At the beginning of August 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul made an announcement regarding a new set of community programs created to help rebuild lives and property on Buffalo's east side. A large majority of the neighborhoods in East Buffalo has has been systematically neglected by local, county, and state officials for decades.
One of these new programs, the Buffalo East Homeowner Improvement Program, or BEHIP, is now available to people who live in certain neighborhoods in Buffalo to help property owners make needed health, safety, and even cosmetic improvements and repairs to their homes.
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BEHIP is available to the legal owners of 1 to 4 family structures who live in these buildings as their primary residence. The property must also be inside one of the target zip code areas.
The property must be in one of the following zip codes:
- 14204, 14206, 14208, 14209, 14210, 14211, 14212, 14214, and 14215
While the exact amount of assistance will vary depending on the type of repairs that are needed. The maximum amount of assistance available is $35,000.00.
Individuals and families who qualify and are given assistance will receive the funds as a conditional loan.
The loan has no monthly payments and comes with a 0% interest rate. If the applicant stays in the house for at least 10 years, the loan is fully forgiven. If the applicant moves out of the house, or sells it, before the 10 years expire, then they have to pay the funds they received back to New York State.
Like most programs, this one has income limits. Individuals and families must have an annual household income that is equal to or less than 80% of the Area Median Income. In the Buffalo/Niagara region, a family of four (4) would need an yearly income of $70,200 or less to qualify.
Individuals and families with a higher income can still qualify for assistance, however, the maximum amount of assistance is reduced as the annual income increases.
In addition to the income level, owners must also provide proof of their cash and liquid assets. Which cannot be more than $15,000.
To apply for BEHIP, New York State Housing and Community Renewal has partnered with 5 different non-profit organizations in the city of Buffalo to help people determine if they qualify and to provide technical assistance to complete the application.
You can reach out to any of the following organizations for more information:
- PUSH Buffalo
- Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services
- Heart of the City Neighborhoods
- Community Action Organization of Western New York
- NeighborWorks Community Partners of Buffalo
You can also check the NYS BEHIP website right here for additional information.