Buffalo Commons



Engaging the Future of Housing in the Buffalo-Niagara Region: A Preliminary Exploration of Challenges that Lie Ahead

Russell Weaver, Jason C. Knight — Oct 12, 2021

The following analyses and assessments of current socioeconomic and housing market conditions in Erie and Niagara counties are intended to support immediate programming efforts by Local Initiatives Support Corporation Western New York (LISC).

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Building a Safer Buffalo: Invest in Communities, Divest from Police

Colleen Kristich — May 6, 2021

Across the country, advocates are calling to cut police budgets in response to widespread misconduct made visible by videos of police killing unarmed civilians, disproportionately Black Americans, Indigenous people and people of color. Many attempts at police reform have failed to meaningfully change the harmful culture and practices of policing, and even with outsized public investment in law enforcement, public safety problems persist. Concerned residents and advocates call for reallocating …

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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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Racial Disparities and Homelessness in Western New York

Homeless Alliance of Western New York — Oct 12, 2018

In this data analysis, Western New York is defined as Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans County because these are areas the Homeless Alliance of WNY coordinate services with and administer the data for. The Homeless Alliance of Western New York analyzed racial disparities among homelessness within Western New York and examined the homeless system’s equity serving different racial/ethnic groups in terms of receiving those services, prioritizing those services, and housing success …

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Voices for 2020: Ending Family Homelessness Summary Report

Homeless Alliance of Western New York, Diane Bessell — Oct 12, 2018

Voices for 2020 was undertaken at the request of the Homeless Alliance of Western New York with the expressed goal of developing a clearer picture of the physical, psychological, social, and resource needs of homeless families living in Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties. The project was developed in direct response to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness’s call to develop coordinated community responses to end homelessness among families with children …

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Voices for 2020: Strategies to Address Family Homelessness in WNY

Homeless Alliance of Western New York, Diane Bessell — Oct 12, 2018

Ending family homelessness will require a wide variety of community-based strategies to ensure that every member of each family experiencing homelessness is offered the services and supports they need to thrive. Following engagement with homeless families and health and human service providers; a review of the research literature and best practices in addressing the needs of homeless families; and completion of a local environmental scan, several strategies were identified for local action to …

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Equity Preservation Final Report

Akanksha Chauhan, Melanie Colter, Mengbing Du, Luis Graveley, Jr, Mengyu Guo, Sena Kayasu, Jonathan Ladley, Cole Norgaarden, Claire Meyer, Thomas Pera, Ashley Pryce, Lucas Raley, Zach Small, Jessica Stevenson, Michelle Van Meter, Andrew Varuzzo, Olivia White, Vivian Zou, Joey Jiayun Zou, Jennifer Minner — Oct 25, 2017

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PUSH Buffalo's Green Development Zone: a Model for New Economy Community Development

Sam Magavern, Skye Hart — Jun 29, 2017

2008 marks the year that PUSH Buffalo founded the Green Development Zone in Buffalo’s West Side. Encompassing 25 square blocks, the Green Development Zone (GDZ) is an area that PUSH is making more environmentally and economically sustainable. PUSH stands for People United for Sustainable Housing, and it is a non-profit corporation that uses a unique combination of community organizing, policy advocacy, and neighborhood redevelopment.  

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2016 Annual Report on the State of Homelessness in Western New York

Homeless Alliance of Western New York — May 11, 2017

This report uses the 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) year (10/1/2015- 9/30/2016) as the time frame and is mostly reliant on data from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), known in Buffalo as Buffalo Area Service Network (BAS-Net). This timeframe corresponds to the federal fiscal year, used because many homelessness alleviation providers use funds from the federal government. This time period is also used because the annual Erie and Niagara County homelessness data is …

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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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One Region Forward A New Way To Plan For Buffalo Niagara

University at Buffalo Regional Institute — Jul 20, 2015

This document represents the culmination of three years of research, community engagement, partnership building and planning under the banner of One Region Forward. Within the pages of this plan, you will find the major research findings of what the data tells us about where the region is today and expressions of thousands of citizen voices on the direction people in the region want to see Buffalo Niagara go. Proposed strategies and actions, built by a team of 100+ subject matter experts, are …

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Initiatives for a Stronger Community

Mark Poloncarz — Mar 31, 2015

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Annual Report on the State of Homelessness in Western New York

