At this crucial point in Buffalo’s resurgence, the topic of housing is front and center. As the West Side continues to shore up with real estate values on the rise, many are now wondering what the fate of the East Side beholds. Don’t get me wrong – the West Side has become a melting pot of cultures, and is now one of the most diverse parts of the city. But there was a time, when the resurgence of the West Side first got underway, when people screamed “gentrification!” from the rooftops. While it’s always good to ensure that neighborhoods don’t get overly gentrified, it’s still important that the proper investments into those neighborhoods take place. That’s really the key – how do you get those investments, while ensuring that a neighborhood is diverse, with affordable housing. Somehow, it seems as if all of the screaming from the rooftops was just that – screaming, without any sort of sensible input and strategy. The outcome of the West Side is the proof in the pudding.
Now, the East Side is going through similar measures. Opportunity knocks on the East Side, but it’s not going to be the exact same routine that we saw on the West Side. East Siders are very cautious of investors coming in and running roughshod over the neighborhood. On the other hand, without the investors coming in with new money, how will East Side advancements ever be made? When we look at the East Side, it’s hard not to think about segregation, and that stinks. Nobody wants to live in a city that is segregated.
The West Side has shown that it’s possible for everyone to live together, especially with the help of the refugee populations that have taken root. Unfortunately, we don’t have the refugees coming to Buffalo as we once did. That does not bode well for the East Side, because the influx of refugee communities means that neighborhoods can become culturally diverse, which brings about investments into properties and storefronts. For East Siders, the idea of refugees moving into a neighborhood is not as threatening as a developer or investor moving into a neighborhood. But without the refugees, and with developers and investors being guarded about whether they are even wanted on the East Side, there will continue to be stagnation. The East Side is essentially half of the city. That means that half of this city is not rising along with the rest of the city. That’s a big problem. Hopefully, future discussions will be able to tackle this significant issue successfully, because to date, we still have a city on edge, without any answers.
Grassroots measures are a fantastic way to start, but identifying a solid mix of strategic outside investment strategies along with the grassroots efforts, will help to better elevate the East Side in a timely manner.
Later today, a discussion on housing will be held at the African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209 (the meeting series is hosted by LISC Buffalo).
The following issues will be discussed at the meeting:
- What are the existing housing assets and opportunities?
- What type of new housing would the community like to see?
- What are the opportunities and resources for home ownership rehab?
- How can vacant lots made available to existing owners, non-profits and community developers?
“Please join us for a workshop style meeting to begin to develop strategies and find resources for addressing the above and more. Local housing providers such as Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, Habitat for Humanity, Heart of the City Neighborhoods, FLARE, and BENLIC will be active participants.” – LISC Buffalo
Community Events in Masten Park – A Discussion on Housing
Date: Monday, February 11, 2019
Place: African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209
Parking will be available in lot and on street
Photo courtesy LISC Buffalo