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$2.7 million state grant will combat blight in Buffalo and Niagara Falls

New York State is providing more than $2.7 million to Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Rochester to combat housing blight. State Attorney General Lititia James says the funding will help the localities improve housing code enforcement.

"We know that by reducing blight, we will transform neighborhoods," James said.

Niagara Falls' share is more than $882,000. Mayor Robert Restaino said it will make a difference.

"The City of Niagara Falls takes great pride in doing all it can to improve conditions in our neighborhoods," Restaino said. "This additional grant will (pay for) the tools to do that."

Specifically, the state money will help Niagara Falls create a call-in center to streamline code enforcement response. The funds will also be used by the city to assist low to moderate income homeowners who are stuck in housing court. 

The City of Buffalo will receive close to $1 million. Officials plan to use the money to create a program that will identify property owners who either can't afford or are unwilling to pay for repairs compliant with the housing code.

Mayor Byron Brown said the state grant will help the city become more proactive in addressing housing concerns in Buffalo's low-income neighborhoods.