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Grant aids Southern Tier homeless effort


Albany is kicking in some money to provide better housing for some of Cattaraugus County's homeless.

Cattaraugus Community Action operates out of a landmark building in Salamanca, with more than a century of Western New York weather wearing down the headquarters and eight-units of transitional housing.

The $1.3 million comes from the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program.

CEO Tina Zerbian says the entire project will cost around $1.5 million. Zerbian says there's a long list of essential building repairs.
"A lot of water infiltration because of roof, cornice work that needs to be done. We have old, old windows that aren't energy-efficient and actually have some lead issues," Zerbian said.

"Then we have brick on the facade of the building that is barely being held together by disintegrating mortar."

Zerbian says the agency overall has 210-units of housing around the county, some of it intended for the homeless, hoping to get them ready to go back into conventional housing. She says the agency deals with 300-to-400 homeless people in the county each year.

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.