Author Archives: Stephen Karnath

Empire State Development: East Side Commercial Corridors Program

Broadway Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services (BFNHS) is pleased to announce a new East Side Commercial District Program (ESCDP).  With funding from Empire State Development, this program will offer grant assistance – to a maximum of $50,000 – for commercial building improvements in the MLK and Broadway Fillmore commercial corridors.  The $2 million program is part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund. The MLK program area is Fillmore Avenue between East Ferry and North Parade.  The Broadway Fillmore program area is Fillmore Avenue between Sycamore and Paderewski as well as Broadway between Reed and Memorial.  

Interested, eligible property owners are encouraged to attend upcoming program roll out meetings in their districts to learn more about the program requirements, application process, assistance available through the program, and to meet Brianna Byandagara BFNHS Commercial District Program Manager. Information sessions will be held on:

Broadway Fillmore: November 7th, 2019 at Jericho Road located at 1021 Broadway at 6pm.

MLK Park: November 21st, 2019 at Merriweather Library located at 1324 Jefferson Ave at 6pm.

At both meetings prospective applicants will receive the program application as well as the ranking criteria that will be used to make funding decisions.  The consultant team will be present to provide additional information on the program as well as explain how to access free technical assistance in the preparation of the application.

For additional information, contact the BFNHS Commercial District Program Manager, Brianna Byandagara at

BFNHS & AKAG Team Up for “Work and Play” Mural

In 2017 Broadway Fillmore NHS (BFNHS) and the Albright Knox Art Gallery (AKAG) partnered on The Welcome Wall mural at 751 Fillmore.  We received so much positive feedback that we immediately set to work on identifying a site for a second mural.

We have been focusing much of our energy and resources on redeveloping south Fillmore, in particular the section between Genesee and Peckham.  With that in mind, we decided that a mural across the street from the Mickiewicz Library and Torn Space Theater (which is undergoing a major renovation) would be a great addition to our redevelopment plans.   The former Polish Co-op Savings & Loan building at 617 Fillmore turned out to be the perfect location for the Polish artist Wojciech Kołacz to create Work and Play.

From the AKAG website:  “Wojciech Kołacz, a.k.a. Otecki (Polish, born 1984), is an illustrator, printmaker, painter, and mural artist working in Wrocław, Poland. Otecki finds influence in Cubism, non-Western art, and Slavonic folklore. He is fond of presenting dualistic worlds and characters; especially human-animal combinations that are “part majesty and part mystery.”

Our hope is that the mural adds to the perception that the Broadway Fillmore neighborhood is once again becoming a desirable place to live, work and play.

We were able to pay most of the hard costs of the mural, using Better Buffalo Funds through the NYS Buffalo Main Street Initiative.  Our thanks to ESD, NYSHCR, and of course our partners at AKAG, especially Aaron Ott and Eric Jones.

Cigar Factory Apartments – Coming in 2019

In November 2015, the former Jankowski Cigar Factory at 595 Fillmore burned a week after Broadway Fillmore NHS (BFNHS) purchased the property at the City property tax foreclosure auction.  We have spent the past two years trying to put together a plan to redevelop it.  In December 2017, we also purchased the adjacent property at 591 Fillmore.  It was damaged during the fire at 595.

The New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation recently awarded BFNHS a total of $1,714,300 to rebuild 595 Fillmore and completely rehabilitate 591 Fillmore.  There will be four apartments in 591 (three 1BR and one 2BR) and seven apartments in 595 Fillmore (four 1BR and three 2BR).  Rents will be similar to our apartments at Urban Street – $360 for a 1BR unit, and $425 for a 2BR unit.  Two 1BR units for the homeless will rent for $225.  Tenants will pay their own gas and electric.   There will be one small commercial storefront.  The plan is for a coffee shop to open in that space.

We are working to complete all of the pre-construction work so that construction can start on October 1st.  We are hopeful that when complete, the building will look much like it did 100+ years ago, and that it will serve as an anchor for the corner of Fillmore Avenue and Paderewski Drive.

