Old First Ward Community Center trying to find new ways to reach people


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — To protect low and moderate-income residents of Buffalo, the Old First Ward Community Center says it is trying to find new ways to connect with them.

“Social networks like Nextdoor and Facebook are great tools to promote programs, but they’re limited to individuals who are active on those platforms,” said Alissa Schmidle, director for Community Development and Housing for the Old First Ward Community Center. “Without canvasing neighborhoods or visiting places like libraries and community centers, we aren’t reaching the individuals who could use our help the most.”

The Old First Ward Community Center is one of six community-based organizations working to better assist residents through the Community Partner Initiative with the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency (BURA).

“We have begun calling people who were previously rejected based on income,” said Schmidle. “Income requirements are based on current financials, and with so many people in our communities laid off and not working, these programs can really help.”

Here are the four initiatives staff members are focusing on to provide support:

  • Emergency repair funds — These help homeowners with common problems like water main breaks and non-functioning furnaces.
  • 50/50 acquisition rehab — This can provide homeowners with half the cost of home rehabilitation, up to $25,000.
  • Down payment closing cost assistance — This is the offer of $5,000 to first time home buyers to help meet closing cost and down payment expenses. Residents must occupy the residence for five years.
  • HomeGrown — This helps first-time home buyers with the purchase and rehabilitation of an affordable home.

Questions can be directed to Alissa Schmidle at (716) 856-8613 ext. 103 or aschmidle@old1stward.org.

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