$1 million in federal funds will combat lead hazards in Rochester homes – Democrat & Chronicle

$1 million in federal funds will combat lead hazards in Rochester homes

by: Victoria E. Freile

Rochester will receive $1 million in federal funding to remove lead hazards from homes of low-income families in the city.

New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday announced the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration funding for the City of Rochester. The grant is allocated through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and will address lead hazards in housing units, to provide safer homes for low-income families with children, according to a news release from Schumer (D-NY.)

“Lead poisoning is an irreversible, preventable tragedy that robs many families and children of their future,” Schumer said in a news release. “We must do everything we can to eliminate lead from our homes and this major federal grant will do just that, by injecting much-needed funds into lead remediation and prevention.”

The funds will help support Monroe County’s efforts in identifying households with significant lead hazards and help expand their ability to remove lead-based paint and other health hazards, said Gillibrand (D-NY.)

Lead poisoning can cause severe health problems, including developmental disabilities and neurological damage. According to the National Institutes for Health, lead is more harmful to children than adults because it can affect children’s developing nerves and brains. Lead-based paint is still on the walls of many homes often erodes and settles into children’s toys, eventually falling into the mouths and hands of children.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said the $1 million grant “will fortify our efforts to provide safer and more vibrant neighborhoods.”

The LHRD program identifies and controls lead-based paint hazards in privately owned housing for rental or owner-occupants. The grants are to assist municipalities in mitigating lead hazards.

In 2016, Schumer and Gillibrand announced $46.5 million in HUD funds for 15 projects across New York to mitigate health hazards in more than 3,100 low-income homes.

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Friedrich Donates Air Conditioning Units to Help Provide Relief for Homeless Families in Rochester – friedrich.com

Friedrich Donates Air Conditioning Units to Help Provide Relief for Homeless Families in Rochester

San Antonio, TX (June 12, 2017) – Homeless families in Rochester, N.Y., will get additional relief this season, thanks to a generous donation from Friedrich Air Conditioning Company.

Friedrich has partnered with its local Rochester distributor, Johnstone Supply, to provide Friedrich Chill room air conditioning units for 11 homes owned and managed by Tempro, a Rochester-based nonprofit organization that builds housing for homeless families. Tempro homes are leased by Monroe County and the county’s Department of Social Services places families in need in the homes. Tempro provides the furnished homes with the aid of a social worker to help these families through the transition of homelessness to more permanent housing.

Tempro provides temporary housing assistance to approximately 140 homeless families and without support from Friedrich, the organization would not have been able to afford to cool the homes and ensure the comfort of those it serves during the hot weather season. “For homeless families working to get back on their feet, finding safe, temporary housing is challenging and stressful enough without also enduring the hot weather season with no relief,” said Tempro President Jerry Zakalik. “That’s why we are so grateful for this very generous donation and service to our community.”

Already, contractors have installed one of the Friedrich Chill units in the first Tempro home, and the remaining 10 will be installed in the other residences in the coming weeks. In addition to the value of providing all the product, delivery and support at no cost, Friedrich’s Chill units also are ENERGY STAR-qualified, which will help save money on energy and long-term operational costs. Other benefits of the Friedrich Chill line include powerful and quiet operation and environmentally sustainable features, such as R32 refrigerant with low Global Warming Potential.

As a father from one of the families living in a home where a new Chill unit was recently installed said, “It means so much to us to have a place to stay while we go through this challenge. To know someone really cares and is even installing air conditioners is just awesome.”

As a leading U.S.-based manufacturer of air conditioners and other home environment products, Friedrich has a strong track record of giving back to local communities and causes, and the donation to Tempro marks the second major donation the company has made this season. In April, Friedrich donated and installed a ductless split air conditioning system in an orphanage near Piedra Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, where without cooling, indoor temperatures can spike up to a sweltering 120 degrees.

“We’re proud to serve the community in this way and know that our products are providing great relief for those in need,” said Wink Chapman, vice president of sales and marketing for Friedrich. “It’s also fantastic to be able work with strong partners, like our Johnstone Supply distributor in the Rochester area, who share our commitment to support local communities.”

About Friedrich

Founded in 1883, Friedrich has manufactured room air conditioners since 1952. Friedrich is a leading manufacturer of air conditioners and other home environment products. Constructed of the highest quality components, Friedrich products are built to exacting standards and are among the quietest, most highly featured and most energy-efficient available. For more information, please visit www.friedrich.com

About Johnstone Supply

Johnstone Supply is a nationwide, member-owned buying cooperative for HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration) equipment and supplies. Johnstone distributes parts and equipment to HVACR contractors and to facilities maintenance staffs. Each member store is independently owned and operated.

