual and physical improvements in our local neighborhoods,” said Oswaldo Mestre, Commissioner of Citizen Services. “Love Your Block is working to reach long term goals like increased quality of life, safer neighborhoods, increased social cohesion, and ultimately a stronger Buffalo community, one block at a time.”
Love Your Block has funded a total of 48 projects across 22 neighborhoods. The total grant funds that have been awarded to date amounts to $44,511.
Proposed projects must fall in one of the four categories:
Vacant Lot Activation: Community garden/greenhouse, playground, public art installation, and recreational space, Community Space Revitalization: Repairs or modifications to community facilities (schools, community centers, park shelters, senior centers, etc.), graffiti removal and/or replacement of graffiti with a mural, planting trees and/or landscaping community facilities,
Accessibility Improvements: Implementing creative lighting, replacing broken or wornout litter bins, creating/managing a “tool library” where neighborhood groups can borrow & return tools for cleanup projects,
Streetscape Improvements: Community volunteer-led beautification on the business strips in the five identified target areas. This includes landscaping, art installments, pedestrian spaces, lighting improvements, and public safety.
The Division of Citizen Services and Love Your Block Team will be hosting neighborhood pop-up events in the target communities ahead of the Thursday, May 27th, 2021 application deadline. The sessions will offer assistance in preparing applications and detailed information about the program.
For more information, visit the Buffalo Love Your Block Facebook page or visit www.buffalony.gov/1181/Love-Your-Block to see specific locations, dates and times of events. Questions about the program can also be emailed to: loveyourblock@ city-buffalo.com or potential applicants can call the Division of Citizen Services at: (716) 851-5515.