History of ACCORD Corporation

ACCORD Corporation originated in 1972 as Housing Action Corporation, when a group of concerned citizens saw a need to improve the housing conditions of low and moderate income individuals and families in Allegany County. Together they formed a corporation, under Section 402 of the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law, which would address that need. The Certificate of Incorporation was filed with the Department of State on February 9, 1972.

Section 8 HUD Rental Assistance

ACCORD has administered the Section 8 HUD Rental Assistance Program in Allegany County since 1982. With funding from the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the program provides monthly subsidies directly to landlords. If eligible, some tenants may receive utility reimbursements. Currently, ACCORD maintains an allocation of 194 Section 8 Vouchers, known as Housing Choice Vouchers.

Genesee Valley Improvement Corporation

In 1985, Genesee Valley Improvement Corporation (GVIC), a 501 (c) 2 title-holding subsidiary of ACCORD, was created to act as a vehicle for holding and developing housing and community/commercial facilities throughout Allegany County. GVIC contracts with ACCORD to manage its housing and community based facilities, which are targeted to the elderly, handicap, and disadvantaged individuals and families residing in Allegany County. Currently, GVIC manages 22 apartments and 12 commercial facilities throughout the county.

Name Change

The history of ACCORD Corporation can be traced through the amendments made to its original Certificate of Incorporation. In 1985, steps were initiated with the Department of State for designation as the Community Action Agency for Allegany County. A needs survey was performed, Allegany County Legislative support was established, and the Certificate of Incorporation was amended to change the purposes of the corporation to encompass a broader range of services as indicated through the survey results. This amendment was filed with the Department of State on December 1, 1986. On January 23, 1987, ACCORD's Board of Directors adopted a resolution to amend the Certificate of Incorporation to change its name to Allegany County Community Opportunities and Rural Development (ACCORD) Corporation, to reflect its broadened purposes as a newly designated Community Action Agency. The name change amendment was filed with the Department of State on April 6, 1987.

Domestic Violence Services

ACCORD Corporation collaborated with the Office of Children and Family Services and the Family Violence Task Force in 1987 to implement a domestic violence prevention program. ACCORD's domestic violence services division worked to develop an emergency residential shelter and a 24-hour hotline. A Family Offense Petition Program was created to assist domestic violence victims with Orders of Protection and to provide referrals for victims experiencing family and criminal court issues. These services have since expanded to provide family development services including support, education, and respite care. ACCORD's domestic violence program has served over 5,250 adult and victims of domestic violence since 1987.

Head Start

In 1991, ACCORD Corporation received funding to open its first Head Start center in Cuba. Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive child development programs which serve children, pregnant women, and their families. The Family Day Care Partnership Program is a Head Start Program option, providing child development services to children in a day care setting. Since the first Head Start center was established, the program has grown to be ACCORD's single largest fiscal program with 204 children currently enrolled. Head Start and Early Head Start Programs bring 2.5 million dollars back into Allegany County. More than 1,185 Allegany County children have graduated from the Head Start Program since its inception.

Home Improvement and Rehabilitation Programs

ACCORD's Housing and Facilities Management Services Division administers home improvement and rehabilitation programs, which are funded by a variety of sources. Since 1994, the Housing and Facilities Management Team has successfully renovated 180 homes up to HUD Housing Quality Standards, totaling $2,336,596 in funding. The team has assisted 450 homeowners since 1990 with correcting code, safety, and health violations. These programs have provided $1,500,000 in funding to 110 homeowners to improve their housing units.

Child Care Resource and Referral

In 1994, ACCORD began providing funding for day care training and family day care programs through the Child Care Resource and Referral Program, funded by the NYS Department of Social Services. Today, this division provides referrals for parents seeking child care, training, and reimbursement for 14,663 meals per month for 280 children per day. The program serves over 2,000 participants annually.

