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Recently, my wife and I became first-time homeowners. Like a growing number of young professionals, we purchased a home on Buffalo's West Side. In doing so, we were fortunate to be the first to take advantage of the West Side Initiative, a program established jointly by the city and West Side Neighborhood Housing Services.

The West Side Initiative works by buying down one point, or one-quarter percent of interest, on a mortgage that designates at least $5,000 to rehabilitating property located in the target area. In our case, the program saves us $80 per month over the life of our 30-year mortgage.

This program was exactly what we needed. It enabled us to buy a home in the Elmwood Village area, renovate it and actually save money. What made the program even more tempting was the ease of the application process. Perhaps best of all, the program is not limited to low-income buyers, so it truly encourages people of all economic levels to invest in the city.

I encourage the mayor and the Common Council to continue to make programs like the West Side Initiative available. It's measures like these that help Buffalo remain a diverse and enjoyable place to call home.


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