New York State Attorney General Letitia James visited Rochester on Saturday to announce a new program concerning affordable housing.

  • N.Y.S attorney general Letitia James announces the Mission-Based Affordable Housing Partnership
  • Program grants up to $1.4 million to mission-based organizations looking to develop land into affordable housing
  • Deadline to apply is June 28th, and will be awarded mid-July

F.I.G.H.T Village has been a champion of affordable housing in Rochester since the 60s, co-founded by Minister Clifford Florence’s father, and stands for Freedom, Independence, God, Honor, Today.

“We’re standing on a place that’s rich in history in fighting the fight. Minister Florence Sr., [for example], played an intricate role in this community to fight for the rights of those who are disadvantaged and poor,” Minister Florence said.

James gathered there with local political and faith leaders to speak, for the first time, about the Mission-Based Affordable Housing Partnership.

“We continue to feel and see the effects of the housing crisis each and every day," James said. "New Yorkers need real and permanent solutions that allow them to have the stable and economical housing they deserve.”

The program will award up to $1.4 million to faith-based or nonprofit civic institutions in Monroe and Erie counties, as well as Central New York and the Capital Region, who are seeking to develop property into affordable housing.

“Mission-based institutions have a history. They basically get it done when it comes to affordable housing," James said. "I’ve witnessed it all throughout New York, and it’s consistent with their mission.”

The program will also help pair those institutions with trustworthy developers, and help guide them through what can be a long and complicated process.

“These institutions are sitting on very valuable land, which is underutilized land that’s prime for development," James said. "And they often face obstacles due to the complexity of identifying projects that are beneficial for the organization and community, on top of complying with all legal requirements.”

Specifically in Rochester, Mayor Lovely Warren says the potential impact of this program could be seen in the Upper Falls and West-Side of the city.

“This is an opportunity to really mirror the people most in need with those people who have the opportunity to deliver the projects and the affordable and quality housing for them, which is something we truly, truly, want in our community,” Warren said.

And with the news of the promising partnership, F.I.G.H.T hopes others can join them in championing for the impoverished.

“We’re fighting with racism, we’re fighting with the lack of jobs, affordable housing, education," Florence said. "So the issues are the same as they were 50 years ago, but we have to have the will to do what it takes to change it.”

Applications will be available via the attorney general's website on Monday, due June 28, and awarded mid-July.