About Tempro

Tempro Development Company is a 501c3 organization formed in 1971 by Temple B’rith Kodesh with the mission to build housing for homeless people in Monroe County, N.Y. Operated by a local United Way agency, “The Housing Council,” Tempro has built and owns 11 furnished homes that are leased to local homeless families, providing them with temporary residence.

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New York unveils $20 billion plan to fight homelessness, boost affordable housing – housingwire.com

New York unveils $20 billion plan to fight homelessness, boost affordable housing

First phase includes $2.5 billion for new construction, development

by: Ben Lane

New York is taking homelessness and the state’s lack of affordable housing head-on with an ambitious new program announced Thursday by the state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo.

According to Cuomo’s office, the state is launching a $20 billion, five-year plan to combat homelessness and advance the construction of affordable housing throughout the state.

Over the life of the program, the plan calls for $10 billion to be used to create and preserve more than 110,000 affordable housing units across the state, including approximately 12,000 units created through the newly enacted “Affordable New York” program, Cuomo’s office stated.

The plan includes a $10 billion commitment to create 6,000 new supportive housing beds, including $7.5 billion to “end the homelessness crisis and support housing programs, rental subsidies and other shelter costs in New York City and across the state.”

According to Cuomo’s office, the program is the largest investment in the creation and preservation of affordable housing and efforts to end homelessness in the history of New York.

The initial phase of the program includes $2.5 billion in the state’s fiscal 2018 budget, which will be used to “diversity of housing needs in New York, strengthen protections for tenants, and create new opportunities for low-to-moderate income households,” Cuomo’s office stated.

In the initial phase, the $2.5 billion will be used in several programs, including:

  • New Construction: $472 million for new construction or adaptive reuse of rental housing affordable to households that earn up to 60% of area median income
  • New York City Housing Authority: $200 million for projects and improvements related at housing developments owned or operated by NYCHA
  • Home Ownership: $41.5 million for promoting home ownership among families of low and moderate income and stimulating the development, stabilization, and preservation of New York communities
  • Middle Income Housing: $150 million for new construction, adaptive reuse, or reconstruction of rental housing affordable to households that earn between 60% and 130% of area middle income
  • Affordable Housing Preservation: $146 million for substantial or moderate rehabilitation of existing affordable multi-family rental housing currently under a regulatory agreement
  • Public Housing: $125 million for substantial or moderate rehabilitation and/or the demolition and replacement through new construction of public housing authority developments outside of New York City
  • Small Building Construction: $62.5 million for rehabilitation and/or the demolition and replacement through new construction of buildings of 5 to 40 units
  • NYC 100% Affordable: $100 million for the construction and preservation of 100% affordable units in New York City
  • Mobile and Manufactured Homes: $13 million for mobile and manufactured home programs
  • Main Street Programs: $10 million for stimulating reinvestment in properties located within mixed-use commercial districts located in urban, small town, and rural areas of the state

“This legislation is a major step forward for New York as we strengthen our efforts to combat homelessness and expand access to quality, affordable housing for our most vulnerable men, women and children,” Cuomo said in a statement. “By making significant investments in rehabilitating, preserving and constructing safe and affordable housing, we will open doors for low-income residents and support hard-working New Yorkers in every region of the state.”

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a House – usnews.com

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a House

These errors can cost you the chance to buy your dream home, and they can set you back financially.

By Geoff Williams

When you’re buying a home, a lot can go wrong. Your seller, the lender, the appraiser or your real estate agent could do something to inadvertently sabotage the purchase of your new home. And, yes, even you could make a mistake. Homebuyers make plenty of them.

And in today’s homebuying market, where demand is high and supply isn’t, you can’t afford to make any mistakes. This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what could go wrong, but if you’re looking to buy a house, do what you can to avoid making these classic homebuying blunders.

Not having your financing ready when you make an offer. If you want a house, and you love it, you don’t have any time to waste, says Ryan Critch, chief executive officer of Ocean400 International Realty in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“In today’s environment if you love the house, don’t leave without putting in your offer, or the next family will,” he says. “Countless times over the last year families have experienced heartbreak by thinking about it. Get your offer in fast, and think about it during the negotiation. Don’t lose your dream home.”

