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The Berkshires

Amsterdam looks to improve homes

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Albany/HV: Amsterdam looks to improve homes
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It's a problem that faces many small cities: Decaying properties, some to the point of no return. But as YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, officials in Amsterdam are finding ways to stop the decline in its tracks.

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. – “I'm applying for it because I'm losing my shingles and I need a new roof,” said Marina Taylor.

Like many homeowners, Taylor is struggling.

“I try to keep up with it the best I can but the grant would be a great help,” Taylor said.

That grant, $400,000 from the State Office of Community Renewal, will be used to help homeowners like herself in the Reid Hill neighborhood.

Nick Zabawsky from the Amsterdam Urban Renewal Office, said, “We'll be fixing up between 15 and 18 units of housings.”

“It's an area that hasn't slipped into decline yet and we want to capture the area before more properties become too difficult to remediate,” said Mayor Ann Thane.

Mayor Thane says this is all part of a multi-faceted approach to give the city a face lift. The last neighborhood to get a transformation was here on Division Street.

“When you target a neighborhood with funding you can then ensure that several properties in a very focused area are improved,” said Thane.

The grant provides $25,000 to Section 8 qualified owner occupied homes and $12,500 for owners of rental properties who will be required to fund 50 percent of repair costs.

Zabawsky said, “We're trying to promote home ownership. Generally speaking, neighborhoods with a high percentage of owner occupancy are more stable neighborhoods.”

“It helps beautify the area, helping with people that can't afford to do certain things with grants and funding,” said Taylor.

Taylor hopes she is approved for the money so she can start improving her home, one shingle at a time.

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