Between 1998 and 2017, HOCN coordinated 191 units of minor home repair, renovated 20 vacant units and one 6-unit rental property, and constructed 8 rental units.
Rehabbed Homes Photo Gallery
Heart of the City Neighborhoods, Inc. creates programs to improve the quality of residential housing in the Lower West Side of Buffalo. By working with residents and other neighborhood organizations we hope to provide accessible and affordable housing for all.
HOCN has over 20 years of impact in the City of Buffalo. Below are several of the successful projects and initiatives we have completed.
Traffic Calming Initiative: In 2000, HOCN helped plan an effort to slow traffic in the Lower West Side, endorsed by interested block and supported by local officials and community leaders
Living in Heart of the City: In 2001, HOCN produced a marketing video and distributed over 1,000 copies free of charge, made possible by public and private resources, as well as support from local leaders and organizations.
Brush Up Buffalo: In 2007, HOCN and Brush up Buffalo painted 13 homes in 1 day, with the help of 700 volunteers.
Tree Planting: Over the years, HOCN has worked to reforest the Lower West Side by planting 299 trees over the years with the help of countless volunteers and community partners.
Community Planning: In 2013, HOCN began a community planning process with other community stakeholders. That June, a Community Planning Workshop was held with over 50 residents on the community to discuss priorities for the community.
Watkins Building, 170 West Chippewa Street: In 2001, HOCN began a three year rehabilitation of this former Pan American Exposition Hotel that sat as a vacant eyesore in Buffalo for many years. The building was converted to six, tw0-bedroom units by utilizing $479,000 in funding received from the Community Preservation Corporation, the City of Buffalo, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC.) HOCN managed this property for five years before selling.
Cynthia Gardens, 294 & 302 Hudson Street: An eight unit, two townhouse style, new build, vacant lot in-fill was completed in 2013 through the support of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and New York State Homes and Community Renewal. HOCN currently manages with property with a hired property manager, and it is owned by the Cynthia Gardens Housing Development Trust Fund Company.
Multi-Family Home Rehab
318 Maryland Street: HOCN cquired and rehabilitated this deteriorating house into three low/moderate-income rental apartments in 2003. HOCN managed this property for 4 years before selling to a first-time home buyer.
Single-Family Home Rehab
60 College Street: HOCN purchased, rehabilitated and sold this 1880’s Victorian home in 2003. It had become a deteriorating eyesore at the corner of Maryland and College streets due to an absentee landlord. A combination of funding from The Wendt Foundation, Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC,) NYS HOME funds and a Fannie Mae grant were utilized.
Plymouth Avenue Block Reclamation Project: This initiative launched in 2002 with the purchase of 15 Plymouth Avenue in partnership with West Side Neighborhood Housing Services. The property has been sold and the new owner restored it to a single-family home.
42 Plymouth has been completely renovated by HOCN when a supporter purchased this house, strategically located in the middle of the targeted block. The first floor served as HOCN’s office for eight years, while the second floor was occupied by a tenant. In 2011, it was privately sold by the homeowner.
In 2007, HOCN acquired, rehabilitated, and sold two deteriorating properties on Plymouth Avenue; 23 and 44 Plymouth Avenue.
263 Hudson Street: HOCN used proceeds from the sale of 23 and 42 Plymouth to purchase, rehabilitate, and sell this deteriorating property on Hudson Street in 2008.
Whitney Place Properties Initiative: In 2010, HOCN acquired, rehabilitated, and sold two vacant eyesores on Whitney Place; 251 and 245 Whitney Place through New York State Homes and Community Renewal funding in 2012. The following year, HOCN began rehabilitating 192 Whitney Place, a single family home just a block south, which was sold the same year to a family of five. In 2014, HOCN wrapped up the five year initiative by restoring and reselling 178 Whitney Place, a single family, stucco home.
330 Prospect Avenue: Through New York State Homes and Community Renewal funding and proceeds from the Whitney Place Properties Initiative, HOCN acquired and rehabilitated this double family home in 2013. It was sold to a first-time homebuyer following construction.
Minor Home Repair
Planning to Stay Program: In 2011, HOCN launched an innovative initiative to help elderly homeowners in our community remain in their homes, despite the old age of their homes.
Stable Homes Program: HOCN partnered with Learning Disabilities Association of WNY in 2012 to help homeowners with developmental disabilities remain independent in their homes across the City of Buffalo.
Home Repair Assistance Program: In 2012, HOCN extended minor home repair opportunities to low-income families in our neighborhood that are in need of help maintaining or bringing their homes up to housing code.
Buffalo Main Streets Initiative Program: In 2015, HOCN was awarded $300,000 from Empire State Development and the NYS Housing Trust Fund Corporation to assist commercial and mixed-use property owners on Niagara Street between Georgia St. and Porter Ave. by providing funds that can be used towards renovations, such as façade renovations and interior commercial and residential building upgrades. The reimbursement program provided eligible commercial property owners with a 75% match (three dollars of grant funds for each one dollar of owner invested funds.) Funds assisted four successful projects; 470, 472, 525, and 617 Niagara Street.
Project Management Services
Mt Aaron Manor Apartments: Heart of the City Neighborhoods and Mt. Aaron Missionary Baptist Church began a partnership in 2015 to help expand affordable housing opportunities in the Pratt-Willert community. We firmly believe that senior citizens are an invaluable part of our communities that deserve to remain in the neighborhoods they’ve invested in for so many years. When an opportunity arose to work with leaders in the Pratt-Willert community who share the same values, HOCN happily rose the occasion.
HOCN worked with the Mt. Aaron Missionary Baptist Church to secure $1.4 million, awarded by the City of Buffalo to Mt. Aaron Manor Housing Development Fund Corp., to fund the Mt. Aaron Manor Apartments. Mt. Aaron Manor is a two story, 10 unit apartment building located at 528 Genesee Street, adjacent to the Mt. Aaron Missionary Baptist Church, under the leadership of Pastor Dwayne Jones.