Critch also says that when you make your offer, you shouldn’t suggest you pay less than what the homeowner is asking. “In today’s seller’s market, we’re often in multiple offer situations, and sellers have little patience for low offers,” he says.

Not looking at homes before you’re ready to make an offer. This is the period of homebuying where you’re window shopping and learning about buying a house. But many homebuyers skip this stage, says Kate Ziegler, a realtor in Boston.

She recommends going to open houses as soon as you know you’re in the mindset that you want to buy a house. Just know that even if you fall in love with a home, you won’t make an offer since you haven’t lined up the financing yet.

“The more properties you can visit in the early stages of a search, the more confident you’ll feel signing the offer when you do find – the one,” Ziegler says.
Skipping or skimping on the home inspection. Many real estate agents say this is happening more and more, especially in a climate where homebuyers are trying to close a deal before anyone else does.

But don’t do that, says Daniel Gyomory, a realtor with Century 21 Town & Country in Northville, Michigan.

“Some buyers want to save a few hundred dollars by not having an inspection done or by having their family member who isn’t a licensed inspector do the inspection. This is a very big mistake,” Gyomory says.

The reasons why it’s a mistake should be obvious – if there are roof leaks you don’t know about, foundation problems, mold issues or any number of reasons you might not want to buy a house, an inspector will probably find them. Otherwise, you’ll find them – someday.

Blindly listening to advice from friends and family members. So you think you’ve found a house, but this is your first one, and you think it’d be a good idea to bring in Mom and Dad to take a look at the home with you. That can be a bad move, says Joshua Jarvis, a real estate agent and owner of Jarvis Team Realty in Duluth, Georgia.

 “This one is common with first-timers,” says Jarvis. “They go see 10 homes after eliminating 50 on the internet, and they invite the parents or Uncle Joe to see the home.”

Because your parents and uncle care about you, any potential problem that they spot, they’ll share with you. And while that’s admirable that they’re looking out for you, they didn’t look at 50 homes on the internet or go to those other homes, Jarvis says.

“They’re basing their decisions on their current perspective of their living situation. If you’re going to rely on advice, then make the person go through as much of the process as you can,” Jarvis says.

And, sure, Jarvis is speaking from the perspective of an agent who has often been close to a sale, only to have a well-meaning relative sabotage it. But chances are, if you start talking to friends who are homebuyers, they’ll tell you stories of how a parent or in-law once talked you out of buying a home, and how ever since they’ve wistfully wondered if they made the right decision.

Buying too expensive of a home. Gyoromy says that this happens a lot.

“Some buyers get their preapproval letter and want to look at houses that are at the very top of their price range, without thinking it through,” he says.

Gyoromy says that you should be thinking about not just those monthly mortgage payments but the cost of owning a home.

That is, you need to be thinking about how much it’ll set you back when you buy a lawn mower or pay a service to cut your grass. You’ll want to keep in mind that when you buy a home, you’ll soon be making the owner of a local furniture store very happy. If you plan on having kids, someday you’ll be begging them to turn off the lights and asking, “Do you think I’m made of money?”

 In other words, to have a better future, think about those future costs.

The 25 Best Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. in 2017

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New law prevents city landlords from refusing tenants based on income – WHEC

New law prevents city landlords from refusing tenants based on income

by: WHEC

June 22, 2017 11:39 PM

This week, the Rochester City Council passed a measure Tuesday night that makes it illegal to turn away tenants because of income.

The city council wants to level the playing field for people who pay for their rent with Section 8 vouchers and other government programs that help families in need pay their rent. City leaders say too often these people are turned away for that reason alone.

“If Section 8 says they’ll pay a certain amount and the apartment goes for that amount, why can’t I get it,” asks Rodney Fudge.

Fudge is a retired Army veteran. In 2013, he found himself homeless. But thanks to a transitional housing program he qualified for, called HUD/VASH, he landed an apartment.

He wants to move to a better place, however, he says many landlords have turned him down.

“I think it would be a good idea if they would just treat us with some dignity and honor,” said Fudge. “I want to be treated fairly. I don’t want any special privileges. I can pay my own way, but I want to be treated fairly.”

The Rochester City Council Tuesday night made it illegal for landlords to deny prospective tenants based on income. Landlords can deny them for other reasons like evictions, or poor credit however.

One landlord who did not want to be on camera told us tenants are turned away often because of the red tape connected to programs like Section 8 and DSS. Joel Kunkler heads the Housing Council’s landlord/tenant services.

