Buffalo Commons



Climate Solutions are Health Solutions: An Evaluation of PUSH Green's Home Energy Efficiency Program

Colleen Kristich, Becca Bass, Clarke Gocker, Nicholas Rajkovich — Jul 6, 2022

PUSH Green, a program of People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) in Buffalo, New York, addresses housing, health and climate needs all at the same time. PUSH Green links homeowners and renters with low-cost or no cost home energy improvements, which reduce the household’s use of fossil fuels and in turn save money on utility bills. The primary environmental and economic benefits of weatherization programs have been apparent for decades; however, it is only recently that attention has …

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Manufactured Housing: An Affordable Housing Opportunity for Post Industrial Cities

Grace Celik, Erin Engle, Libertad Figuerero, Samuel Gallivan, Nicole Hill, David Kelly, Melanie Monroy, Rakshanda Nagaraj, Brennon Thompson, Angelina White, Joshua Wilcox, Ernest Sternberg, Sydney Alford — May 19, 2020

"This report was prepared by graduate students in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University at Buffalo, as the assignment in "practicum" (sometimes called studio) course required for the Master of Urban Planning degree. Professor Ernest Sternberg was our instructor. "

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Evicted in Buffalo: the High Costs of Involuntary Mobility

Sam Magavern — Mar 4, 2020

Here in Buffalo, People United for Sustainable Housing Buffalo (PUSH Buffalo) has been on the front lines of organizing, advocacy, and neighborhood redevelopment for Buffalo’s tenants. Many of PUSH’s members have been harmed by involuntary mobility, and PUSH staff members such as Aminah Johnson have spent long hours advocating for tenants in Housing Court and helping them find and keep safe, decent, and affordable housing. We undertook this study for PUSH Buffalo to document

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Photobank: Housing and Neighborhoods - Greater East Side Fields of Dreams Block Club - Pt I

Buffalo Commons Photobank — Jan 14, 2020

Guidelines for using photos from the Buffalo Commons Photobank The Buffalo Commons Photobank is an issue-based Photobank for use by our partners and the general public. The purpose of making these photos publicly available is to enhance the work of the social sector in Buffalo-Niagara. We believe that our partners’ work will be more effective when it features high-quality and artistic images for any number of occasions: an event, a fundraiser, a report, etc.

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Photobank: Housing and Neighborhoods - Greater East Side Fields of Dreams Block Club - Pt II

Buffalo Commons Photobank — Jan 14, 2020

Guidelines for using photos from the Buffalo Commons Photobank The Buffalo Commons Photobank is an issue-based Photobank for use by our partners and the general public. The purpose of making these photos publicly available is to enhance the work of the social sector in Buffalo-Niagara. We believe that our partners’ work will be more effective when it features high-quality and artistic images for any number of occasions: an event, a fundraiser, a report, etc.

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Lead Safety: Community Agenda Plank Video

UB Media Studies — Jun 27, 2017

In the spring of 2017, students from Professor Dorothea Braemer's class in the UB Media Studies department collaborated with community organizers to create videos on 4 of the 2017 Community Agenda plank issues.

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Lead Poisoning: Triggers and Thresholds

Adam Hains — Feb 10, 2017

Hains reviews the basic framework of federal and state laws aimed at preventing lead poisoning.  Given the growing body of research that even small amounts of lead cause can decrease cognitive performance and increase behavioral problems, Hains suggests that New York State lower its threshold of concern and supply additional funding, so that more children receive case management services and more units get their lead problems abated.

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Registration and the Re-Empowerment of the Buffalo Housing Court

Joseph Petti — Dec 3, 2009

There's not a single panacea that will cure Buffalo's myriad housing woes.  A 2008 Buffalo News study found that Buffalo had the third highest rate of vacant housing among the 100 largest cities in the country.  One estimate puts the number of vacant houses at over 10,000.  There is no doubt, however, that one extremely important tool in combating the blight and decay that come along with scads of vacant houses is the Buffalo Housing Court.  Problem properties that are in …

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The Black Rock Vacancy Initiative: An Analysis of Results and Obstacles

