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Originally an arm of Lewis County Opportunities, Inc., the community action agency, Snow Belt Housing Company, Inc. was formally incorporated in 1982 as a separate private, nonprofit organization under the Rural Preservation Program. The purpose of Snow Belt Housing is to provide decent, safe, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income persons within the service area of the County of Lewis.
Snow Belt Housing receives approximately $54,000 a year from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal under the Rural Preservation Program. This amount has remained constant since 1982 when Snow Belt was first incorporated. The Rural Preservation Program (RPP) provides operating funds for nonprofit organizations that perform housing and community renewal activities in designated low-income service areas. Snow Belt's designated service area is the County of Lewis, which has the second lowest income of any county in the state.
Grant funds are awarded to Snow Belt Housing by federal and state sources under a competitive application process. These funds are used to provide low-income county residents with grants and loans for home repair and/or home purchase.
The economic impact of Snow Belt Housing in the local economy is significant. Since its initial start in 1982, Snow Belt Housing has received multiple grant contracts totaling over $19,772,469 that has been issued to local contractors and suppliers for housing rehabilitation activities to assist over 850 scattered households throughout Lewis County.
As the agency receives no County funds, the dollars received by local contractors and suppliers are all generated from outside the county through these funding sources. The economic impact is similar to the impact of tourism dollars, bringing in new money rather than re-circulating existing dollars.