Joel Kunkler, Housing Council: “There is paperwork and there is a process and the difference between me as a landlord renting to a fair market tenant to renting to a Section 8 tenant. There is an extra layer of paperwork involved and sometimes it’s confusing and sometimes it’s frustrating.”

Kunkler however says Section 8 is a great way for tenants to get better quality housing in safe neighborhoods. “It’s been really rough.”

Kim Fagan thought she was going to end up homeless after searching for a place for three months. She says this new law gives her hope. “It’s going to open up some doors because I had a lot of doors slammed in my face. I think it still has a long way to go.”

Buying a first home? NY wants to make it easier – Democrat & Chronicle

Buying a first home? NY wants to make it easier

by: Joseph Spector

ALBANY – Saving to purchase a first home in New York may get easier if Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs a bill into law passed by the state Legislature this week.

The “NY First Home” bill was approved by the Senate and Assembly and would allow prospective first-time homebuyers to save for their down payment and closing cost through a tax-free savings plan, similar to the state’s 529 College Savings Program.

The measure, which was backed by the state Association of Realtors, now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk for final approval.

“NY First Home will make homeownership more easily attainable by helping New Yorkers bridge the gap between where their savings are and where they need to be to receive the keys to their first home,” said Dawn Carpenter, the association’s president.

“This program will encourage our young people plant their roots here, which will help our state stem the tide of population loss.”

The bill would let a first-time homebuyer make a $5,000 a year tax-deductible deposit into a NY First Home savings account; the limit would $10,000.00 for couples.

Any interest accrued would remain untaxed — so long as any withdrawal is used to purchase a first home in New York state that is a primary residence for at least two years.

The fund would be overseen by the state’s Comptroller’s Office, which also handles the 529 college plan.

The bill’s approval comes as New York’s housing market continues to sizzle and as Cuomo is offering another program to encourage homeownership, especially in upstate — which has suffered from population losses, particularly among young people.

Closed home sales in New York hit a record 10,704 in May, up nearly 5 percent from last year. Also, the statewide median sale price was $239,000, up 7 percent compared with last May, the association said.

Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo started a $5 million program to help recent college graduates become first-time homeowners.

But the governor’s program requires the graduates to move to one of eight upstate cities: Jamestown in western New York; Geneva in the Finger Lakes; Elmira in the Southern Tier; Oswego in central New York; Oneonta in the Mohawk Valley; Plattsburgh in the North Country; Glens Falls in the Capital Region; and Middletown in the Hudson Valley.

Cuomo’s Graduate to Homeownership program provides low-interest mortgages, down-payment assistance and a homebuyer education course to income-eligible residents.

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Graduating senior reflects on homelessness, Popsicles – Democrat & Chronicle

Graduating senior reflects on homelessness, Popsicles

by: Khamera Muhammad, with staff writer Justin Murphy

I was 8 years old, about to turn 9, when my father asked me: “Hey, baby girl, what do you want for your birthday?”

For most little girls, it would be an obvious question. They might ask for toys or games or a party, or even money. For me, though, to say that I was surprised would be an understatement.

For the past year, my family and I had been homeless – bouncing from hotel to hotel, counting on my dad to hustle $50 each day to pay the bill, or all six of us sleeping in our 2001 Chevy conversion van, parked outside the storage unit where we kept all our stuff.

Many nights we went hungry; many nights I stayed up questioning God. They say everything happens for a reason, but at that young age I just couldn’t see it. I constantly would think: Why would God put my family through this much hardship?

That’s why my dad’s question surprised me. I thought about it for a long time, then asked: “Can I have mangoes and Popsicles?”

It seems small, but I knew it wasn’t. With barely enough money to get through the week, we basically survived on TV dinners and fast food. My older sister and brother had to go through their final years of high school with run-down sneakers and clothes that weren’t the nicest. They had to sell candy and my mom’s famous bean pies in order to help us get through.

My dad took me that night to Walmart, where I picked out a package of Incredible Hulk Bomb Pops and two juicy mangoes. As we cashed out and drove back to the Days Inn where we were staying that night, I was grinning like a Cheshire cat. Not only because of my sweet gift, but because I’d witnessed my parents sacrifice to give their child one of the greatest gifts on this Earth – happiness.

We finally found a house many months later, but our situation remained harsh. For a long time we didn’t have heat or furniture, so we made do with a bundle of covers and ourselves, pressed tightly together. As time went on, we slowly got back on our feet and the skies finally cleared.

