City of Albany launches “Love Your Block” grant program
The City of Albany is providing support for resident-led efforts to battle blight.
Mayor Kathy Sheehan says the city has been awarded a “Love Your Block” grant through Cities of Service and John Hopkins University with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
"This is a program that has been tested in other places, and they continue to work with us to lift up what works, but we will be providing grants of between $500 and $1500 to help residents and neighborhood groups and community organizations make those minor repairs," said Sheehan. "Think about ways that they can transform vacant spaces on their blocks, and really look at how they can build a sense of pride and community literally, you know, block by block lot by lot."
Speaking Thursday, Sheehan says the program targets historically underserved neighborhoods including North Albany, Arbor Hill, West Hill and the South End. Applications are being accepted online through May 23rd. Paper copies are available at public library branches.
Albany Neighborhood Stabilization Coordinator Sam Wells: "Obviously, $500 to $1,500 isn't a lot, it's not going to solve for everything, especially with the cost of materials and supplies these days, it's only going to cover so much," Wells said. "And so you know, the front porch and stoops are sort of like a household’s welcome mat to the neighborhood and for the neighborhood. And so, you know, going with our theme of bringing neighbors together and bring neighborhoods together, we really want to focus on that aspect. And so we'll be prioritizing those applications. But you know, people are certainly open to apply for other things as well. “
Wells says $20,000 will be distributed this year and again in 2023.
Sheehan invites residents interested in vacant lot activation projects and community cleanups to apply too.
"We hope that it does spur a lot of really creative ideas and opportunities for these neighborhoods, by actually giving people the cash that they need to do those things that maybe they've sat out on the front stoop and talked about. But now we're giving them the opportunity to do it," said Sheehan.