The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation today announced “It Pays To Live Downtown Day” part of an outreach campaign encouraging existing and new downtown residents to take advantage of LMDC’s Residential Grant Program. Beginning at 9:30am this Saturday in Seward Park in Chinatown, hundreds of volunteers will gather to pick up materials, giveaways from local businesses, and listen to live music from Chinatown based band Kokolo before visiting every residential building in Lower Manhattan. The volunteers, grouped into teams of two or four, will canvas the downtown area handing out posters and flyers advertising the Residential Grant Program and the upcoming May 31, 2003 application deadline. The day will conclude at the World Financial Center Marina at 4:00pm. The ongoing outreach campaign has also featured city-wide “It Pays to Live Downtown” advertisements placed in local papers, subways, bus stops and phone booths throughout February and March. Additionally, LMDC mobile application teams have visited all residential buildings in Lower Manhattan where many residents had not applied for grants. “It Pays to Live Downtown Day” will look to reach any remaining residents who have not already visited the local Residential Grant Program Offices in Chinatown and Tribeca, or been visited by the LMDC’s mobile application teams. New York State Governor George E. Pataki said, "As we continue to stand with our neighbors in Lower Manhattan through the rebuilding effort, we must ensure that this community remains an attractive place to live and raise a family. The Residential Grant Program helps ensure that the residential community is the foundation upon which the future of Lower Manhattan will be built.” New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg said, "On Saturday, 'It Pays to Live Downtown Day,' the LMDC will canvas the entire area to let residents in Lower Manhattan know about the benefits available to them. We've had marvelous success stabilizing the residential community in Lower Manhattan through the LMDC's residential grant program and we want to make sure it continues. I would like to thank HUD, the Governor and the Board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for working together to provide residents with an incentive to remain downtown and continue to be a part of Lower Manhattan's bright future." Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Chairman, John C. Whitehead said, "The LMDC staff has worked hard to get out the good news of the Residential Grant Program and are making a very special effort this Saturday by putting up posters, handing out flyers and visiting every residential building in Lower Manhattan to make sure new and current residents know that grant money is available for them and to apply by the May 31st deadline." Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Interim President Kevin M. Rampe said, “The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is committed to downtown residents. As the rebuilding process goes forward, a thriving community base will be the cornerstone of Lower Manhattan’s revitalization. We encourage every Lower Manhattan resident to take advantage of the grant program and Saturday’s event is a great opportunity to reach those people who have not already applied.” In addition to the volunteers recruited by Merrill Lynch, New York Cares, and other groups; many local and community businesses are also participating, including, the Asian American Business Development Center, the Lower East Side Business Improvement District, the Alliance for Downtown New York, Inc., the MTA, the Museum of American Financial History, Verizon, the Millennium Hotel, the New York Times Company, Maiden Heaven Gourmet, Variety Café, Cookie Island, Evelyn’s Chocolates, Samantha’s Fine Foods, Sweet Lily, and 85 West Cocktail Bar. Additionally, upon arrival at Seward Park, volunteers will see a live performance by Chinatown based band KoKolo. The LMDC Residential Grant Program was created and administered by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to provide assistance to residents who lived in certain downtown areas during the September 11 attacks. The program also provides financial incentives to new residents willing to make a two-year commitment to live in lower Manhattan. The plan establishes three zones of eligibility. Depending on proximity to ground zero, owners and renters may apply for three types of grants: the September 11, 2001 Residents Grant, the Family Grant, and the Two-Year Commitment-Based Grant. The September 11, 2001 Residents Grant is a one time $1,000 grant available to each housing unit whose residents lived in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, and continue to be on-going residents in any of the three zones. The Family Grant, a one time grant of $1,500 or $750 depending on location, is available to housing units with children under the age of 18 that make a one-year commitment to living in lower Manhattan. The Two-Year Commitment-Based Grant is available to residents, per apartment, that make at least a two-year commitment to living in lower Manhattan. Under the program guidelines, Zone 1 is eligible for 30% of the monthly rent (or mortgage payments, plus maintenance costs and real estate and related taxes for owner occupied units), up to $12,000 over two years. And Zone 2 is eligible for 30% of the monthly rent (or mortgage payments, plus maintenance costs and real estate and related taxes for owner-occupied units), up to $6,000 over two years The $306 million dollars allocated for the program is part of a $2 billion grant from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Program. To date, the Residential Grant Program has approved over $150,000,000 in grants to over 27,000 applicants. Additionally, the program has successfully attracted new residents to the downtown area -more than 56% of approved applicants in Zone 1 have identified themselves as new residents.