ELMIRA, NY (WSKG) – New York Attorney General Letitia James was in Elmira to present grants to Elmira and Binghamton.
The awards are part of a state program to combat blight and boost the revitalization in cities all over New York.
James made the announcement at Elmira City Hall backed by Elmira Mayor Dan Mandel and Binghamton Mayor Rich David.
Elmira was awarded $1 million to expand the city’s rental inspection unit, prevent bad owners from buying more tax foreclosure properties, and create a new loan program for distressed properties.
Binghamton was awarded $585,000. Part of the money will create an emergency repair fund for distressed housing.
James said it’s important for the municipalities to have the freedom to decide how to spend the grant funds.
“Because this, my friends, is not a one size fits all approach to solving these housing challenges,” she said. “And so from community to community from county to county it differs.”
David echoed the need for the cities to use the funds differently. He said part of his city’s award will help put foreclosed properties into the hands of people who want to live in the city instead of leaving them abandoned to fall into disarray.
“Properties that are sold today and demolished tomorrow,” he said. “We are able to take some of those and rehabilitate them and put them in the hands of families and professionals and others.”
He explained that the problems of abandoned or warehoused properties are important quality of life issues for residents.
The money comes out of the state’s six hundred million dollar settlement with Goldman Sachs over its involvement in the housing collapse in the late 2000’s.