It's mayor Joe Schember's first months in office and his first time at choosing which agencies receive grant money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  There's only so much money to go around. $2.7 million from the Community Development Block Grant Program.  $641,000 from the HOME program, and $252,000 in Emergency Solutions Grants.  Schember knew where he wanted the money to go.

"I want to help our most needed in the community.  I want to transform our worst neighborhoods. That's where the money should go," he said.

The heads of several agencies gathered at Erie City Hall to hear if they would receive a share of this year's grant money. Gary Horton's agency, the Quality of Life Learning Center, serves new Americans who came to Erie from various countries around the world. It hasn't been chosen for grant money since 2005. Schember is giving it $35,000.

"A new mayor has come and has planted a seed of hope in the native run organizations, the community based organizations," Horton said.

Eliminating blight is very important to the mayor.   When a new group called Our West Bayfront told him it wants to renovate a blighted home into two apartments, Schember came through with a quarter million dollars.  Executive Director Anna Frantz was thrilled.

"This was our first application for HOME funds.  We don't think that we can make this project work without the HOME funds," she said.

Grant money was given to the city's community center's, and to a project to re-pave a mini-mall parking lot on West 4th Street.  Money was also allocated to buy new playground equipment. Not everyone was happy.  Scott Henry, Executive Director of the Erie Redevelopment Authority, wanted $75,000 for housing rehab.  He got $50,000.

"My plan will be to have some additional discussions with the administration.  I need to understand what their thoughts are.  But, we certainly want to cooperate with them," he said.

Erie County will be receiving $1 million from the state to fight blight, and the city hopes to get half of that money. So, some groups that were disappointed today, may be satisfied later this year.