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HOCN Press Kit

Media Contact

Stephanie Simeon
Executive Director
(716) 882-7661 ext 200

Heart of the City Neighborhoods, Inc.
191 North Street, Suite 1
Buffalo NY 14201
Phone: (716) 882-7661
Fax: (716) 882-7662

download Heart of the City Neighborhoods Logo




Media Links

New Low-Income Apartments Open on West SideBuffalo YNN

Forum Held to Bridge the GapBuffalo News

Whitney Place RehabsBuffalo Rising

New-Build Apartment Plan Draws ProtestArt Voice

Hudson Street Apartment Project FundedBuffalo Rising

Living In The Heart of the City” Video

23 Plymouth Avenue” WIVB News Video

For a list of all of our media mentions, visit our Media Page


Press Kit

Our Mission & Vision

Heart of the City Neighborhoods, Inc. (HOCN) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit Community Development Corporation dedicated to providing quality, affordable housing in Buffalo’s Lower West Side.

Heart of the City’s mission is to create, facilitate and support housing and neighborhood development in the Lower West Side of the City of Buffalo. This is accomplished by creating programs to improve the quality of residential housing, assisting private developers, neighborhood leaders, the City and other not-for-profit organizations to develop sustainable projects to improve Lower West Side neighborhoods.

Working together with residents and neighborhood organizations, local leaders, financial institutions and real estate professionals, HOCN works to stabilize and create integrated, mixed income neighborhoods where individuals and families of all incomes will have a better quality of life and take pride in their property, their street, and their community.

Quick Facts
  • Between 1998 and 2014, HOCN coordinated 86 units of minor home repair, renovated 20 vacant units and one 6-unit rental property, and constructed 8 rental units.
  • HOCN provides homeownership opportunities through the H.O.P.E. (“Home Ownership Provides Equity”) program, while revitalizing neglected homes in this vibrant and historic neighborhood.
  • In 2009, the Office of the City of Buffalo Strategic Planning noted Heart of the City’s service area in the Lower West Side having 310 vacant properties: 257 residential properties, 52 commercial properties, and 1 urban renewal/ slum clearance
  • HOCN assists area homeowners with grants through our Minor Home Repair programs, replacing deficient items like windows, roofs, siding, and heating systems.
  • HOCN has created a Lower West Side Map & Guide to highlight this unique neighborhood comprised of public spaces, local businesses, cultural amenities, and vibrant residential communities.
  • HOCN offers referrals to resources for homeowners, first-time homebuyers, and tenants.
  • HOCN utilizes a block-by-block approach to fighting blight and abandoned homes within its service area.
  • HOCN has planted over 300 trees all over the Lower West Side, including along our Hudson Street and Whitney Place target areas, as part of our neighborhood beautification program.
  • Everything Heart of the City does is with a singular goal: to improve housing opportunities and quality of life within our service area, and by extension, in the City of Buffalo.
Our Past 15+ Years of Success
  • 1996 | HOCN’s first building project was the redevelopment of the former Norbans Building into the Glenny Center International Hostel.
  • 1997 | Commissioned a marketing study of the feasibility of market rate rental units in the downtown core that was the basis for much of the multiple market and high-end unit development currently underway.
  • 2001 | Rehabilitation of the Watkins Building, a former Pan American Exposition Hotel at 170 West Chippewa that sat as a vacant eyesore on in Buffalo for many years, into six market-rate units.
  • 2002 | Purchased, rehabilitated and sold 60 College Street, a century old Victorian sitting prominently at the corner of Maryland and College streets that sat as an eyesore in the neighborhood for years.
  • 2002 | In partnership with West Side Neighborhood Housing Services, HOCN purchased, rehabilitated, and sold 15 Plymouth Avenue.
  • 2003 | Purchased and rehabilitated 318 Maryland Street into three low/moderate-income rental units.
  • 2006 | Launched the Plymouth Avenue Reclamation Plan with the purchase and rehab of once vacant and decrepit properties, including 23, 42, and 44 Plymouth Avenue.
  • 2007 | Repainted 13 homes in 1 day with the help of 700 volunteers in collaboration with Brush Up Buffalo.
  • 2008 | Purchased, rehabilitated and sold 263 Hudson Street, a vacant property that blighted the neighborhood for many years.
  • 2010 | Launched the Whitney Place Properties Initiative, which involved the purchase and rehab of 245 and 251 Whitney Place for resale as part of the effort to restore life on the block.
  • 2011 | Launched the Planning to Stay Program, the first of our minor home repair programs. This program and its first round of funding provided 19 units of repair to frail and elderly, low-income homeowners in our neighborhood.
  • 2012 | Continued our minor home repair efforts by launching our Green and Healthy Homes and Stable Homes Programs. Green and Healthy Homes works with state and local resources to provide low-income families in our neighborhood with needed home repairs. Stable Homes works with Learning Disabilities Association of WNY to provide developmentally disabled homeowners with home repair assistance.
  • 2013 | Purchased, rehabilitated, and resold two homes under our H.O.P.E. Program to first-time homebuyers to continue our Whitney Place Properties Initiative; 330 Prospect Avenue, a double family home, and 192 Whitney Place, a single-family home.
  • 2014 | Celebrated 5 years of development under the Whitney Place Properties Initiative by rehabilitating and reselling 178 Whitney Place, a single-family home, under our H.O.P.E.

Heart of the City’s success continues to grow with the launch of new programs and developments each year!