David Panepinto — Nov 23, 2009

This study focuses on the seventy-seven properties that were targeted by the Black Rock Vacancy Initiative.  First, forty-nine (49) of those properties were successfully resolved through the Initiative, including properties that were either resolved through Housing Court or by the City.  Second, fourteen (14) properties were not resolved through the Initiative at all.  This group includes active Housing Court cases, properties that Housing Court has lost jurisdiction over, and …

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A User's Guide to Bringing a Private Nuisance Action

Ryan Parisi — Nov 20, 2009

The first element of private nuisance is an “interference substantial in nature.”  This leads to the question: what is substantial? Whether interference is substantial depends largely on the facts and circumstances of each individual case.  The determination of substantiality is generally a question of fact for a jury as opposed to a question of law for the judge to decide.  Substantiality, involves a review of the totality of the circumstances based on a balancing of …

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Are YOU Registered? An Analysis of Buffalo's Rental Registry Code

Alexa Rissoff — Nov 19, 2009

Buffalo’s Dwelling Unit Registration code was passed in 2004 and became effective in 2005.  The City of Buffalo had previously enacted a Multiple Dwelling Unit Registration law, which required owners of multiple dwelling units (three or more units) to register their property and obtain a certificate of occupancy, but the City did not have any required registration for single and double residential dwellings.  The purpose of the Rental Registry code is to create a database that …

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Collection of Housing Judgments: Buffalo's Practice Compared to Other Municipalities

Heather DiStefano — Nov 1, 2009

Each year the City of Buffalo files thousands of dollars in housing violation fines as judgments at the Erie County Clerk’s Office.  Unfortunately, much of this money goes uncollected, in part due to the limited steps the City takes to collect outstanding fines.  The problem the City faces in pursuing collections is a lack of resources and judgment proof defendants.

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City of Buffalo vs. ABN Amro Mortgage

Elena Steigman Mar 31, 2009

Overview of submitted court documentation of a case in Buffalo pertaining to vacant properties within the city limits. 

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Buffalo's Demolition Strategy

Sarah Lyons — Jan 1, 2009

Buffalo, New York is one of many U.S. cities that experienced an extreme decline in population since the mid-twentieth century.  Migration out of the city has been crippling, the population declining by nearly 50 percent from 1950 to 2000. Many people left the city for the surrounding suburbs, an area that experienced a 50 percent increase in population over this same period.  Now, Buffalo faces the challenge of an outdated infrastructure that is much too large for its 21st Century …

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Easy Ways to Lower your Utility Bills

Sam Magavern Aug 7, 2008

The average home in Buffalo can expect energy bills of $2,267 per year.  An energy-efficient home in Buffalo will have much lower bills – only $1,451 per year.  That is a savings of $816.  Here are some simple steps you can take to start saving money on your energy bills.

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HUD Homes: How they Can Promote Home Ownership and Reduce House Abandonment

Yumi Choi-Bose — May 1, 2008

For many, the American Dream still means owning a home.  The home ownership rate in the U.S. fell in the fourth quarter of 2007 to its lowest level since the beginning of 2002--this from a record high in the middle of 2004.  What is more alarming, however, is that the home owner vacancy rate went up 2.8 percent.  The bulk of the vacant homes are foreclosed homes.  Among such foreclosed homes are Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homes that have come into …

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Internet Access: An Easy Solution for a Tough Problem

Janette Clarke — May 1, 2008

The city of Buffalo should create and advertise a single website that provides access and links to all public information about Housing Court cases, housing violations and housing permits to promote community involvement and serve as an early warning system for problem properties.

