Niagara Falls Neighborhood Evaluation Committee to look into housing market conditions in Falls

Sep. 10—The Levesque Institute at Niagara University has formed a Niagara Falls Neighborhood Evaluation Committee which will kick off its work by looking into housing market conditions in the midtown area of the city.

Organizers say the committee will bring together a wide range of organizations that play key roles in driving positive change in housing and neighborhood redevelopment. The founding committee consists of Niagara Falls Community Development, Niagara Orleans Regional Land Improvement Corp. (NORLIC), Niagara Area Habitat for Humanity, Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC), and Niagara University.

Karen Kwandrans, associate vice president of strategic and external relations at NU, emphasized the significance of the collaboration. "The expertise and diversity within the Niagara Falls Neighborhood Evaluation Committee is a testament to our shared commitment to neighborhood revitalization," she said. "The data collected will be instrumental in the creation of future development initiatives and policies."

Added Gina Beam, executive director of Niagara Area Habitat for Humanity, "None of us can do the work of neighborhood revitalization alone. Through the work of this committee, I believe Niagara Falls will be positioned to see progress made in affordable housing and community building. It starts with this assessment work to stabilize neighborhoods. Niagara Area Habitat for Humanity is committed to building and rehabilitating homes to make them safe and affordable for our neighbors in Niagara Falls."

LaBella Associates has been awarded the contract to provide critical services for the study, which will include data collection using GIS mapping and street-level assessments, analysis, community engagement activities and the establishment of a data management system.

Kevin Forma, director of planning & environmental for the city, said, "The work we are doing, gathering data, will help us to assess the health of our housing stock and assist us in directing resources to help stabilize and revitalize the community in a thoughtful and productive manner. The partnership with Niagara University and others is an open and collaborative effort by all those groups who have a vested interest in the Niagara Falls community."

Matthew Chavez, project manager at Niagara Orleans Regional Land Improvement Corp., said the study will allow NORLIC to focus its efforts on the most critical areas of housing distress in the city.

The assessment was made possible through funding provided by LISC.

"Uplifting communities starts with a comprehensive understanding of where they stand and what they need to move forward, and LISC NY is proud to join the Niagara Falls Evaluation Committee and support this underserved community," said Tyra Johnson Hux, WNY operations director, LISC NY.

For more information about the committee or assessment, contact Karen Kwandrans at 716-286-8559.