Li Yin, Kelly Patterson, Robert Silverman Jan 1, 2015

The Homeless Alliance of Western New York is the designated Continuum of Care (CoC) agency for Erie County.  As such, it is responsible for compiling the annual Continuum of Care grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  In July 2013, the Niagara County CoC merged with the Erie County CoC.  On March 30, 2015, the Erie and Niagara Counties CoC merged with the Orleans County CoC, which acquired Wyoming and Genesee Counties prior to merge.  Therefore, …

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Annual Report on the State of Homelessness in Erie-Niagara Metropolitan Area

Erin Hatton Jan 1, 2014

The Homeless Alliance of Western New York is the designated Continuum of Care (CoC) agency for Erie County.  As such, it is responsible for compiling the annual Continuum of Care grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  In July 2013, the Niagara County CoC merged with the Erie County CoC.  By the end of 2013, most providers were officially entering data into HMIS.  This report covers the time period from 10/1/13 to 9/30/14.

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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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Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, Perry Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan

Center for Urban Studies, UB, Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority — Jul 26, 2013

Project Name: Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority - Perry Choice Neighborhood Transformation Project The Perry Choice Neighborhood Planning grant (PCN) produced a plan that transforms the BMHAPCN into a viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhood that functions as a platform which enables residents to become economically secure and self-sufficient, to realize their full potential and to develop the critical consciousness and capacity that empowers them to guide the …

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2013 Annual Report on the State of Homelessness in Erie County

Ramon Garcia Jan 1, 2013

The Homeless Alliance of Western New York is the designated Continuum of Care (CoC) agency for Erie County.  As such, it is responsible for compiling the annual Continuum of Care grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  In July 2013, the Niagara County CoC merged with our CoC.  By the end of 2013, most providers were officially entering data into HMIS.  We will not present Niagara County data in this report.  This report covers the time period …

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Business Development in the Perry Choice Neighborhood

Center for Urban Studies, UB — Jul 26, 2012

This study provides an analysis of the number, composition, and types of businesses found in the Perry Choice Neighborhood. Understanding the dynamics and nature of the businesses the Perry Choice Neighborhood (PCN) is essential to building a vibrant community and forging a transformative plan (Map 1). Understanding the PCN business landscape is critical to formulating an neighborhood economic development strategy that will generate jobs and opportunities for the residents and that will provide …

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Establishment of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority Section 3 Business Development and Employee Training Center: A Concept Paper

Center for Urban Studies, UB — Jul 26, 2012

Project Name: Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority - Perry Choice Neighborhood Transformation Project This concept paper outlines a strategy to use the HUD Section 3 Act to “capture” business development and employment opportunities to empower and produce economic self-sufficiency among public housing residents and other very low- and very-low income groups and to use these resources to transform their neighborhoods into great places to live, work and raise a family.

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2012 Annual Report on the State of Homelessness in Erie County

Open Buffalo, Partnership for the Public Good, PUSH Buffalo, VOICE Buffalo, Coalition for Economic Justice Jan 1, 2012

The Homeless Alliance of Western New York is the designated Continuum of Care (CoC) agency for Erie County that is responsible for compiling the annual Continuum of Care grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  In 2011 this grant awarded $11.2 million in funding for new and renewal projects to homeless agencies throughout Erie County.

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Community Reinvestment Act Advocacy

Bradford Reid — Dec 31, 2011

The Community Reinvestment Act obligates federally insured depository institutions to meet the credit needs of low and moderate income communities in a manner that is commensurate with sound lending practices.  

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PUSH Buffalo's Net Zero House at 10 Winter St.

Kyle Taylor — Oct 30, 2011

PUSH Buffalo acquired the property at 10 Winter Street for $2200 at the City tax foreclosure auction, free and clear of all liens.  The house is a single family home that is approximately 1198 sq. ft., with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a partial basement and a crawl space.  The house was originally built in 1920.  The farm house style is unusual in this neighborhood.  Previous owners never altered the original floor plan and had not made any significant investment in the …

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2010 Buffalo and Erie County Annual Report on Homelessness: A Community Profile

Kristin Cipollone — Jan 1, 2011

This report was prepared by Kristin Cipollone with data supplied by the Homeless Alliance of WNY.  HAWNY and its subsidiaries were responsible for all data collection.  For the purpose of this annual report, all data has been reported based on the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR) year, which is October 1 to September 31.  AHAR is HUD mandated report given to congress every year to report on the status of homelessness.  Kristin Cipollone was tasked with writing up …

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2011 Annual Report on the State of Homelessness in Erie County

Kristin Cipollone Jan 1, 2011

Housing in which homeless persons can access shelter immediately and reside for up to 30 days.  The primary function is to provide immediate housing and assist individuals in identifying causes of homelessness, accessing services and securing the next appropriate level of housing.

