Kathy Hochul Sworn in
December 29, 2021

Governor Hochul Announces $78 Million in Federal Funds Now Available to Help Communities Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic

Governor Hochul Announces $78 Million in Federal Funds Now Available to Help Communities Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic
More Than $40 Million has been Awarded to Date Including $2.8 Million Today to Improve Safety at Senior Centers in Erie, Monroe, and Westchester Counties
Award Amounts Increased Under New Funding Round, Program Expanded to Support Community Services, Public Facilities, and Safe and Healthy Housing Including Basement Apartments and Farmworker Housing
Community Development Block Grant CARES Funding Will Help Eligible Municipalities and Non-Profits Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced during a visit to Plattsburgh that $78 million in funding is now available through the Community Development Block Grant CARES Act (CDBG-CV). The federal program administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal is now accepting applications to help eligible communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. 

To date, the program has awarded more than $40 million to help communities make health and safety improvements to public facilities. Three recently approved CDBG-CV awards will allocate $2.8 million for upgrades at senior centers in the town of Somers in Westchester County, the town of Tonawanda in Erie County, and the town of Pittsford in Monroe County. 

“I thank President Biden and our federal partners in helping to secure funds to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds are designed to assist communities in preventing further spread of COVID-19 and protect our vulnerable neighbors,” Governor Hochul said. “Mayors, communities, and non-profits tell us your vision, tell us where you believe the vulnerabilities are greatest in your communities, wherever you think you need the extra help. These additional funds will help, and we will get through this together.” 

The CDBG-CV program funds community projects that address pandemic-related health and safety issues and improve public services. This new funding round allows non-profits, in addition to municipalities, to apply for grants. Award limits have also been increased to allow more flexibility based on need demonstrated in the application. In addition, newly eligible funding activities include basement apartments, upgrades to farmworker housing, greater access to mental health services, broadband, and to address food insecurity.  

Three awards announced today will benefit 10,800 older New Yorkers:  

  • $1,825,000 to the town of Somers in Westchester County to make changes to the senior center located in the historic Van Tassell House and purchase a 13-passenger van and a mini-cargo van for senior center use. The project focus is on improving air quality and HVAC systems, replacing sheetrock, making drainage and crawlspace improvements, abating any hazardous material, reconfiguring interior space to promote social distancing, and installing a gazebo for outdoor programming.  
  • $825,755 to the town of Tonawanda in Erie County to improve access and facilities at the senior center and to purchase two six-passenger vans for senior center use. Planned interior improvements include the installation of automatic faucets and hand driers in the restrooms, touchless water bottle fillers on existing water fountains, and a new generator. Exterior improvements to the facility include a new roof, reconstruction of the main entrance to make it ADA accessible, and the installation of new parking lot lighting. 
  • $206,299 to the town of Pittsford in Monroe County to install an outdoor pavilion at the senior center, upgrade the video conferencing system, and purchase an 11-passenger van for senior center use. The town plans to create an outdoor recreation space large enough for social distancing to continue in-person programs and services during the spring, summer, and early fall.  

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The pandemic has necessitated changes in daily life and our community infrastructure must adapt accordingly. The $78 million in available funding is much needed to help prevent and respond to COVID-19 now and in the future, while allowing people to safely come together. The three projects announced today are excellent examples of how this funding can be utilized to help New York recover from this crisis. We commend the planners and officials in Pittsford, Somers and Tonawanda for the careful thought they have given to all aspects of these projects, and the essential support they are providing to older New Yorkers.”

Congressmember Carolyn B. Maloney said, “With the alarming spike of COVID-19 cases, I applaud Governor Hochul for allocating $78 million in federal funding to help keep New Yorkers safe and healthy. These grants will allow non profits and municipalities alike to be able to apply for aid to safeguard our communities from the ongoing pandemic. I am proud that the New York Delegation fought so hard to help secure this funding and that it will be going straight to our communities as they help address the ongoing threat of COVID-19.”

Congressmember Brian Higgins said, “Federal funding approved by Congress through the CARES Act will support lasting investments in communities across Western New York. For residents in the Town of Tonawanda this means new senior vans to help with transportation and major renovations to the Senior Center.  Changes like these will improve life-quality and protect the health and safety of residents.”

Congressmember Sean Patrick Maloney said, “I am thrilled to join Governor Hochul in announcing this aid for the Van Tassell House senior center in Somers along with other senior centers across New York. The CARES Act provided a critical lifeline for our communities and this funding will deliver additional resources to care for seniors during the pandemic. I fought to include funding for state and local governments in the CARES Act to ensure New York can help towns like Somers and support communities all across the state.” to Governor Hochul for her partnership and dedication to helping New Yorkers navigate these challenging times.”

Congressmember Joe Morelle said, “As we continue to respond to the ongoing pandemic, it’s critical that our communities have the resources they need to support families in need—especially older residents who have been uniquely affected by the impacts of COVID-19. I’m proud to have secured these funds as part of the CARES Act that will help ensure the safety and well-being of Monroe County residents. I’m grateful

Congressmember Ritchie Torres said, “The ongoing public health crisis has been relentless in its devastating impact on communities throughout our state and country, and continues to disproportionately impact vulnerable populations like elderly New Yorkers. These additional funds and grants are a welcome announcement and will provide necessary resources to aid our efforts against COVID-19. I applaud Gov. Hochul for steering the funds to senior centers and look forward to future disbursements to communities desperately trying to recover from the pandemic.”

More information on CDBG CARES can be found on HCR’s website