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City Hall struggling with home repair loan program

WBFO News file photo

Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder wants City Hall to get out of the business of running a home repair program and turning it over to some group which can do better.

Schroeder said the city directly handles about a quarter of the applications for home rehab loans. The rest are handled by Belmont Housing Resources with the applications coming from the city.

The comptroller said the program practically doesn't function. He cites roof repairs where the city was doing 350 of the loans a few years ago and has done three this year, although he says the city says it has done more.

Schroeder said it's frustrating that he has been complaining for years and nothing changes.

"And seeing the same things written that they don't have certain things in place and there's not systems in place," Schroeder said.

"It's frustrating especially from the human element of people who are out there suffering within our community who have expectations that their roof or some home repairs are going to be, you know, fixed or finished up."

At public meetings people complain good homes are being demolished because people can't get loans to repair them.

Schroeder said HUD has frozen around $4 million for these loans because so little is being done.

The city said things will get better running a very complicated program and turning it over to an outside agency wouldn't work.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.