BRO submission by Fred Brace:
I read this article
, in the December 24th edition of the Buffalo News, with a certain degree of apprehension and quite frankly the author, Jill Terreri, did not disappoint me. Once again we are told of the marvelous strides being made by PUSH Buffalo on the City of Buffalo's West Side.
We are told, in glowing terms, of how part the $12.4M contained in the Massachusetts Community Homes Project will be spent. They will build 9 new structures and rehabilitate 7 others. This effort will produce 46 additional units to go along with the 18 units that already exist through PUSH Buffalo's efforts.
Let me stop for a minute and do the math....64 units divided into $12.4M equals $ 193,750.00 per unit which will be rented for $385.00 to $525.00... well below market value. This type of thinking and action is quite simply not sustainable... never has been never will be..... and exactly what is wrong with this project. PUSH Buffalo has long been opposed to the gentrification being caused by private investment in this area.
The Westside Community Collaborative(WCC), led by Harvey Garrett and other volunteers has accomplished much more than that with no money and specifically not turning to the City of Buffalo (COB) or the Feds for help. This action on the part of the WCC, was accomplished through community involvement and private enterprise investment.
Contrary to some believers this type of action is one of the only ways to achieve lasting success. The gentrification of this portion of the Westside is also leading to the rebirth of the Black Rock and Riverside areas of the COB. As property in these areas "age out" investors buy them from the family members of the owners and rehab them to rent to the families leaving the Westside for larger, better and more accommodating properties at very close to the same prices touted in the article... with no subsidy. These renters are already creating communities which reflect their unique cultures and opening businesses that will cater to these cultures. This is the "ownership" component that is so missing in the PUSH philosophy. To paraphrase a rather trite and possibly non politically correct phrase.... "We need to help people learn how to fish"... that is the key to their and our success.