The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced today it has approved the first round of residential grant applications and will begin distributing checks to Lower Manhattan residents this month. The $281 million Residential Grant Program, approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in June, provides financial incentives to retain and attract residents in Lower Manhattan. The LMDC began accepting applications for the grant program on August 15 and has received 15,000 to date. LMDC has distributed over 100,000 applications at more than 100 community centers, buildings and other locations. An additional 18,000 applications have been downloaded from LMDC’s website www.renewnyc.org and a toll-free hotline, 1-866-RenewNYC, receives an average of 350 calls a day. An advertising campaign is planned for early fall to ensure all residents are aware of the program.
In order to minimize the risk of loss from fraud, LMDC has retained a Compliance Auditor and investigative team, which operate a fraud prevention hotline and other initiatives. The fraud prevention hotline number is 1-866-830-9131. Staff at Residential Grant Program community offices have been fully trained on fraud recognition procedures and are able to contact the investigative team as necessary. The New York City Department of Investigation is also actively involved in the fraud prevention campaign, working closely with LMDC’s Compliance Auditor and coordinating with law enforcement, if necessary.
Governor Pataki said, ”This program is essential to creating a vibrant neighborhood in Lower Manhattan. Downtown residents form the foundation of all efforts to strengthen the community, and they have shown their commitment by making the choice to actually take part in the revitalization process. The individuals and families who make Lower Manhattan their home will ensure that the spirit of renewal fills the area, from restaurants and movie theatres to parks and schools.”
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, "With occupancy rates as high as 90% in areas like Battery Park City, this program is proof that our efforts to stabilize and revitalize the residential communities surrounding the World Trade Center site are working. I would like to thank HUD, the Governor and the Board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for working together to provide residents with an incentive to remain downtown while also offering prospective residents a reason to become a part of Lower Manhattan's bright future."
LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead said, “These HUD funds are important to lower Manhattan residents and will also help encourage families to make a home in this vital area of our city.”
LMDC President and Executive Director Louis R. Tomson said, “We’re very excited that the program is underway and that funds will soon be dispersed to existing and new residents of Lower Manhattan. We’re also committed to ensuring that these grants go to as many eligible residents as possible, but only to those residents who are entitled. Working with our private and public sector partners, we will remain vigilant in preventing fraud throughout the duration of this program.”
Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said, “This worthwhile program will be greatly beneficial to the residents of Lower Manhattan. Just as DOI was involved in assuring integrity of the clean-up phase of Ground Zero, we are committed to working with LMDC to ensure that these grants are distributed only to those individuals who are eligible.”
Applications are being approved on an ongoing basis. Of the 313 approved applications representing $625,000 in grants, LMDC will distribute 270 September 11 Grants, 213 2-Year Grants, and 40 Family Grants. Over one third of the grants in the first distribution will go to senior citizens in the Lower East Side and Chinatown area as a result of an early outreach campaign launched by Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) which manages the Residential Grant Program Chinatown office located at 225 Park Row. Additionally, more than half of the grants are going to applicants with low income.
LMDC will continue to process applications in order of date received. If applications are missing information, LMDC will contact residents to complete the paperwork. No application will be denied solely because required information was not initially submitted. LMDC will continue to issue approval letters after quality controls including fraud prevention measures and confirmation of building eligibility are applied to each application.
LMDC has also created a building eligibility database in partnership with New York City’s Department of Buildings, Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Department of City Planning, Department of Finance, and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. This comprehensive database matches applications to Zones I, II and III, and determines eligibility of buildings based on legal residential status and conformity to health, safety and habitability criteria.
Residents can now make appointments at the Chinatown office on 225 Park Row or the Tribeca office, managed by ACS, Inc., on 68 Reade Street to meet with an eligibility specialist and receive help in filling out the application. Both offices have multilingual staff providing all services in English, Chinese, and Spanish. New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) is available to provide services to individuals who speak other languages.
LMDC has also formed Mobile Application Teams of local residents and multilingual staff to conduct outreach in key neighborhoods and buildings. These teams have dropped off thousands of applications to residents and will return in late fall to provide assistance in filling out the forms and to answer general questions.
Since the Residential Grant Program was first announced in February, there has been a tremendous resurgence of interest in moving to Lower Manhattan, which is reflected in the increase in residential occupancy rates. The occupancy rate of Battery Park City was 60 percent after the attack, rose to 74 percent shortly after the announcement of the draft plan, and is now over 90 percent.
Applications are available at:
LMDC Residential Grant Program Community Office 225 Park RowLMDC Residential Grant Program Community Office 68 Reade StreetCommunity Board 1 51 Chambers Street, Room 712Community Board 2 3 Washington Square Village, #1ACommunity Board 3 59 East 4th Street, Ground Fl.WTC Business Recovery Center 2 Rector StreetNY Public Library 9 Murray StreetSt. Mary's Church 440 Grand StreetUJC Luncheon Club 15-17 Bialystoker StreetUnited Jewish Council 235 E. Broadway
About The Residential Grant Program
The plan divides Lower Manhattan into three zones of eligibility, depending on proximity to ground zero:
· Zone 1 - defined as the area south of Chambers Street and west of Nassau and Broad Streets, including all buildings which face on those streets and the entirety of Battery Park City; · Zone 2 - defined as the area outside Zone 1 but south of Canal Street and southwest of Rutgers Street, including all buildings which face on those streets; and · Zone 3 - defined as the area north of Canal Street and Rutgers Street, south of Delancey or Kenmare Streets, and east of Lafayette Street in Manhattan, including all buildings which face on those streets with the exception of Canal Street and Rutgers Street.
Individuals (both owners and renters) living in these zones may be eligible for these grants:A) SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 RESIDENTS GRANTS - A $1,000 one-time grant per household for on-going residents of Zone1, Zone 2, or Zone 3 who live