Friendship Empire Zone

In 1994, ACCORD Corporation, in partnership with Allegany County, the Town of Friendship, and the Village of Cuba, submitted an application to the Empire State Development Corporation for designation as an Empire Zone. As one of the 85 zones throughout the State, this valuable economic development tool provides tax and wage incentives to established and new local businesses located within the Zone. The program has since created 429 jobs and stimulated more than 126 million dollars in investment capital. The Empire Zone Program sunset in June 2010.

Teen Age Services Act

In 1996, the Teen Age Services Act (TASA) Program was initiated, providing intensive case management services to youth ages 10 to 21. The Youth Services Division of ACCORD also administers the Choices Program?, which subcontracts services for youth who are pregnant, parenting, or are at risk of pregnancy. The division also manages the Advantage After School Program and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, offering educational enhancement and a mentoring program for children in grades K - 12. The Youth Division? has served nearly 3,000 youth since its inception.

Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP)

In 1997, ACCORD's Business and Community Development Services Division became certified by the Empire State Development as an EAP Center. Business classes and community-wide seminars are held to teach the key components of small business development and to provide start-up information and support services for small businesses. The EAP also provides technical assistance to existing businesses that are in need. or that are at risk of closing. Since its inception, EAP helped to create 160 needed businesses in the area, and to create more than 220 jobs.

Wheels to Work

In 2000, the Wheels to Work Program was created to assist TANF eligible households with the purchase of a vehicle essential for transportation to the workplace. This program has assisted over 66 households, administering almost $200,000 in loans.

Allegany Community Development Services, Inc.

In 2000, ACCORD created an affiliate organization, Allegany Community Development Services, Inc. (ACDSI). ACDSI is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) developed by the U.S. Department of Treasury. The goal of this corporation is to create direct lending capacity in order to provide credit to underserved segments of Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties.

Allegany Business Center

The Allegany Business Center was also created in 2000 to assist new and existing business owners with business specific training, to provide Doing Business As (DBA) forms and NYS compliance resource materials, and to provide technical assistance to business in need.

21st Century Community Learning Centers

In 2003, 21st Century Community Learning Centers were created, with funding from the NYS Department of Education to serve middle and high school students in grades 5 - 12 at a school-based center located in the Bolivar-Richburg School District. This program offers academic support, social enrichment, and youth development opportunities according to the school calendar and during the month of July to support community recreation and school district summer school programs. In 2008, ACCORD received a 5-year 4.07 million dollar grant to expand the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program to include the Belfast, Canaseraga, Whitesville, and Scio School Districts, and the Immaculate Conception School in Wellsville to serve 866 students per year. This program has enrolled nearly 2,082 students since its inception.

Advantage After School Program

In 2004, the Advantage After School Program was created, with funding from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services to provide after school activities for students ages 5 - 12, and leadership development opportunities for students ages 13 - 21. Since its inception, this program has enrolled nearly 500 students.

Community Action Angel Program

In 2004, ACCORD adopted the Community Action Angels volunteer coordination program founded on the premise of the "Circle of Giving". Those in need receive immediate assistance to alleviate a crisis and are encouraged to give back by helping others in return when their situation stabilizes. Since its inception, this program has assisted 1,100 individuals and families, and a total of 900 hours of volunteer time has been donated to the agency by community volunteers.

Special Education Itinerant Teacher

In 2007, ACCORD received funding to support a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT), an experienced special education teacher who collaborates with the Head Start Program to provide individualized education to children ages 3 - 5 having difficulties or delays in learning. Since the implementation of this position, 10 children have received and benefited from this individualized service.

ACCESS Centers

In 2009, ACCORD Corporation received funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to create jobs, restore economic growth, and strengthen America's middle class by enhancing opportunities and services. ACCORD Corporation opened four ACCESS Centers, strategically located throughout Allegany County, to provide an easily accessible avenue to services for community members. These centers, located in Belfast?, Belmont, Bolivar and Wellsville?, offer a variety of services from convenient locations. Local human service agencies have partnered with ACCORD, offering their services at these centers in addition to those administered by ACCORD, thus broadening the range of available services to the community in one location.