During a stop in Niagara Falls, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer pledged Monday to fight a plan that could cut off vital funding for the city.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development wants to make it harder for cities with under 50,000 residents to qualify for "Community Development Block Grants." The population of Niagara Falls just slipped below the threshold by about 300 people.
"They (Niagara Falls) have to compete with all other locations below 50,000 for a shrinking pot of money. Chances of them getting it are smaller," Schumer said.
"They couldn't plan for the future. They might get it one year. And not get it another year."
Mayor Paul Dyster says Community Development Block Grants are one of the greatest tools Niagara Falls has for neighborhood revitalization. Dyster says the city leverages its $2 million grant from HUD many times over.
"They are funds that we use for some of the most creative and important projects that we do," Dyster said.
"Whether we're talking about demolition of blighted structures in neighborhoods where arson and criminal elements are taking over vacant buildings. Whether we're talking about rehabilitation of structures that can be adaptively reused. Job training programs. Programs to keep our youth out of trouble."
"As a senior member of the Banking Committee, Schumer says he has a lot of say over CDBG and he's going to "make sure HUD doesn't change the eligibility requirements."