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Rochester launches 'Buy the Block,' a program aimed at providing affordable homes on city-owned vacant properties

Rochester's skyline from Court Street
James Brown
Rochester's skyline from Court Street

Officials from the city and the federal government were among those gathering in northeast Rochester on Tuesday to break ground on the first model homes as part of the ‘Buy the Block – Greenlining for a Better Rochester’ program.

It was the first phase of a program that aims to strengthen neighborhoods by building up to 100 high-quality, affordable, single-family homes on city-owned vacant properties. The initial phase has begun in an area between Upper Falls Blvd., and Clinton, Clifford and Hudson Avenues.

The program, which is supported by more than $13 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act money, is open to applicants who are first-time homebuyers with a household income at or below 80% of the area median income. The homes range in price from $89,000 - $139,000.

Mayor Malik Evans said that the city and its partners are “making tangible investments in neighborhoods suffering from the long-lasting effects of redlining.” Evans said this program is “about reversing the harmful effects of housing discrimination by providing Black and brown residents greater access to quality and affordable homes so that they can build wealth for their families.”

Alicika Ampry-Samuel, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey said that “wealth building and righting historical wrongs are two of HUD’s highest priorities.”

There is more information about the Buy the Block program at www.cityofrochester/BuytheBlock

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.