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Lives Transformed: Rebuilding a Community One House at a Time

While many cities in America struggle to increase the supply of affordable housing, Buffalo NY faces an issue of quality of affordable housing not the quantity of it. The affordability of housing in Buffalo places homeownership well within the reach of many people who would otherwise never be able to translate the dream of homeownership into reality. The marriage of the social mission of Bethel AME Church and HUD�s HOME program made the dream of one Buffalo grandmother come true.

Mrs. Georgia Feaster is a grandmother caring for her twin grandsons. She started dreaming when Bethel AME formed the Bethel Community Development Corporation (CDC) (http://www.bethelamechurch.org/pages/organizations.html) a non-profit, 501(c) 3 organization. The CDC�s mission is to provide its community with the means to address housing, economic development, social service and educational needs of the residents of its neighborhood. The area has an abundance of abandoned buildings and homes and a lot of vacant land. In 2004, the Bethel CDC became a Community Housing Development Organization (CHODO) for the City of Buffalo and was awarded over $1 million in HOME funds for the construction of 14 new homes (Phase I in their plan). The CDC attributes a large share of its success in accessing funds both from HUD and other sources to HUD�s Faith-Based Grant Writing Training Program (FBCI). The CDC�s Phase II began in 2005 with $1.16 million in HOME funds used to construct 20 new homes in the economically distressed community it serves. Mrs. Feaster bought one of those homes.

�Our new home is a dream come true,� she said. �The boys have their own rooms. They love the new house and are helping decorate it. We all feel so much safer in this beautiful new house. And none of this would have been possible without the Bethel CDC. They helped me believe I could own a home. They helped me through the confusing process. They have stood by me now that I own the home. This wouldn�t have been possible without them.�

Bethel CDC is rebuilding its community one house at a time. It is building lives one family at a time.

Content Archived: March 07, 2011

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