By Dee Fowler
Ever pass an abandoned house and wonder why a city with a homeless population has so much as a single empty property? So did the people who formed the FB Community Land Trust. FBCLT was recently awarded a grant to acquire five distressed properties, renovate the houses and train first-time homeowners. In announcing the grant that funded this project, New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ press release stated that the City of Buffalo was awarded “$800,000 in the second round of the Community Land Trusts Capacity Building Initiative, which acquires and renovates distressed properties, as well as provide training and technical assistance to homeowners, and create permanent affordable housing for the benefit of low- and middle-income families.” Open Buffalo is proud to have incubated the creation of the FBCLT, our city’s first community-driven land trust.
FBCLT Executive Director India Walton said, “We are grateful to Attorney General James and her staff for all the hard work and dedication to secure funding to support community-centered development. We look forward to collaborating with the City of Buffalo and Enterprise Community Partners to establish community land trusts as a viable tool for development without displacement.”
Not only will the project ensure generational change for each of the five families that move into these homes, each neighborhood will benefit from rising property values and increased stability. For all but the wealthiest, a home is the family’s most valuable asset. Families will be protected against ever-increasing rents and will enjoy the many tax benefits of home ownership. The renovated and newly-occupied homes will no longer be at risk of deterioration or squatting. New neighbors will revitalize shrinking communities.
FBCLT will post updates about the progress of the renovation and provide information about the home ownership application process. Check back regularly for news about this and other programs, or for information about how to apply for a home of your own!