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Buffalo's In Rem Foreclosure Auction

Kathleen Feroleto — Dec 3, 2009

The increase in tax foreclosure and property abandonment over the past five years has created an abundance of vacant properties in the City of Buffalo.  In fact, Buffalo has the third highest vacancy problem in the nation, with between 12,000 to 18,000 vacant buildings.  Buffalo trails only Detroit and New Orleans among the 100 largest cities.  Although the subprime mortgage crisis did not hit Buffalo as hard as many other cities, tax foreclosures have risen over the past five …

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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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The Futures Academy Community Garden Project

Center for Urban Studies, UB — Jul 26, 2009

Project Name: Futures Academy Community & Creative Placemaking Initiative This report proposes the creation of the Futures Academy Community Garden in a series of vacant, city-owned parcels across from Buffalo Public School 37.

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The Historical Overview of Blacks in the Fruit Belt: The Continuing Struggle to Build a Vibrant Community

Center for Urban Studies, UB, Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. — Jul 26, 2009

Project Name: The Fruit belt Redevelopment Project This report provides and overview of the history of blacks in Buffalo’s Fruit Belt and the classic tale of how urban policies have destabilized the African American community and robbed low to moderate‐income blacks of the wealth producing power of home-ownership.

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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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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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Subprime Lending: the Rotten Core of the Current Economic Crisis

Sam Magavern — Oct 1, 2008

Subprime lending has triggered a global financial crisis, but it remains misunderstood.  Here are some basic facts, culled from an upcoming report on abandoned housing by the Partnership for the Public Good.  Subprime loans are high cost loans, ostensibly designed for people with less than “prime” credit.  In reality, mortgage brokers and lenders often succeed in selling subprime loans to people with good credit.  According to the Wall Street Journal, by 2006, …

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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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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 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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Preventing Tax Foreclosures in the City of Buffalo

Mike Streit — Apr 14, 2008

Over the past three years, tax foreclosures have risen approximately 150% in the city of Buffalo.  While tax foreclosures are spread across the city, they are heavily concentrated in the Masten and Fillmore districts of the city.  To combat the increase in tax foreclosures, Buffalo should study the principle causes of tax foreclosures in the area and be prepared to provide financial education classes, payment plans extending for more than one year, and financial assistance to …

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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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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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Is a Green Building an Energy Efficient Building?

Steven Mindy — Nov 27, 2007

Is a “green building” an energy efficient building? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is “not necessarily.”  As the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) notes, green building rating systems are flexible, and buildings with poor energy efficiency may be certified “green.”  Accordingly, how do green rating systems address energy efficiency and what rating system is best suited to controlling operating costs in affordable …

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Brown to Green: Building a 21st Century Sustainable Community, A Strategic Plan for Regeneration of the Highland Avenue Community

Center for Urban Studies, UB — Jul 26, 2007

This proposal outlines a regeneration strategy for Niagara Falls’ Highland Avenue Community. The goal is to develop a strategic plan that identifies five priority projects that will function as catalysts that will spawn the community’s rebirth.

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Affordable Housing and the Environment in Buffalo, New York

Sam Magavern — Jul 7, 2007

Buffalo is suffering from severe housing and environmental problems, many of which overlap.  New housing continues to sprawl into the suburbs and exurbs, despite a large surplus of housing units in Buffalo, where the City plans to demolish 10,000 units in the next ten years.  In general, housing is not being designed, built, or renovated in an environmental manner.  Our outdated housing policies and choices contribute significantly to pollution, both locally and globally: the …

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Buffalo Habitat for Humanity: The Challenges and Prospects of Green Building

