August 29, 2009


Grant to improve East End rental properties

State awards city $400,000 to renovate about 21 homes in the neighborhood

GrantBob Ellis/staff photographer
Angelo Testa sweeps the sidewalk Friday in front of his East Court Street home in the East End of Cortland. The city is concentrating on improving the East End, helped in part by two recent $400,000 state grants that will fund renovations to single-family homes and rental properties.

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — The city has received a $400,000 state grant that will be used to renovate about 21 renter-occupied housing units in the city’s East End neighborhood.
The Community Development Block grant is part of $34.7 million in grants that Gov. David Paterson announced Friday.
The program will allow landlords of buildings and houses containing one to seven rental units to receive upgrades.
For a landlord to be eligible, 51 percent of all units in the building must be occupied, and all of the occupants must have low to moderate income levels, said Rich Cunningham, program manager at Thoma Development Consultants, the company hired by the city to write the grant application.
A single-person household can earn up to $31,800. A two-person household can earn up to $36,350. A three-person household can earn up to $40,900, and for a four-person household the limit is $45,450.
Cunningham expects that most of the units being renovated will be old, single-family homes that have been converted to one-, two- or three-unit rental properties.
The city has received Community Development Block grants almost every year over the past 30 years, Cunningham said.
In 2008, the grant was used to rehabilitate property citywide.
This year the city has focused grant money toward the East End, after a committee formed this year created an East End Strategic Development Plan, which addressed problems with the conditions of homes in the area.
The city received a $400,000 HOME grant in July for owner-occupied homes in the East End.
Mayor Tom Gallagher said that making homes appear more attractive in areas such as the East End can encourage people to move to the city and benefit people who already live in it.
Landlords in the East End can begin submitting applications for funding sometime in November or December, Cunningham said, depending on when the paperwork is completed.
The city has to get a contract from the state, hire an administrator for the renovation program and complete an environmental review process before it can receive the grant money from the state.


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