DDAA Board Member: Town of Cameron Housing Rehabilitation Project
By: Chelsea Robertson, Executive Director, Southern Tier Central Regional Planning & Development Board
In 2021, Southern Tier Central Regional Planning & Development Board (STC), an LDD located in Corning, New York, collaborated with the Town of Cameron, a small municipality in Steuben County, to apply for a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for single-family housing rehabilitation. STC is a small rural LDD that has created a niche in serving and working to build capacity in rural municipalities such as the Town of Cameron. The Town of Cameron has a population of 950 individuals and is home to only 359 occupied homes.
Cameron was lucky enough to be awarded this grant and the program kicked off in early 2022 as a collaboration between three entities: the Town of Cameron, Arbor Housing & Development (a community housing development organization) and STC. STC worked to use this opportunity to teach the Town of Cameron how to apply for and administer these funds themselves in the hopes that they can pursue this type of funding on their own in the future. STC also used this opportunity to build a partnership between the Town and an existing housing organization. While the Town would be the grantee, Arbor Housing & Development is responsible for program delivery.
The outcomes have been that a total of 5-7 individual homes will be renovated with repairs, brining these homes up to code by December of 2023. This impact may be small, but certainly is big to a rural community like Cameron. The Town is also now empowered to pursue future funding and continue this rural housing program in their community.
As a result of this pilot program, STC successfully applied for ARC’s READY LDD program. With this funding, STC will provide communities guidance on how to bring federal dollars into their municipality. Over the next two years, STC will assist rural communities that may lack the capacity to pursue funding on their own. STC anticipates working with a minimum of three communities and helping them apply for and administer FEMA, USDA-Rural Development or CDBG funding. All three funding sources appear to be underutilized by rural communities, like the Town of Cameron.