Home ownership by UB employees will help stabilize, revitalize and improve the quality of life in South Campus neighborhoods.
Published November 20, 2015
UB, in partnership with West Side Neighborhood Housing Services Inc., has launched a new program to provide financial incentive to UB employees considering purchasing homes in neighborhoods surrounding the university’s South Campus.
The UB H.O.M.E. (Home Ownership Made Easy) program will offer interest-free, deferred loans of up to $5,000 or $7,500 to UB employees who buy homes in the neighborhoods, including University Heights. A significant portion of the loan will be forgiven by the university after five continuous years of owner occupancy.
UB H.O.M.E. is the newest of several initiatives launched by UB in recent years to help stabilize, revitalize and improve quality of life in the neighborhoods near its South Campus. UB H.O.M.E. will build upon the UB Home Loan Guaranty Program, which from 2003-09 helped 22 UB employees purchase homes in University Heights.
“This is the City of Good Neighbors, and UB really takes that identity to heart,” said President Satish K. Tripathi. “We have a longstanding commitment to collaborating with our surrounding neighborhoods to enrich our communities. We are delighted to partner with West Side Neighborhood Housing Services to further those efforts.
“Our historic South Campus has been a vital anchor in this community for over 80 years, and UB employees have been engaged members of this community for decades,” Tripathi said. “UB is proud to call this vibrant neighborhood home, and with this program, now even more of our employees can do the same.”
“We’re fortunate to have diverse, vibrant neighborhoods in Buffalo and the UB Home Ownership Made Easy program will help further strengthen, stabilize and improve the neighborhoods near UB’s South Campus,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “As Buffalo’s economic resurgence continues citywide, people want to be city dwellers.
“I’m proud of my administration’s role in making Buffalo even more attractive for homeownership by reducing residential property taxes by nearly 16 percent since 2006, investing over $41 million in city parks and creating walkable/bike-able neighborhoods within close proximity of public transportation, stores and restaurants. Today, I thank UB and West Side Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. for this strategic investment in our city,” Brown said.
UB H.O.M.E. is being funded on behalf of the university by the UB Foundation (UBF), which has made an initial investment of $100,000. A matching $100,000 is being provided by West Side Neighborhood Housing Services Inc., a charter member of NeighborWorks America, a national organization specializing in community revitalization and development.
For more information on the UB H.O.M.E. program, visit the program’s website or call 716-885-2344.
“This strategic investment is a win-win for the University at Buffalo and surrounding communities in the city of Buffalo,” said Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “The path to home ownership can be an arduous one. However, with the H.O.M.E. program, it becomes much easier for UB employees. Many UB alumni and students work with community-based organizations on revitalization efforts. Increased home-ownership rates will stabilize neighborhoods and help to reinforce existing bonds in University Heights. I applaud UB President Satish K. Tripathi on his commitment to UB employees and the surrounding communities.”
“I applaud President Tripathi and the University at Buffalo for their steadfast dedication to Buffalo’s University District,” said state Sen. Tim Kennedy. “They’ve recognized the need for further personal investment in the neighborhoods surrounding UB’s South Campus, and they have taken action. The UB H.O.M.E. program will help grow the population of owner-occupied homes in the University District, bringing the stability and investment this area needs.”
“The UB H.O.M.E. program would further support the growth that is needed in the University District South Campus for the neighborhoods by creating stability and building collaboration among residents and staff,” said Buffalo Common Councilmember Rasheed N.C. Wyatt.
West Side Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. will administer the program and provide a variety of homeowner-assistance services for participants.
“NeighborWorks America is proud to provide the $100,000 in funds to West Side NHS for this extraordinary partnership with the University at Buffalo,” said Deborah Boatright, northeast regional vice president, NeighborWorks America. “The homebuyer education component is a critical part of this effort. Studies have shown that a prepared homebuyer is a successful homeowner, and successful homeowners revitalize neighborhoods. Combined with down-payment assistance, this is a model program for SUNY and NeighborWorks organizations to spur reinvestment in local communities.”
“The UB H.O.M.E. program will further West Side NHS’ mission to preserve and revitalize Buffalo’s neighborhoods by providing safe, affordable and sustainable housing opportunities for all,” said Megan Burns-Moran, executive director, West Side Neighborhood Housing Services Inc.
Each deferred loan awarded by the UB H.O.M.E. program will be made up of a UBF-funded portion and a portion funded by West Side NHS. The UBF portion will be forgiven if the original homebuyer remains in the home for five years. The West Side NHS portion is an interest-free deferred loan that will be repaid when the home is sold.
Assemblyman Sean Ryan thanked UB and West Side Neighborhood Housing Services “for launching this exciting program, which will help to support neighborhood growth in the city of Buffalo. The UB H.O.M.E. program is a great investment in both housing and employees who work at UB. The long-term benefits of this program are especially appealing, and I hope the state can use this program as a model for similar statewide programs and investment.”
The loans will help fund down payments and closing costs for purchasing homes in these designated neighborhoods:
Several West Side NHS programs will be made available to UB H.O.M.E. applicants, including programs that carry clients through the entire process of buying and owning a home, from financial capability and homebuyer education, to closing cost assistance, post-purchase education, home improvement loans and foreclosure prevention counseling.
For applicants who are not mortgage-ready, homeownership counselors will develop a plan to build credit and savings, using West Side NHS’ established three-part homebuyer program.
UB H.O.M.E. organizers hope to create success stories like those achieved by UB’s former Home Loan Guaranty Program.
For example, Jon Fuller, assistant athletics director for communications, and his wife, Dawn Reed, call University Heights home. The couple purchased their Pelham Drive house in 2009 with help from UB’s Home Loan Guaranty Program.
Today, Fuller said he and his family are firmly rooted in the community and are among approximately 550 UB employees living in the Heights.
“We love living in the neighborhood,” he said. “We wanted to be city dwellers, to be close to public transportation, with stores and restaurants within walkable distances. There is a movie theater right down the street that we walk to all the time.
“When we invested in our home, we also invested in the neighborhood. It has continued to grow over the last six years and we look forward to where it’s going.”