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Preventing Deterioration and Abandonment of Rental Properties in Buffalo

Amy Kaslovsky — May 1, 2008

The City of Buffalo faces a severe abandoned housing crisis.  One component of this immense problem is the abandonment of rental housing due to dilapidated conditions.  Forcing landlords to keep their properties in good repair will help to reduce abandonment of rental housing.  Several mechanisms hold landlords in Buffalo accountable for the poor conditions of their buildings.  The warranty of habitability requires landlords to maintain decent, safe, and sanitary …

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City of Buffalo Contracting Process: Demolition Contracts

Michael McMahon II — Apr 29, 2008

At one time, bidding was centralized in the City of Buffalo (Buffalo).  The centralized bidding was organized under the Department of Urban Renewal.  Interview with James Comerford and Paul Mielcarek of the City of Buffalo Department of Economic Development Permit and Inspection Services (April 17, 2008).  In the late 60s and early 70s the city moved to the current model which was based on the Chicago style of municipal bidding.  The Chicago model broke out the bidding …

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Healing our Houses will Cure Lead Poisoning Epidemic

Daniel Webster — Apr 23, 2008

Two main obstacles hinder efforts to end lead poisoning in Buffalo.  One, lack of knowledge in at-risk populations about causes, symptoms, and prevention, which puts people at greater risk and makes enforcement of current system difficult.  Two, the poor condition of our houses makes repairs unaffordable to homeowners and discourages outside investment.

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The Third Party Transfer Program: A Tool Buffalo Can Use to Reduce Property Abandonment

Douglas Michaels — Apr 22, 2008

Buffalo needs an effective program to quickly fight abandonment.  In the past twenty years, Buffalo’s tax-foreclosure abandonment rate has increased.  If the City does not sell these abandoned properties or at it’s an annual In-rem auction, then it generally takes title to them, selling a small number and putting the rest on the City’s long demolition list.  This leaves the City to maintain many unsold dilapidated properties that drain City resources and …

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Existing and Potential Remedies for Illegal Flipping in Buffalo, New York

Scott Mancuso — Apr 15, 2008

The City of Buffalo should amend the documents used at the annual In Rem foreclosure auction to require more information from bidders and purchasers under penalty of perjury, thereby making it easier to detect, deter, and punish parties interested in purchasing properties to illegally flip them.  There are already more abandoned houses in the City of Buffalo than it can even keep track of.  These houses lower property values of surrounding homes in already distressed neighborhoods and …

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An Integrated Approach to Fighting Blight and Poverty in Buffalo's Low-Income Neighborhoods

Partnership for the Public Good — Dec 31, 2007

Recently released Census data confirms the City of Buffalo is now among the very poorest and most blighted large cities in the United States.  The report pegs Buffalo’s poverty rate at 29.9%, ranking second behind only Detroit.  This news was released within days of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s announcement of his “5 in 5” Demolition Plan.  This plan sets a goal of demolishing 5,000 houses in five years, on the road to stabilizing Buffalo’s vacancy …

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Blueprint Buffalo

Joseph Schilling, Lisa Schamess, Jonathan Logan — Dec 31, 2007

Regional strategies and local tools for reclaiming vacant properties in the city and suburbs of Buffalo.  

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Overview of Municipal Vacant Building Registries

Unknown — Dec 31, 2006

As regions grow and populations migrate outside city centers, many municipalities are being confronted with a rise in vacant properties.  To help combat this increase, some municipalities require the owners of vacant buildings to register their property.  In most cases, the owner must register the property within 30 days of the property becoming vacant or face civil and criminal penalties and/or liens on the property.  Nonetheless, the definition of “vacant,” the fees …

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Solutions for a Better Quality of Life: A Guide to Solving Neighborhood Issues

Center for Urban Studies, UB, Antoine Thompson May 1, 2004

There are several things you must understand in utilizing this document for concerns in your neighborhood.  First, it is meant to be an ever-changing document, reflecting today's problems and remedies.  Services change from time to time, and what worked to solve a problem last year may not work now.  Also, problems are solved differently district by district - the appropriate resource to contact in University Heights may not work in Hamlin Park, and vice-versa.  In order to …

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Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Project

Rolf Pendall, Matthew Drennan, Susan Christopherson Jan 1, 2004

The purpose of the Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Project (Project) is to develop recommendations for the sustainable, economical and productive conservation, development and management of vacant land, buildings and facilities throughout the City of Buffalo.  The Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities report is a product of an effort designed to provide an overview of an array of related subjects and issues deemed important by Project participants.  The results …

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Buffalo Housing Court Act

Lou Jean Fleron, Lois Gray Jul 21, 1978

Excerpt from City Court of Buffalo. 

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