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Homeownership is UB South focus

Millions of dollars are being reinvested in a program aimed at boosting homeownership and stabilizing the neighborhoods around the University at Buffalo South Campus.

Funding for UB's Home Loan Guaranty Program has been increased to $5 million by the University at Buffalo Foundation to encourage more UB employees to buy homes around the South Campus, the university announced Thursday.

Eligible employees -- faculty or staff -- can finance a loan for up to 120 percent of the purchase price of a house in the designated area, including renovations and closing costs.

The university foundation guarantees the loan, should the borrower fail to meet terms of the mortgage.

No down payment or private mortgage insurance is required.

"They can either save more money," said Vincent D. Clark, UB's director of community relations, "or buy more house for their money."

In return, Clark said, more homeowners help stabilize the neighborhoods, a benefit to both the residents and UB.

The designated area includes all or portions of 56 streets around the South Campus, which are bounded by Kenmore Avenue to the north; down Bailey Avenue, across Winspear Avenue and along Eggert Road to the east; East Amherst Street and Hewitt and Westminster avenues to the south; then Main Street and the railroad right of way to the west.

Nearly 400 UB employees already live within the designated area, Clark said.

The program was started in 2003 with $1.5 million in funds from the foundation. Since then, 16 employees have taken advantage of the program, Clark said.

Now, UB is moving ahead with a second phase of the loan program with a renewed emphasis on bolstering the neighborhoods surrounding the South Campus.

e-mail: jrey@buffnews.com

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