November 30, 2018

Schumer, Gillibrand Reveal: Buffalo And Tonawanda Waiting On Over $15 Million In Critical Hud Community Development Block Grant Funding, Holding Up Essential Development Projects And Hurting Local Service Providers; Senators Demand Hud Immediately Release Much-Needed Federal Funds To Buffalo And Tonawanda

The Community Development Block Grant Program Provides Essential Funds For Transformative Development Projects Across Buffalo, Tonawanda And Upstate NY; Schumer And Gillibrand Fought To Secure $3.3 Billion For Program In Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill; After Learning That HUD Has Yet To Send Previously-Allocated Funding To Buffalo And Tonawanda - Over $13 Million For Buffalo And Over $1.6 Million For Tonawanda - Schumer And Gillibrand Demand HUD Immediately Release Funds

Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today called on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to deliver delayed Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funding to the City of Buffalo and the Town of Tonawanda. Schumer and Gillibrand explained that Buffalo is owed a total of $13,677,706 and Tonawanda is owed a total of $1,665,083 and that this delay in funding delivery has had major consequences for the municipalities. The senators said that Western New York depends on CDBG funding to support affordable housing, economic development and other critical resources for seniors, low- and middle-income residents and the organizations that serve them. The senators declared that any further delay in these funds will put the most vulnerable communities in Buffalo and Tonawanda at an even greater risk and urged HUD to deliver the funding at once.

“The HUD CDBG program is a vital lifeline to both Buffalo and Tonawanda that allows them to execute critical economic development projects and provide essential services for their most in-need residents, including seniors and children. However, essential CDBG funds are now being held up by HUD and not reaching these Western New York municipalities, preventing critical projects from moving forward and hurting service delivery,” said Senator Schumer. “So, I’m calling on HUD to deliver these already-allocated funds, which I fought tirelessly to secure in the Senate, to Buffalo and Tonawanda at once. The federal government would not wait half a year for money it’s owed, so neither should Buffalo and Tonawanda.”

“I am very concerned that the Trump Administration is delaying these urgently needed grant payments that local organizations in Buffalo and Tonawanda rely on to help make sure families and workers can have access to affordable housing and good local jobs,” said Senator Gillibrand. “It is unacceptable that HUD is withholding over $15 million that is meant to help some of our most vulnerable families, and I urge Secretary Carson to release the Community Development Block Grant funds owed to these communities.”

 Schumer and Gillibrand detailed that the CDBG program provides municipalities throughout Upstate New York, like Buffalo and Tonawanda, with critical funding for transformative and unique development programs and is essential to the success of their corresponding local economies. The senators explained that they fought relentlessly to secure over $125 million in CDBG funding for communities across New York State and $3.3 billion across the country in the bipartisan, Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill. However, Schumer and Gillibrand added that despite being made aware of their CDBG allocations in May of this year and completing the requisite action plans with HUD shortly thereafter, neither Buffalo nor Tonawanda have been able to access and distribute the funds to the local entities that rely on them. The senators said that it is entirely unacceptable that this funding has yet to make its way into these communities nearly six months after allocation amounts were announced.

According to the senators, this interruption in funding has had severe consequences for Buffalo and Tonawanda. For example, in Buffalo, local entities are owed a total of $13,677,706 in CDBG funding for Fiscal Year 2018. Additionally, local entities in the Town of Tonawanda are owed a total of $1,665,083 in CDBG funding for Fiscal Year 2018. Many of these entities have been forced to either delay essential programming or even take out loans to stay afloat, which are now accruing interest with each day that passes. Schumer and Gillibrand explained that once CDBG funds are finally released, many of these non-profit organizations will have to pay this interest and have less funding than anticipated to continue their work for their communities. The senators concluded by asking that HUD take the necessary steps to make this funding, which was promised to Buffalo and Tonawanda, available immediately.

A copy of Schumer and Gillibrand’s letter to HUD appears below. 

Dear Secretary Carson,

It has come to our attention that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has delayed the release of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funding to localities in New York State and across the nation. State and local governments rely on this funding to support affordable housing, economic development, and other important resources to seniors, low- and middle-income residents and the organizations that serve them, and a delay in these funds of any length leaves our most vulnerable communities at even greater risk.

The CDBG program provides municipalities in New York with critical funding for transformative and unique development programs and is essential to the success of these local economies. We worked hard in Congress to secure over $125 million in CDBG funding for communities across New York in the bipartisan, Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Despite being made aware of their CDBG allocations in May 2018 and completing the requisite action plan’s with your agency shortly thereafter, many of these communities have yet to access and distribute the funding to the local entities that rely on them. It is unacceptable that this funding has yet to make its way into these communities nearly six months after allocation amounts were established.

This interruption in funding has had major consequences for communities across New York State, including the Town of Tonawanda and City of Buffalo. In Buffalo, for instance, nearly 20 local organizations and agencies have been waiting for $13,677,706 in CDBG funding for Fiscal Year 2018.         

We ask that you take the necessary steps to make this funding promised to these communities in New York and across the country available immediately.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,