Hamlin Park Initiative Comes to a Successful Conclusion

September 20, 2019

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BUFFALO - Canisius College announces the successful conclusion of its Hamlin Park Initiative, started nearly a decade ago to help solidify the residential neighborhoods surrounding the campus. The college recently completed renovations on the final house earmarked for the Initiative (41 Hughes), which is now for sale.

Created by Canisius President John J. Hurley in 2010, the Hamlin Park Initiative is a housing program designed to return college-owned homes in the Hamlin Park neighborhood to owner-occupiers.  The college originally dedicated eight houses, acquired years ago for student residences, but later added two additional college homes to the project.  When sold, most of the property deeds included a restrictive agreement to insure that the properties remain owner-occupied for at least 15 years.

Canisius funded the cost of the restorations on the houses that were completed prior to sale.  The college invested a total of $500,000 in renovations.  

“The Hamlin Park Initiative was undertaken to express the college’s commitment to the neighborhood we have called home for more than 100 years,” said Hurley.  “In most of the cases, we were able to return beautifully renovated homes to owner-occupiers and have made a visible, positive change in the streets surrounding the college.

“It was not enough that we simply sold these properties, as we feared that they would be acquired by investor landlords who may not be as committed to the vitality of the neighborhood,” Hurley continued. “We wanted to make sure that our houses improved the street and helped to serve as a catalyst for other investments on the street.  This is certainly the case on Glendale Avenue, where gardens are flowering and renovations on other properties have been undertaken.”

The college partnered with Belmont Housing Resources for Western New York on three of the renovations on Glendale and Humboldt Parkway.  Alex ’13 and Will ’13 Severyn of Ambitious Enterprises Inc. managed the renovation of 41 Hughes. The college’s Facilities Team handled smaller renovations on other properties and a few were able to be sold as is.  In addition to the 10 houses included in the Hamlin Park Initiative, the college also donated two houses with adjacent lots on Glendale and Eastwood to Habitat for Humanity.  The college’s Habitat chapter participated in the renovations of both houses, which are now owned by Habitat families. 

The Hamlin Park Initiative and the Habitat partnership are two Canisius initiatives aimed at the promotion of homeownership in Hamlin Park and Buffalo.  The college also spearheaded the first Employer Assisted Housing (EAH) program in the community in 2002.  The EAH program enables eligible, full-time Canisius employees to purchase homes in the city of Buffalo.  Employees receive grants in the form of forgivable loans to assist with down payments or closing costs associated with the purchase of homes in eligible neighborhoods.  Loans are forgiven over five years assuming that the employee remains with the college and lives in the home.

To date, 49 Canisius employees have purchased homes in Buffalo through the EAH program.  The value of the properties purchased through the program is $7,768,672, and the value of the program’s loans is $270,250. 

For more information, contact the Office of College Communications at 716-888-2790.

One of 27 Jesuit universities in the nation, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York.  Canisius celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary during the 2019-20 academic year, marking 150 years of Jesuit education and leadership in the city of Buffalo and Western New York.  

Visit www.canisius.edu/150 for more information about Canisius’ milestones and celebratory events.