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New ‘Hometown Heroes Housing Program’ Helps Florida Teachers and First Responders Buy Their First Home

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A statewide program launching on June 1 will help Florida residents in over 50 critical professions, including first responders and teachers, to purchase their first home.

The $100 million Hometown Heroes Housing Program will be available to law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators, healthcare professionals, childcare employees, and active military or veterans.

The program provides assistance with down payments, closing costs, and a lower mortgage rate to first-time, income-qualified homebuyers to purchase a home in the community where they work.

Borrowers can receive up to 5% of the loan amount—up to $25,000—in assistance. Limits on income and the price of the house are determined by the specific county.

The program will expand Florida’s existing housing programs to reach critical workers and those who have served our country. Governor Ron DeSantis also intends to expand the total earmarked by the Legislature in the upcoming budget to $363 million appropriated for affordable and workforce housing—the highest total in 15 years.

“Our hometown heroes are the backbone of Florida communities and making sure that they can afford to be homeowners is a great way to give back to them and support the future of the American Dream,” said DeSantis.

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Watertown facility for homeless people will open on Pine Street

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WATERTOWN — Transitional Living Services is turning the former Angel’s Inn adult home on Pine Street into a facility for homeless people.

Transitional Living Services of New York, a Watertown-based provider of housing and mental health services since 1979, will provide emergency housing for the homeless in the former adult home at 518 Pine St.

Transitional Living is partnering with the Jefferson County Department of Social Services and a private developer, JC Capital Funding LLC, Colorado Springs, Colo., to work on the 18-unit, single-room-occupancy facility.

The City Council learned about the project after receiving a letter last week from Transitional Living Executive Director Maureen P. Cean, who requested that the city provide $15,000 from the city’s Community Development Block Grant program.

In a 3-2 vote on Monday night, the council informally agreed to provide the $15,000 gap funding for the project through the CDBG program.

But Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith was joined by Councilwoman Sarah V. Compo Pierce in opposing providing the funding, saying that they wanted to wait to see what the community thought about it first.

“This is the first I’m hearing about it,” Mayor Smith said, adding that he wanted to know whether Ms. Cean has approached neighbors to see what they think about the facility.

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Housing vulnerable populations: 60 future housing units to be built from partnership between three local agencies

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WATERTOWN — Transitional Living Services of Northern New York will receive $2.5 million in funds from the state in an effort to provide better services and more housing opportunities for the area’s homeless population.

Recent events, including a fire at the Rainbow Motel in Pamelia and the closing of the Relax Inn on Route 11 in the town of Watertown and 661 Factory St. Inn & Lodging in Watertown, have resulted in even fewer housing options for vulnerable populations.

In hopes of addressing this problem, 60 new housing units will be constructed to serve low-income individuals and those with mental illnesses or substance use issues.

“Having shelter is the most basic human need — Where are you going to lay your head at night? Where will you get your next meal from? These are the most basic things that you need to be able to live your life,” said Maureen Cean, executive director of Transitional Living Services. “Not having a stable home to live in impacts a person’s whole life, and if we don’t provide our citizens with at least that most basic need, then they will forever remain economically disadvantaged.”

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People Inc. opens new affordable housing with disability services on Buffalo’s East Side

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — People Inc. celebrated the opening of a new mixed-income affordable housing apartment complex on Buffalo’s East Side Monday.

Located at 1166 Jefferson Avenue, the two-building complex has 90 units, 16 of which offer support services from People Inc. for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live independently.

“When I heard I got the apartment, I knew that the independent life I deserved was in reach,” said Shanell Davis, a resident who relies on a wheelchair. “After moving into the apartment, I finally have the life that I always wanted. I love the fact that I can come and go as I please without having to worry about the barriers of stairs.”

There are 71 one-bedroom apartments and 19 two-bedroom apartments. There will also be 16,000-square feet of ground floor commercial space.

The $31 million project was funded by the NYS Homes and Community Renewal, which is the state’s affordable housing agency, NYS Housing Finance Agency JP Morgan Chase Bank, Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, City of Buffalo HOME Program, NYS Empire State Development, NYS Energy Research and Development Authority, and NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities.

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