On Thursday, I will graduate from Rochester Early College International High School with a 3.2 GPA and 12 college credits. I’m the youngest of seven siblings, and we all have our high school diplomas.

I’ve been accepted into 14 colleges for the fall, but I’m still waiting to commit to see if one will offer me a full scholarship. I hope to study political science and become a lawyer; my dad said that since I’m always arguing, I may as well do something useful with it.

You wouldn’t know from looking at me the struggles I went through – my classmates and teachers can tell you I’ve always got a goofy smile on my face – but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten them.

As I reflect back, I realize those were my happiest times. The moments where we had to wear extra layers of clothing and huddle together in our van with a bunch of blankets to keep warm through the night. The moments when we had to hurry to get the hotel continental breakfast before it closed so we could at least have one decent meal that day. The moments where no one knew our struggles because our smiles told them otherwise.

 It’s just like one of my favorite music artists, Lyfe Jennings, said: “It’s the bad times that make the good times feel so good.”

Not only that, but I learned not to judge a book by its cover. Kids can have nice shoes or a confident attitude or anything, but you never know what their life is like when they get home.

Most important, though, I learned at a very young age that home isn’t a physical building where you lay your head down at night and eat home-cooked meals. No – home is where you feel safe and loved, with two mangoes and a box of Popsicles, and the opportunity to wake up every day, go out and strive for something better.

This story is adopted from Khamera Muhammad’s college admissions essay.

The Hourly Income You Need To Afford Rent Around The U.S. – huffingtonpost.com

The Hourly Income You Need To Afford Rent Around The U.S.

The average full-time minimum wage worker can’t afford rent in ANY state.

New York budget to target homelessness, affordable housing – housingwire.com

New York budget to target homelessness, affordable housing

by: Kelsey Ramirez

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislators failed to meet their April 1 deadline for the state’s budget, but announced their final agreement Friday, which includes $2.5 billion in funds to combat homelessness and affordable housing.

The final budget came in at $153 billion and even has a plan for tuition-free education at state colleges, according to an article by Jesse McKinley and Lisa Foderaro for The New York Times.

San Francisco implemented a similar tuition-free option earlier this year, which could help Millennials with student debt, which may often hinder homeownership. However, click here to read about how a free-tuition option could also restrict affordability.

New York’s budget also dedicated a substantial amount of funds to fight homelessness and increase affordable housing within the state, according to an article by Tanay Warerkar for Curbed.

The funds will help with the state’s plan to create 100,000 new affordable housing units and 6,000 supportive housing units.

From the article:

The budget deal, which still needs to be officially approved by the State Assembly and Senate, has already garnered praise from several housing groups. A coalition of 11 housing groups statewide including the New York State Association for Affordable Housing issued the following statement:

“Today, the Governor, Senate, and Assembly showed true leadership in passing a state budget that made low-income New Yorkers a priority and finally allocated $2.5 billion in housing funds. The commitment made today will profoundly impact the lives of thousands of New Yorkers, including 88,000 people currently homeless throughout the state and nearly one million households paying more than half their income in rent each month.”

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A new kitchen for less than $7,000 and other ways to remodel your home on the cheap

A new kitchen for less than $7,000 and other ways to remodel your home on the cheap

by: Mary Chao

It’s a seller’s market.

Inventory is tight and multiple offers abound for homes in good condition. Yet despite low inventory and competitive situations, buyers are still opting for homes in tip-top shape so they don’t have to fix them up.

If you’re a buyer, there’s a better way. You can buy a cosmetically challenged home and make it your own, even if you’re not handy and don’t want to spend a lot of cash.

My husband and I own three properties. We have always purchased homes that are not pretty but are structurally sound at the near bottom of the market. Both of us work full time and neither of us is handy, which means we outsource the labor.

Our tenants for our single-family brick ranch home in Brighton recently left after eight and a half years, having rented the home since we purchased it after the market crash of 2008. That gave us an opportunity to fix up the home and get it ready for new tenants.

We decided it was time for the 1950s kitchen to go. We were able to put in a new galley kitchen for only $7,000, including new cabinetry, appliances and labor.

Other upgrades included new hardwood-like laminate flooring throughout the home, new fixtures, bathtub painting and fresh paint. The total cost of the entire 1,054-square-foot remodel that breathed new life into the home was less than $13,000.

Here are some of my tips on how you can buy your dream home in your dream neighborhood and fix it up to your liking on a budget.

Click here to read the full story…