At the beginning of August 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul made an announcement regarding a new set of community programs created to help rebuild lives and property on Buffalo's east side. A large majority of the neighborhoods in East Buffalo has has been systematically neglected by local, county, and state officials for decades.

One of these new programs, the Buffalo East Homeowner Assistance Fund, or BEHAF, is now available to homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments, taxes, water and/or sewer usage fees, and garbage taxes.

The BEHAF program works very similar to the statewide Homeowner Assistance Fund that was available for New Yorkers who were having trouble staying up to date on their property-related financial obligations.

Financial assistance is available to the legal owners of 1 to 4-family structures who live in these buildings as their primary residence. The property must also be inside one of the following target zip code areas:

  • 14204, 14206, 14208, 14209, 14210, 14211, 14212, 14214, and 14215

People who qualify will be eligible to receive up to $50,000 to help to get caught up on those housing-related bills. The exact amount of assistance available will depend on how much is owed by the homeowner, with the maximum payment being no more than $50,000.

Individuals and families who qualify and are given assistance will receive the funds as a conditional loan.

The conditional loan no monthly payments and comes with a 0% interest rate. If the awardee stays in the house for at least 5 years, then the loan is fully forgiven and no repayment would be needed. If the awardee moves out of the house, or sells it, or refinances their mortgage before the end of the 5 years, then they have to pay New York State back any funds they received.

Unlike other assistance programs, BEHAF does not have any income guidelines. As long as you live in one of the target zip codes, then you may be eligible for assistance.

Homeowners will be required to provide proof of ownership, along with documentation of the debts they owe and any other forms that may be required by New York State.

To apply for BEHAF, New York State Housing and Community Renewal has partnered with a local non-profit law firm to help the people of East Buffalo to help people determine if they qualify and to provide technical assistance to complete the application. If you think you qualify, you can contact The Western New York Law Center.

You can also check the NYS BEHAF website right here for additional information.

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