July 2018 – Broadway Fillmore NHS Awarded $500,000 in Home Repair Funds

More good news for low-income homeowners.  In June 2018, Broadway Fillmore NHS (BFNHS) was awarded another $500,000 in home repairs funds by the NYS Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC).  These funds are in addition to the $500,000 awarded by the AHC in 2016.  We are using the same program guidelines as the previous contract.  Total household income must be below 80% of area median income by family size, as follows:

1 Person    2 Person   3 Person    4 Person   5 Person   6 Person   7 Person   8 Person                        $41,850      $47,800    $53,800      $59,750     $64,550    $69,350     $74,100     $78,900

Priorities:  if you are below 50% of area median income, you will receive a priority over persons at 80%.  If you are below 30% of median income, you will receive a priority over those at 50%.  If you are frail elderly (over 75 or over 62 with a disability), you will receive a second priority.

The program boundaries have expanded slightly:  Best Street to the north, Bailey Avenue to the east, Seneca Street to the south, and Jefferson to the west.  Repairs are limited to health and safety issues – roofs, foundations, mechanical systems, energy conservation, & environmental issues, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are typical examples of allowable expenses.  The funds are in the form of a recoverable grant – you must live in the house for a minimum of five years after completion of the work. and the funds cover 90% of the cost of repairs.  The homeowner must provide 10% of the cost.  If the homeowner does not have their 10% contribution, BFNHS will lend them the funds at 3% interest.   We work with the homeowner to structure the payments so they are affordable.  Typical loan payments are in the $30 – $40 per month for three to five years.

To start the process, please complete and submit the intake form.  It is available in our office, or you can download it by clicking on the link below.  If you have previously filled out an intake form, there is no need to submit another one.  We have them on file.  All of them are date stamped, so you will not lose your place in line.


If you have comments or questions, please use the comment form below.

Broadway Fillmore NHS Awarded $500,000 in Home Repair Funds

The New York State Affordable Housing Corporation recently awarded Broadway Fillmore NHS $500,000 to complete home repairs for low-income homeowners.  Funds will be used to correct major systems – roof, electric, heating, plumbing and other health/safety issues.  Energy conservation work will also be included.  To start the application process, you may stop by our office and pick up an initial intake form, or you may download it here.  bfnhs-home-repair-intake-form-2017   There is a preference for very low-income homeowners – below 50% of area median income (currently $33,650 for a family of 4), and for low-income seniors (over 62).

The funds are structured as 90% grant and 10% owner contribution.  Owners who have no other source of funding for their contribution may borrow the funds from BFNHS at 3%.  The priority service area for the funds is Best Street to the North, Koons and Babcock to the East, Seneca Street to the South and Herman and Smith Streets to the West.

For more information, contact our housing counselor, Lynnette Gospodarski, at 716-852-3130 extension 1.

BFNHS Awarded $315,000 for Home Repairs along the Fillmore Corridor

Broadway Fillmore NHS is now accepting applications from low income homeowners who live along the South Fillmore corridor (Best Street to Seneca).   This includes the adjacent streets.  Eligible applicants must live in the home, meet the income requirements, be current on their taxes & have homeowners insurance.  (We can help with the insurance requirement.)   We are particularly looking for very low income frail elderly owners.

Property owners will be required to bring their property up to current residential property code.   This will include issues such as asbestos, lead paint, energy conservation & accessibility.  All owners will be required to contribute a minimum of 10% of the project costs.  If the total project cost is $40,000, the owner must contribute at least $4000.  We can provide a low interest loan (3%) for owners who need to borrow the funds to meet this requirement.  The balance of the funds will be in the form of a recoverable grant that will be forgiven if the owner remains in the home for a minimum of 5 years.

To start the application process, please call our office (716-852-3130) or stop by and pick up an initial intake form.  You may also download the intake form by clicking here.  HOME LPA – Intake Form 2016  The intake form is an initial screening document.  It is not the application.

The initial  intake window closes on August 15, 2016.  If we have more eligible applicants than funds, we will conduct a lottery.  Applications received after August 15th will be date and time stamped and will be processed only if there are any remaining funds.