At last, Buffalo receives $13.7 million in delayed funding from HUD
WASHINGTON – Buffalo has finally received the nearly $13.7 million in funding that the federal government owed the city since Oct. 1, and New York’s two U.S. senators are very happy about it.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand announced Friday that the Department of Housing and Urban Development had finally delivered the long-delayed Community Development Block Grant funding.
The two senators, who pressed the agency to release the funding in a letter last week, said they were pleased the money had finally arrived.
“The Community Development Block Grant is a vital stream of investment that supports local economic development, community revitalization and affordable housing,” Schumer said. “It was so important to ensure that the City of Buffalo received its delayed CDBG allocation immediately.”
Gillibrand agreed, saying: “The delay of this funding was completely unacceptable. These types of delays can hurt critical programs that help make sure families and workers in Buffalo have access to affordable housing and good local jobs.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown complained about the funding delay last week, saying it could endanger housing rehabilitation efforts, street and sidewalk repairs and programs for youth and senior citizens, among others.
“This puts pressure on providing essential services for some of our most inneed residents,” Brown said.
The city – and the community-service organizations that get money from the federal grant program – didn’t have to cut services, though, because city officials have been able to move around funds to keep programs operating, the mayor said.
Olga Alvarez, a spokeswoman at HUD’s regional office in New York, acknowledged last week that both Buffalo and the Town of Tonawanda had not received their grant money yet, but she did not provide an explanation for the delay.
The Town of Tonawanda still has not received the $1.67 million in community block grant funding it is owed, Schumer’s office noted.
Like Buffalo, the Town of Tonawanda has been able to shift funds around to cover the delayed federal payment, Jim Hartz, the town’s director of community development, said last week.
But if the funds don’t arrive by early January, more serious measures – such as program cuts – could be necessary, Hartz said.
Schumer said he hopes that won’t happen.