VESTAL, NY (WSKG)—Several Broome County organizations will receive a combined $190,000 for initiatives to reduce housing costs and root out discrimination.
The funding is part of the first round of awards from the county’s housing trust fund, with $500,000 coming from the New York attorney general’s office last year.
The Southern Door Community Land Trust, formerly known as the Broome County Community Land Trust, will receive $100,000 from the fund. The organization works to create permanently affordable housing for low-income residents.
The land trust will use the grant to retrofit current and future homes with green energy appliances in an effort to reduce energy costs.
“Our focus is permanently affordable housing, but we definitely look at the current housing justice issue from a multitude of directions and we understand it’s just not affordable rents,” said Hajra Aziz, the organization’s executive director. “It’s also decreasing the cost of living in those units.”
Low-income residents spend a larger share of their household income on energy costs, and are therefore more burdened by energy prices. Installing green technology will reduce energy prices, and therefore reduce the cost of living for those residents, Aziz explained.
“That would be an immediate impact on their ability to live stable, functional, healthier lives,” Aziz said.
The land trust is working with Broome County to acquire and rehabilitate properties on the county’s tax foreclosure rolls.
“We will literally just convey to them for free, or for a dollar, to repurpose and turn into permanent affordable housing units,” County Executive Jason Garnar said.
The county also awarded $30,000 to CNY Fair Housing for anti-discrimination and education services, including fair housing compliant intake and investigation. An additional $60,000 will go toward tenant organizing and outreach programs at Citizen Action through its public policy and education fund.
The Community Foundation for South Central New York manages the housing trust fund. It will open a second round of grant applications this fall.
Eligible projects may work to create equitable homeownership, relocation services for low-income families, strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws and rental repairs.