Matt Urban Center Gives New Life to Neglected Homes

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The Matt Urban Center’s community development efforts are expanding as they work to revitalize two properties in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood and one in South Buffalo, all to be marketed to first time homebuyers.

Renovation work is well underway at 928 and 933 Fillmore Avenue and 21 South Ryan Street. All three properties were full gut rehabs and required new roofs, siding, paint, and interior fixtures and mechanicals. The agency is working with Lamparelli Construction as their general contractor for these three properties, which are slated for completion later this spring.

928 Fillmore Avenue before renovations

The properties will be marketed to first-time homebuyers whose income is at 80 percent of the area median or less. The two homes on Fillmore will each be priced at $80,000, while the property on South Ryan will be $98,000.
The work is being funded by a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) allocation of HOME funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The program requires the properties be sold to first-time homebuyers who qualify with current HUD income guidelines. Matt Urban Center previously rehabbed two properties through the CHDO program, located on Sweet Avenue and Clark Street.

“It is vitally important that we begin the process of reweaving the fabric of our neighborhoods,” said Marlies Wesolowski, executive director. “In doing so, we take eyesores and turn them into beautiful homes for families and first-time home buyers.”

21 South Ryan Street

In addition to their work in the city, the agency has partnered with the Town of Cheektowaga to renovate “zombie” properties. The town currently has 430 zombie properties, which are vacant homes trapped in the middle of the foreclosure process that can often lie vacant for several years. Neglected for some time, these properties begin to degrade, prompting a reduction in property value of the surrounding homes and an increase in crime, vandalism, and blight in their neighborhoods.

18 Stratford Place

One such example is 18 Stratford Place, whose previous owner disappeared and the property was neglected. A donation from Wells Fargo enabled the Town of Cheektowaga to acquire the home and partner with Matt Urban Center as the facilitator of the rehab and sale of the property. The home’s exterior paint was in poor condition, the grass had been left overgrown, and the interior needed a kitchen renovation, new water lines, a new hot water tank, new furnace, new bathroom fixtures, and painting and carpeting throughout the entire home. The agency worked with general contractor Dave’s Home Improvement to renovate the property, which was recently sold to a first-time homebuyer.

Matt Urban will continue working on rehabbing homes in the City and in Cheektowaga, with three additional properties slated for future rehabilitation. The agency is also working with the Town of Cheektowaga on two new builds – single family homes to be located on formerly vacant lots at 18 and 20 Randolph Avenue. The general contractor, Sunset Builders, has completed framing of the homes and is in the midst of working on siding, interior painting and mechanicals. The homes are slated for completion in late Spring/early Summer 2017 and will be marketed to low-income, first-time homebuyers.

The homes are offered to the first qualified buyer. Interested parties can contact the Matt Urban Center Housing department at 716-893-7222 ext. 220.

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