Martha McNeill — Apr 19, 2007

Habitat for Humanity Buffalo has operated since 1985, and in that time has rehabilitated or built more than 150 homes in the cities of Buffalo and Lackawanna.  An affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), Habitat builds affordable housing for qualified low-income people.  Once approved, homeowners must put 500 hours of “sweat equity” into Habitat projects, including their homeowner education.  In return, they receive a zero-interest mortgage, the …

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PUSH Buffalo's Community Housing Co-operative: A Case Study in Green Building Rehabilitation

Mary O'Donnell — Apr 19, 2007

Between March 2006 and March 2007, a group of community organizers at People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) used green building methods to create affordable, safe, and sustainable housing by rehabilitating a formerly abandoned four unit building on Buffalo’s West Side.  Organizations and agencies involved in affordable housing can learn from PUSH’s example and should replicate or support similar projects because greener and more affordable housing will benefit the …

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Weatherization Assistance and Low-Income Households

Constance Giessert — Apr 19, 2007

Weatherization is one of the most efficient affordable housing tools available to communities and residents.  Weatherization is defined as the practice of protecting a building from the elements (such as sunlight, precipitation and wind) and modifying the building to reduce energy consumption and maximize energy efficiency.  Traditionally, weatherization processes have focused on heating and cooling as methods to conserve energy.  Currently, however, weatherization is expanding …

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Home Energy Conservation: Affordable Housing and the Environment

Katie Woodruff — Apr 1, 2007

For low-income homeowners and renters, paying the utility bills every month can become a struggle.  Even with assistance from programs such as Erie County Social Services HEAP program, many find paying those bills takes up a large portion of one’s income, decreasing funds available for other necessities.  Finding inexpensive ways to decrease utility bills can save money that could be better used elsewhere.  One way to reduce utility bills is to conserve energy.  Not …

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The Potential of Deconstruction in Buffalo, New York

Erik Faleski — Apr 1, 2007

Building deconstruction is not a novel idea but represents an ancient practice reinvented for our modern era.  Deconstruction is an environmentally friendly (yet fiscally remunerative) alternative to traditional building demolition.  Deconstruction is: [t]he process of carefully dismantling a building in order to salvage components for reuse and recycling.  Typically, a small team of skilled and licensed professionals disassemble the structure, setting aside the valuable …

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Integrating Deconstruction and Recycling Into the Demolition Process in Buffalo, NY

Tara Stahl — Jan 1, 2007

Buffalo’s Comprehensive Plan currently calls for the demolition of 10,000 buildings over a period of ten years.  While demolition contractors may recycle a small percentage of the waste created from demolitions, the process generates a great deal of waste that ends up in landfills.  Many of the materials that are thrown away after a building is demolished are either reusable or recyclable.  In order to lessen the negative environmental impact of building demolition, Buffalo …

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Residential Deconstruction in Buffalo: A Viable Alternative to Demolition

Sean Cooney — Jan 1, 2007

The problem of vacancy and abandonment manifests itself in many different ways.  Whether it is crime, decreasing property values, loss of tax revenue, neighborhood eyesores, or removing the condemned structures, the City of Buffalo is facing a monumental challenge both in resources and policy.  The deconstruction of abandoned homes offers opportunities for cost savings, environmental benefits, and economic development.  An alternative to demolition, deconstruction is the …

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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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Understanding Residents Concerns Over the St. John Town House Initiative

Center for Urban Studies, UB, Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. — Oct 31, 2006

Project Name: The Fruit Belt Redevelopment Project This report presents finding from four focus group meetings on resident’s concerns about the St. John Church Town House Initiative in Buffalo, NY.

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Left Behind: How Difficulties with Transportation are a Roadblock to Self-Sufficiency

Homeless Alliance of Western New York — Sep 1, 2006

The Transportation Task Force, a project of the Homeless Alliance of Western New York, completed a transportation needs assessment among homeless and very low-income persons at sites around Erie County.  The assessment was in survey form and was administered to approximately 800 people over a 5-day period.  From earlier focus groups with homeless individuals and the workers who directly serve them, the Task Force found that problems with affording public transportation and with …

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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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From Theory to Practice: The Quest to Radically Reconstruct Buffalo's Inner City Neighborhoods

Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. — Jul 26, 2004

Project Name: The Inner City Transformation Project The Inner City Transformation Project (ICTP) was launched in 2001 to develop a model of community development that can be applied to the radical reconstruction of distressed neighborhoods in metropolitan Buffalo and similar size cities in the United States. The project is based on the assumption that distressed urban neighborhoods now represent the epicenter of racism and social class inequality in the United States and that the quest to …

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Fruit Belt/Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Tax Increment Financing District

Center for Urban Studies, UB, Sam Cole, Richard Milgrom, Samina Raja, Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. — Jul 26, 2004

The Municipal Redevelopment Law entitles municipalities (individually or as joint undertakings) to issue tax increment bonds that are payable from and secured by real property taxes. This proposal seeks to establish a TIF (Tax Increment Finance) district for this the Fruit Belt and the adjacent Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

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The Fillmore Avenue Commercial Redevelopment Plan

Center for Urban Studies, UB, Antoine Thompson, Sam Cole, Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. — Jul 26, 2004

Project Name:  The Fillmore Avenue Commercial Redevelopment Project The Fillmore Avenue Commercial Redevelopment Plan provides a vision for the Fillmore Avenue commercial corridor that is one of a vibrant, thriving passageway that serves as the cultural commons for the Martin Luther King, Jr. neighborhood and a Gateway to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. The Fillmore commercial corridor will be a symbol of the vibrancy of King’s Dream and a place that brings people together from …

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The Masten District Neighborhood Plan

Center for Urban Studies, UB, Antoine Thompson — Jul 26, 2004

A Strategy for Redeveloping the Masten District and Transforming it into a great place to live, work, play and raise a family.

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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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Fruit Belt Redevelopment Plan Preliminary Study

Center for Urban Studies, UB — Jul 26, 2002

This study follows two earlier works published by the Center for Urban Studies, The Turning Point: A Strategic Plan of Action for the Fruitbelt/Medical Corridor (March 27, 2001) and Fruit Belt/Medical Corridor Tax Increment Financing District (February 12, 2002). The original report argued that better social, economic and physical connections could be established between the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), a wealth generating district within the city, and the adjacent Fruit Belt …

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Futures Academy: The Case for Maintaining its Magnet / Residence School Status

Center for Urban Studies, UB, Richard Milgrom — Jul 26, 2002

The report makes the case for maintaining Buffalo Public School 37, Futures Academy, as a Magnet/Residence School. The retention of the school’s current status is one of the keys to successfully rebuilding the Fruit Belt/Medical Campus neighborhood. A strong pre-K through Eighth Grade elementary magnet/residential school is central to attracting new residents to the community.

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Development of A Turning Point Scenario: A Strategic Plan and Action Agenda for the Fruitbelt / Medical Corridor

Center for Urban Studies, UB — Nov 30, 2001

Project Name: The Fruit Belt Redevelopment Project This report is a strategic plan and action agenda that guides the restoration of Buffalo’s Fruitbelt Neighborhood and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). The plan and agenda constructs a framework to guide restoration, identifies potential sources of revenue and formulates an implementation strategy.

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The Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural District & Cultural Corridor: A Strategic Plan and Action Agenda For the Masten District

Center for Urban Studies, UB — Jul 26, 2001

The purpose of this report is to develop a strategic plan and action agenda for Buffalo’s Masten District, which is based on the turning point threshold concept. Every neighborhood has a turning point threshold, which is that point where a snowballing effect takes place that transform the neighborhood when investments rise above it. The ultimate goal of this project is to outline a plan, which if successfully implemented, will push the Masten District beyond the …

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The Health Status of the Near East Side Black Community: A Study of the Wellness and Neighborhood Conditions Buffalo, New York

Center for Urban Studies, UB, The Black Leadership Forum, UB Center for Research in Primary Care — Jul 26, 2000

The purpose of this study is to gain insight into black community wellness by examining a number of health, social, economic, cultural, and lifestyle issues that affect the health status of Buffalo’s Near East Side black community.

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The Historical Roots of the Crisis in Housing Affordability: The Case of Buffalo, New York

Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. — Jul 26, 2000

During the thirty-year period between 1920 and 1950, urban leaders laid the theoretical, organizational, institutional and policy groundwork needed for the construction of this new American metropolis, which they built during the 1950s and 1960s. The creation of this metropolis gave birth to the contemporary crisis in housing affordability. Within this context, housing affordability and fair housing became intertwined issues because the growing economic rationalization of urban space and …

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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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