The Seneca Nation is getting nearly $1 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help provide safer housing on Seneca territory.
Seneca Nation President Todd Gates said the problem is that there is a lot of worn-out housing on the Cattaraugus and Allegany reservations, whether the rural areas of Cattaraugus or the Allegany section in Salamanca.
The cash comes from a Healthy Homes Production grant, part of more than $12 million nationally to 13 tribes. The Seneca president said the grant will help an existing nation home repair industry and potentially younger members of the nation who are in construction trades training programs.
"The age of the homes and a lot of the older homes, even in rural areas, have lead paint and they have a leaky roof, you develop mold within the interiors," Gates said, "and some of the programs that we're looking at helping with the mold and lead paint issues in our older housing stock."
Gates said there is also a problem with radon.
"It's highly prevalent here in Western New York," Gates said. "I've built all over the country, but back here in Western New York, it seems to be more evidence of radon coming up. It's naturally occurring, but it concentrates in homes where there isn't enough adequate ventilation."
He said the nation is also looking at new housing, both individual homes using a mortgage program and more senior citizen housing apartments.