News Release -- Mayor Warren Announces Initiative to Turn Vacant Homes into Affordable Housing

City of Rochester

News Release

(Thursday, August 2, 2018) -- Mayor Lovely Warren today announced a new initiative that will simultaneously address the shortage of affordable housing for families and the plight of vacant and zombie homes. The Neighbors for Neighbors program, which will be administered through the Rochester Land Bank Corporation, will allow residents to buy a vacant home, receive a subsidy to rehabilitate it, then rent it out at an affordable rate. The program is funded by a state grant.

“The Neighbors for Neighbors program really is a win-win for our community,” Mayor Warren said. “Thanks to support from the New York State Attorney General’s Office, we are turning neighborhood eyesores into beacons of hope for those badly in need of affordable housing. By helping our families find a roof over their head, we are also helping them access jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods, better educational opportunities and – most importantly – a brighter future for themselves and their families.”

Mayor Warren announced the event at a home on Madison Street, in the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood, which has been vacant since 2005. She was joined by Councilmembers Mitch Gruber, Mike Patterson and Jackie Ortiz, along with neighborhood residents.

Councilmember Gruber lives in the neighborhood.

“I am grateful to Cynthia Silver, the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood, the City of Rochester, and the Land Bank Corporation for moving forward the Neighbors for Neighbors program,” Gruber said. “I have walked by 54 Madison almost every day since I moved into the neighborhood, imagining the lives that once called this long-vacant house ‘home’ and imagining the future possibilities. Most of all, I’m excited that we will have quality, affordable housing for two families to join this vibrant neighborhood.”

The two-family property was recently purchased by Cynthia Silver, who will receive funding to fix it up and rent it to eligible families.

Those purchasing the homes must agree to rent the property to families who make less than 80 percent of the average median income. These renters will pay no more than 30 percent of their income in rent.

The grant funding comes from the New York State Attorney General’s Office, which established Land Banks around the state using settlement funds secured from big banks following the 2008 financial crisis.

The Rochester Land Bank was formed in 2013 and is an active partner in the City’s efforts to stabilize and enhance neighborhoods. The Land Bank can be reached at 428-7320.


News media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo at 428-7135.