Buffalo Commons



Housing Discrimination Complaint Data in the Buffalo Region

Sarah Wooton, Steven Haagsma — May 12, 2022

This fact sheet is a snapshot of housing discrimination complaints reported to HOME between 2003 and 2020 in Erie and Niagara counties, with a focus on the City of Buffalo.

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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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Assessment Challenge 1 NYS Tax Form rp524


This is one of three resources that are available for people to formally challenge their assessment.  This is the official NYS form. Homeowners have the month of December to file.    

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Assessment Challenge 2 NYS Tax Form Pub 1114


This is one of three resources that are available for people to formally challenge their assessment.  This is the official NYS form. Homeowners have the month of December to file.    

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Assessment Challenge 3 Formal Challenge Form Guide

UB Law School Community Justice Clinic — Dec 11, 2019

This is one of three resources that are available for people to formally challenge their assessment.  This is the official NYS form. Homeowners have the month of December to file.    

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Erasing Red Lines: Part 2 - Systems Thinking for Social and Community Change

Russell Weaver — Oct 29, 2019

What, if anything, can be done to push back against persistently uneven geographies of opportunity in Buffalo and other post-industrial, shrinking cities? And why the focus on systems science and its technical jargon? A response to both of these questions is that vicious cycles and ways out of them cannot be fully apprehended without thinking about the systems in which they are produced—and systems thinking is rarely the default toolbox that policymakers and community change organizations …

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Erasing Red Lines: Part 1 - Geographies of Discrimination

Russell Weaver — Aug 28, 2019

Since at least the 1930s, the City of Buffalo, New York has been spatially and socially divided. While certain mixed use and residential communities across the map have shown remarkable resilience—and thrived—during the City’s history of deindustrialization and population loss, many communities of color on Buffalo’s East and West Sides have experienced persistent and increasing levels of distress. This series of brief reports examines those patterns and engages with …

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Community Land Trust Network Models

Teresa Watson — Jul 26, 2019

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FB Community Land Trust Fact Sheet

Sidney Malia Waite — Jul 19, 2019

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Rental Housing Costs in Buffalo

Sarah Wooton — Oct 15, 2018

With the renewed popularity of urban living, along with substantial public and private investment in the city, the value of property throughout Buffalo is on the rise. Certain neighborhoods, including Downtown, Allentown, Hertel/Parkside and areas on the West and East sides, are becoming hot markets – with many homes worth double or triple what owners paid for them. As property values rise in cities, rents do too.

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Why Buffalo Needs Inclusionary Zoning; Affordability, Workforce Development, Inclusion, and Quality Housing

Sarah Wooton, Sam Magavern — Jun 2, 2017

Buffalo’s housing market faces four severe challenges: affordability, job access, inclusiveness, and quality.  Inclusionary zoning is a proven tool for addressing all four issues.  Inclusionary zoning asks that when a developer creates new housing units, it reserve a certain percent for affordable housing.  Thus, inclusionary zoning leverages the power of the market to create more high-quality affordable housing units, often near job centers and transit lines, and to make …

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Inclusionary Zoning: Creating Equity and Lasting Affordability in the City of Buffalo, New York

Buffalo Inclusionary Housing Coalition, Skye Hart, Victoria Neenan — Oct 12, 2016

The City of Buffalo is experiencing fast-rising rents and housing prices in the midst of severe and growing poverty.  New housing is being built, with generous subsidies from the taxpayers, but most of it is luxury or market-rate apartments and condominiums.   Far from aiding the affordability crisis, this new development is worsening it, particularly in neighborhood such as downtown, the West Side and Fruit Belt, where gentrification is underway and displacement of lower income …

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Buffalo's Proposed Unified Development Ordinance

Jessie Fisher — Mar 1, 2016

For the first time since 1954, the City of Buffalo New York is undertaking a comprehensive review and complete overhaul of its zoning code, the result of which has been popularly dubbed “the Green Code.”  The City, particularly Mayor Brown and the leadership and staff at the Office of Strategic Planning are to be commended for undertaking this important task.  While there are many positive aspects of this effort, some changes are needed in order to ensure that the final …

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Rebuilding our Neighborhoods: Improving New York State Housing Policy to Better Meet Upstate Needs

Sam Magavern, Aaron Bartley, Daniel Kelly, Anthony Armstrong — Aug 1, 2013

New York faces a wide variety of housing challenges.  While in the New York City region, where the population is growing, availability and affordability are the most pressing concerns, upstate regions have a different set of problems stemming from population loss, housing vacancy, abandonment, and deterioration.  To address the full range of issues, state housing policy needs a variety of tools in its tool box.  This policy brief discusses four ways that state housing policy can …

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City of Buffalo 2009-2010 Action Plan

Sam Magavern — Jul 16, 2009

I am writing on behalf of the Partnership for the Public Good (PPG) to comment on the City of Buffalo’s 09-10 Action Plan.  PPG’s mission is to help build a more just, sustainable, and culturally vibrant community through action-oriented research, policy development, and citizen engagement.  Our 2009 Community Agenda has been endorsed by over 50 organizations, including Belmont Shelter, Buffalo Urban League, Catholic Charities, Community Action, Habitat for Humanity …

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Community Development Block Grants and Buffalo

Amy Kaslovsky — Nov 16, 2008

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program is a federal program run by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  CDBG grants are provided to state and local governments for the purpose of addressing community needs such as affordable housing, job creation, and retention and expansion of business activity.  Grants are available for projects lasting from one to three years.  Seventy percent of the funding must be used for the benefit of low and …

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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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Marketing City-Owned Properties

Corey Rossi — Apr 30, 2008

An effective housing strategy must incorporate efficient disposition of city-owned property.  A successful disposition program should include a marketing campaign that facilitates the transfer of city-owned property to productive use.  Last year, the City of Buffalo initiated a marketing program that assisted in the sale of 125 homes.  A major component of this marketing program was a catalog of City-owned homes.  The City distributed the catalog to local nonprofits, …

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City of Buffalo 2008-2009 Budgets and Four Year Plans

Sam Magavern — Mar 7, 2008

I am writing on behalf of the Partnership for the Public Good (PPG) to comment on the City of Buffalo’s 08-09 Action Plan Recommendation.  PPG is a new collaboration promoting a revitalized, sustainable Buffalo through research and advocacy.  Our 2008 Platform has been endorsed by over 30 organizations, including Belmont Shelter, Catholic Charities, Community Action, Cornell University ILR School, PUSH Buffalo, the Homeless Alliance of Western New York, and the Center for Urban …

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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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Housing Service Agency Structural Definition Report

Kelly Patterson, Robert Silverman — Nov 1, 2005

The Housing Service Agency Structural Definition Report was initiated in response to this emerging crisis.  The purpose of the report was to examine strategies used by other weak market cities to address this crisis, and develop a set of recommendations for establishing funding priorities for community-based housing organizations (CBHO) in the City of Buffalo.

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