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Buffalo will get four more federally funded apartment buildings for the elderly and the disabled under more than $5.4 million in federal grants announced this morning.

The biggest project will be a 35-unit apartment building at 1180-1192 Hertel Ave. The $2.66 million project also will receive federal rental subsidies totaling $556,000 over the next five years.

That building, to be built by People Inc., will house low-income senior citizens and those with hearing, vision or mobility impairments, said Rep. John J. LaFalce, the Town of Tonawanda Democrat who announced the grants. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the grant to People Inc. under HUD's Section 202 program, which funds housing for the elderly.

Also under that program, a 15-unit building for the elderly will be built at 158 Chenango St. The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo will build that $1.13 million project, which includes five years of federal rental subsidies worth $229,000.

In addition, HUD awarded a $445,800 grant to the Cantalician Center for Learning to redesign and rent out a group home for the disabled at 665 Hertel Ave. The funding, under the Section 811 program, will fund a six-bedroom house equipped for the developmentally disabled, with common living areas.

The Catholic Diocese received a similar $442,300 grant to redesign and rent out five apartments at 50-60 Kosciuszko St. for tenants with chronic mental illnesses.

"There is a tremendous need for this type of housing in Western New York," LaFalce said. "The elderly and disabled are among the most vulnerable in our society, and it remains vitally important in these days of budget-cutting that we not deprive them of the basic right to decent, affordable housing and support services."

The grants were part of $595.6 million released nationwide to build and rent out 6,006 apartments for the elderly and 1,169 units for the disabled. Under the programs, tenants pay 30 percent of their incomes for rent, and the federal government covers the rest of the rental costs.

New York State will receive $71.8 million to fund 664 apartments for the elderly and 69 units for the disabled. Outside of Buffalo, the only project in Western New York is a $413,100 grant to the Cattaraugus Rehabilitation Center to build a group home for six developmentally disabled persons at 620 W. Sullivan St. in Olean.

"America will not turn its back on older Americans and people with disabilities struggling to get by on very low incomes," said Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo. "Without HUD assistance, many of these Americans simply could not make it."

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